Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 8: Pre-Reading Questions

-From a personal experience, race, education and disability all intersect. For example, in school, those with a learning disability had to take certain classes, or had special classes to cater to their ‘disabilities.’ All in all, their educational experience was different from mine because of their disability.  Also, race can play into one’s educational experience as well.  For instance, there was the stereotype at my school that Asians are good at math. Although most of the students in the harder math courses were primarily Asian, this stereotype affected the educational experience of the Asians at my school—most felt like they had to succeed in math because of this stereotype. 

- The three categories, learning disabled, mentally retarded, and emotionally disturbed are all disorders that affect the way people learn and function in the world. In terms of special education, each category may affect an individual in different ways. For example, if a student had a learning disability, they may not necessarily need to take a special class because their difficulty in a specific academic area may not be significant enough to require special help. If a student suffered from mental retardation, their educational experience would be more difficult than a regular child. Because learning may take longer, they may have trouble adapting and blending in with other students.  Emotionally disturbed students not only suffer from a learning disability, but also a behavioral disorder that may case them to further be alienated by the regular educational system. The students would have to participate in special education classes and have special teachers aid and guide them in their education.

-Race, gender, and class all intersect with disability which impacts how people experience their lives. For example, take a poor African American woman. Because she is of a lower class, is African American, and a woman, living life with a disability would be very difficult.  It would be hard for her to have access to the care she needs because it would cost more than what she makes—if she even could get a job. Although it seems inhumane, there are some people would just completely dismiss her and not even consider the fact that she has a disability simply because she is African American. This experience would be vastly different from a white affluent male with a disability. Because he is a white male from a higher class, he may be able to afford the care he needs while being treated better, as a result from being from a ‘superior’ race.

Word Count: 420

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Week 7: Post-Reading Responses

-           By using multiple categories, we can begin to understand the different types of domestic violence and how one would respond to such a situation. Generally, when someone thinks of domestic violence, we assume that the parties involved are a male and female couple, where the male is the abuser while the female is the survivor; however, this is not always the case. Sometimes roles are switched and the male is the survivor while the woman is the abuser. When taking intersectionality into account, we can see patterns of domestic violence in more than just heterosexual couples. For example, domestic violence can exist in a couple where both people involved are female. Because they are both female, it may be hard to identify who is the abuser and who is the survivor. This is because a case like this isn’t what most would think to be a ‘normal’ domestic violence case.  When the two involved are women, there are times when people think that violence can’t really happen because of their gender and that it was simply a small cat fight.  
            Also, other factors such as nationality play into domestic violence. For example, there may be a case of domestic violence where a male, who is a US citizen is married to a poor immigrant who came to America hoping that she will live a better life; however, the relationship turns into an abusive one that the immigrant is afraid to get out of. She fears that she would lose her life, and the social status that she gained in marrying the US citizen. As an immigrant, without her husband she would simply be a poor lower-class immigrant with no stable income. She wouldn’t be able to live without him. In this case, the identities of being a poor woman who recently immigrated affect her decisions concerning her case of domestic violence. Even though she is being abused, she doesn’t want to lose the things she gained. Also, even if she decided to report the abuse, she might not get the services she needs. Because she is an immigrant, the police may not be able to translate her native tongue or broken English into a complete police report which won’t help her case in the long run. If we were to take into account the different identities people assume and cater to those differences, the woman may have received the services she needed.

-           One of the biggest barriers to receiving help for Paola’s clients were the language barrier and the evidence barrier.  As exemplified in the previous paragraph, not being able to speak English or not having multilingual translators at important service places can be a huge problem for some clients. If communication cannot happen between the client and the service providers, no useful help can be given. Also, for some types of domestic violences, it is hard to provide evidence for a police report. For example, in the case of Emotional abuse, there is no physical evidence of bruises or scars to show that a survivor is being abused. This could pose as a problem for clients when they are immigrants trying to apply for visas that require a police report.

-           Understanding how instersectionality plays into domestic violence won’t necessarily end it, however it may provide a way for better services to be offered so that more survivors can be given the help they need.

Word Count: 568

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Week 6: Post-Reading Responses

-          Intersectionality is the theory that multiple factors, such as race, gender, sexual preference, etc., determine social inequality. Contrary to the common belief that one identity affects a person’s social standing alone, each identity is weighted in according to each situation where one identity might matter more than another. For example, take the case of black women during the feminist movement of the 1960s; most of the needs in the feminist movement catered to the needs of middle class white women because they assumed that a ‘woman’ was a white middle class lady who worked in the kitchen. The main stream feminist organizations only paid attention to the assumed ‘normal’ woman, neglecting the fact that women of another race may have different needs. Even though the movement had good intentions, because the organizations only focused on the area of gender, not everyone was able to receive equality. However, if they were to take an approach with keeping in mind intersectionality, the organizations might have been able to address the issues that all women face, instead of only the white middle class woman.

