If it has, how has this course “liberated your thinking” around race and ethnicity in the US? If not, what have we covered in this course that you wish were common knowledge and why?
This course has changed my view and way of thinking about a myriad of things. Mostly, though, it broadened the scope of my thoughts on every day life. I find myself noticing things more and more such as privilege and supremacy and most certainly the sensitivity to the topic of race. I wish that the true histories we have discussed in class were common knowledge. It is encouraging that ethnic studies is becoming more prevalent but the need for a specific class to force people to think about the injustices in this country is unfortunate. I have a very different view point now on the stories about people different from myself. I am thankful to have taken this course and to have a more well rounded view of our country. I also feel that my overall thinking about race and ethnicity has been liberated in that I actually think about those things now, instead of just trying to think like everyone is the same and skin color doesn’t matter. My thinking is now that while skin color may not matter to me, it matters to the world but not only that — its the different ideals and cultures of the people with those different skin colors than me that makes people special and unique and I would not want to lose that.
I definitely think that my main takeaway from this class is the increased consciousness of the structure of our society and the power dynamics shared explicitly and implicitly between whites and minority groups. I had already been cognizant that racism is deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society. However, it hadn’t really occurred to me beforehand how racism doesn’t only entail the mistreatment of others based on skin color, but it also actively has suppressed and eroded the stories of many, if not most, minority groups within the U.S. I certainly believe that my new understanding of how this suppression influences my perception of “normal” in the U.S. has ultimately contributed to my overall betterment as a person. My understanding of society has been altered as well. I now have an understanding of how marginalized groups have come to be historically disadvantaged in this country by powers beyond their control. Even if we now view blatantly-racist organizations, such as the KKK, with disgust, it does not at all mean that racism is any less relevant than it was fifty years ago. Mainstream American identity has been formed by a history of falsehoods that contribute to a negative and entirely baseless idea surrounding people of color. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a person of color in this nation, given my status as a white man. However, I believe this class has opened my eyes to the history and relevance of racial issues in this country.
This lesson made me understand that my understanding of American ethnic conflict is wrong. The race is still the main problem that plagues American society, but no one dares to openly discriminate against other races, especially large businesses and government agencies. They ostensibly give more patience and courtesy to non-white races to avoid bearing the stigma of racial discrimination. But behind this is more structural violence, and traditional political forces are constantly involved in racial discrimination. Culturally invisible discrimination gradually replaces obvious racial discrimination. And this kind of discrimination does not only exist between whites and other races. There is also invisible discrimination among other races. Discrimination and privilege exist at the same time, and discrimination also exists as a tool for maintaining the privileged class.