Thursday, January 29, 2015

Racism in America

Over the past few weeks with our class discussions, I have gotten a more developed understanding of racism. I realize now how much deeper and present it is in our daily lives. Before, I didn't really notice or comprehend the things considered racist I and the people around me would do or say. Now, I'm more aware of it happening. For example, I am conscious of my constant code-switching. I now recognize how different I talk to everybody at school and at home. The way I talk friends is different from the way I talk to teachers or to strangers. At home, I find myself talking to mom and sisters the same way but with my dad and extended family it is different. I think we all code-switch based on how well we know the person. The less we know a person the more formal we are with them. I think when we are closer to someone we allow ourselves to drop a barrier and talk nonsense. I know when I'm talking to my mom or older sister, I drop some letters and/or words, because I know I can and they'll still understand me. At home, since I know no one will mind, I will say "white", "black", or "brown" when talking about someone or something someone did. Whenever I say something like, I never mean it to be offensive or negative though. Code-switching something I think everyone does and will never stop.

Furthermore, in class we talked a lot about the concept of cultural appropriation. People taking things from a culture that they are not a part of. I don't think this is bad because more people are then being exposed and learning about different lifestyles and beliefs. I think that it is expected to have cultural appropriation in America, since this country is known for being the melting pot of people and culture. We are surrounded by different people every day and are bound to pick up a few things from them. When people say "acting white" or "acting black", it's probably because they are doing something that is commonly known from that culture. I don't think this should be a negative thing though. I think people just get offended too easily.

In addition to cultural appropriation, we discussed white privilege. In the beginning of the racism unit white privilege was a very controversial topic. I think this was just because it was approached the wrong way and a definition was not given. White privilege is when people benefit from the lightness of their skin. I think that it is not only light skinned people that have a privilege though. I think that every skin tone has some sort of benefit, just in different situations.

In my experience, having the mixed privilege is the best. When you are mixed people don't really know what you are and are somewhat confused. For me since I came out with a lighter skin tone and colored eyes, most people didn't know what race/ethnicity I was. My grandparents even thought I was the wrong baby when they first saw me. They thought the hospital had mixed up or something, because I had colored eyes and light skin. But I kind of like being a mystery and unknown to some people. Sometimes I get the light skinned white privilege, other times I brown privilege and sometimes I get the privilege of being unknown. But in the end, no matter what the color your skin is there is always at least one benefit.