 "It is not our differences which separate women, but our reluctance to recognize those differences and to deal effectively with the distortions which have resulted from the ignoring and maintaining of those differences" (58)

-          I believe Lorde is saying what I said in my previous point. Many people refuse to acknowledge that in order to achieve social justice, you must acknowledge all factors of identity. Because the feminist organizations didn’t acknowledge the differences within their own community of women, they neglected women with different needs—namely women of color. For example, main stream feminists wanted the right to work, while women of color were forced to work and had a different need.  Women who wanted to be part of the movement were not separated because of the differences of black of white, but because they didn’t acknowledge that the difference of their race entails different needs. In order to reach social justice, we have to acknowledge all the differences and try to address all the needs at hand.

-          Even though the past examples made in this post were about women of color, in reality, intersectionality also affects the lives of men. When applying the theory of intersectionality, men also have advantages and disadvantages. Although they have the advantage of being a man, other identities, such as race and sexual preference may serve as either an advantage or disadvantage in certain situations. For example, in the workforce even though being a male may be an advantage, being of a different race, such as being black, may cause your pay to be lower than a male who was white.

Word Count: 451

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 4: Pre-Reading Responses

- A privilege is a special right or an advantage that one could have that no one else, or very few also have. For example, it’s believed that the rich have the privilege of having people’s “benefit of the doubt” in situations most people wouldn’t. In most cases, the rich would never be suspected of doing anything criminal. If they were shopping, they would be greeted nicely and asked if they needed help. However, if someone didn’t appear as rich looking, then when they shop they might be spied on or have the store keeper constantly beside them because they don’t have the benefit of the doubt. Because they are poor, they must steal.

- White privilege: The privileges that those of the white race have.

- Structural inequality: Inequality that can be found in society’s structure.

- Advantage/Disadvantage: An Advantage is simply that—an advantage. It’s something that gives one person more of an edge, or a better position than others. Disadvantage, simply put, is the opposite of advantage. A disadvantage is something that puts one person in a worse position than others.

- I would define racism as discrimination of someone because they are a certain race.  I do think that racism can be linked to my definition of privilege. After all, I see examples of where being of a certain race can make one more privileged than another person who is of another race. For take example, if you were to my shopping example, one group would come out more privileged than the other. For instance,  whether we may like to admit or not, someone who was black would be suspected of stealing far more often than someone who had a white skin color. Those who are white are often given the priviliege of having the “benefit of the doubt.” .

-I believe that people of color can be racist as well. Although quite often many people believe that only whites are racist against blacks, it’s not true. Racism goes both ways. Racism is discrimination, and I know lots of people, both of color and who are white, who discriminate others because of the color of their skin. Unfortunately, I have met a few people of color who constantly state that all white people are evil, that even if they smile, it’s because they want something from you. Truthfully, I find this to be racist because they are discriminating those who are white and who could very well be the most un-evil person on the planet.

- Compared to colonial America, I think racism is less extreme, at least it is physically. Back then, blacks were kept as slaves and were beaten and tortured. Although there may still be cases of physical harm, most of it can be seen in the work force, or by looking at demographics of the average income by race, etc.

Word Count: 472

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 3: Pre-Reading Responses

My List
The Census

Major Races

     White, African American, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Hawaiian, Native American, Indian, Samoan, Filipino, Mexican

    White, Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Other Asian, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, Other Pacific Islander, Some other race

    Major Ethnicities

     Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, African American,  Indian

     Hispanic, Spanish, or Latino Origin or Not of Hispanic, Spanish or Latino origin.

- The census seems to have included more into their list of races probably because they were able to do a survey of what people identified as a race across the United States. Also, when I compare the list of races and ethnicities, some of the ethnicities I listed were classified as a race in their list. This is probably due to the fact that the definition of race and ethnicity is still a tricky thing to understand. What I think is a race, can be an ethnicity or vice versa.

- If I were person 1 I wouldn’t know what to mark for number 8. At first, I was pretty sure that I would have marked no; however, I took a second and thought about it. The Philippines was colonized by Spain and therefore most Filipinos were given Spanish last names, as well as having lots of Filipinos mix with Spaniards. With that said, it’s quite possible that I have Spanish ancestry. Because I’m unsure, I would mark no since I don’t strongly identify myself as a person with a Spanish origin.

- For question number 9, however, was a bit easier for me.  Because my father was full Samoan and my mother was full Filipino, I identify myself as someone who is half of each, meaning I checked the boxes next to those two races.

- I think the census does have a part in influencing the racial and ethnic categories that we use on an everyday basis because it offers the main basis society will judge off of. To clarify, filling out the census is what everyone must fill out. When reading the census, each individual is forced to identify themselves as one of the categories given. Although there is some leniency, where someone could fill in their claimed race into the boxes given, most people would try to fit themselves into one of those categories. After filling out a census, one could start identifying themselves as one of those categories outside of the census because they might believe that the census reflects what the rest of society thinks a race is and that they have to fit into one of those categories.

- I believe that over time the census has changed. As the demographics of the population changed, the categories of the census must have changed too in order to keep up with the times. For example, they probably didn’t add Chinese and other races until a sufficient amount has immigrated into the US. Also, I think the terms used for certain races have changed as well. For example, Blacks are sometimes referred to as African American or before used to even have to identify as Negro.

Word Count: 521

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 2: Post-Reading Responses

Growing up, and maybe even now, my definition of race was severely influenced by how society defined race. I learned to categorize people into a certain race because of their hair texture, their eye color, their skin color, simply by watching other members of society do it. Even my parents sorted people into races—because that’s what we were taught to do.
Race is simply a concept contrived by society—meaning that it’s only superficial. In reality, race is not biological at all. There is not a single gene in either your or my body. Frankly, I believed that race was biologically handed down from my line of ancestry. I believed that because my father was full Samoan and that because my mother was full Filipino, I thought that I inherited some type of gene that determined those races—I thought I was half of both of those races. Before the readings, I thought I was sure about what race and ethnicity was, however, now I feel as there is more to race than simply the color of one’s skin.
But race is a tricky thing to define. There are so many different definitions of race and ethnicity that most people think that the two terms are interchangeable. Because there isn’t one set definition for either word, many people become confused at the mention of either word. But one thing is for sure—society believes that race is biological.
Many believed that race determines certain traits that can be carried out to offspring. For example, the film explained how sickle cell, which was once considered as a trait only blacks carried, was revealed to be a trait that could be found in anyone who had ancestors that lived in places where cases of malaria happened frequently—including places where non-blacks lived. Besides health traits, many scientists and common citizens alike believed that because race was a biological thing, it affected many traits such as one’s learning ability, musical ability, athleticism, etc. In my school, many students (including me) thought joking about races and how a certain race does certain things well was perfectly ok. For example, at my school most of the students in Calculus, and most of the students involved in choir, band and orchestra were Asian. This played along to the racial stereotype that Asians excelled in math and were quite musically talented.
Although many times we as society believe that we could correctly identify someone as a certain race and in turn could determine what they are capable of physically, and mentally, in reality, it’s not as easy. As shown by the mini buzfeed experiment, many expressed shock and confusion as some “races” of mixed celebrities were revealed. However, the shock was to be expected. After all, as mentioned before, society was the one to teach us how to identify people’s races. If they had a dark complexion, they were black; if they had small, chinky eyes, they were Asian. In buzfeed’s list, Kid Cudi is revealed to be half-Mexican, something that most people would find shocking simply because he looks “just black”—meaning that only his dark complexion is what people see and thus identify him as only black. Another celebrity, Chad Michael Murray was revealed to be a quarter Japanese. We thought because he looked white, that he couldn’t be anything else other than white. But race isn’t measurable. It doesn’t matter what number you are according to the skin scale, you can be as white as printer paper and still belong to a race that supposedly consists of only dark complexions.
Word Count: 597

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Week 2: Pre-Reading Responses

-Race can be defined by the action of dividing people into groups based on their similar physical characteristics, such as having the same height, hair color, eye color, skin complexion, etc., that came from their genetic ancestry.

-A few common racial classifications are White, African Americans, Latino, Pacific Islander, and Asian. According to stereotypes, Whites are classified as Whites by their pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes; African Americans are classified as African American by their dark complexion; Hispanics are defined by their tanned skin, and their curly/wavy dark brown hair; Asians are classified as Asians by their yellow skin, small eyes, and straight black hair.

-A group of people will be classified as a race when they share the same general line of ancestry. They also share the same physical features such as hair color, eye color, and skin complexion. You can also be born into multiple races, as a result of having two parents of different races.

-I don’t think racial categorizations are universal. From experience, I think they change from  area to area. For example, when I lived in Vallejo, California, when you think of an Asian, you would automatically think of a Filipino. After all, Filipinos are the primary Asians in Vallejo; however, when I came to San Francisco, because there are a lot of Chinese, all Asians are thought to be Chinese. Even though the two cities aren’t too far from each other, the views are different.

-I would define ethnicity as a population of people who identify with each other because they share a common ancestry as well as other things such as having shared cultural traits and a  shared group history. I also think that they generally live in the same area. I think some ethnic groups even share common religious beliefs and language, though that may not always be the case. For example, although many Americans, share the same historic background of having a their ancestors immigrate into America, they don’t all believe in the same religion.

-I often confused the two terms when I was younger, and often still do now; however I think the Race focuses on grouping people based on their physical attributes whereas ethnicity focuses more on a social grouping of people based on their shared nationality and beliefs.

-Whenever I fill out a job application or a survey I would usually fill in the bubble next to “Two or More Races” because that’s what I identify with. I was born half-Filipino and half-Samoan. That’s all there is to it. As for my ethnicity, I would say I’m quite American. Although there are a few traditional cultural things I practice that belong to my Filipino and Samoan culture, most of the things I do are the common practice of other Americans.

- There were times where a few have guessed my race wrong. According to the persons who guessed, it was because I didn’t look a certain way like my race is “supposed” to. However, there were times when people were able to guess correctly. According to those guessers, they said that I looked like the race I am. (This is confusing to me as well, I guess that different people characterizes races differently.)

Word Count: 537