Blog #4 "No, where are you really from?"

Long ago I saw an image with a quote circulating around social media:, tumblr, facebook, instagram, twitter, the works. And it was an image of Morgan Freeman during an interview and he was asked the question:

"How do we stop race?"

Morgan Freeman replied with:

"You stop talking about it" 

With the provided context I would have to disagree with Mr. Freeman, but after further research I understand what he meant. The quote was cut off by the people who created the image, "You stop talking about it" in the interview video was actually followed by, "I'm going to stop calling you a white man, and i'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man". This important part of the quote was left out of all the aforementioned pictures and I think that people took the wrong message that he was trying to convey. 

Silencing talks about racism will not make it disappear and I think that people honestly think it will. We need to be confrontational with the facts, almost aggressive in the way we make progress.  Everywhere you look racism is apparent, but people are too sensitive to talk about it?  How can we be afraid of something that is always in front of our faces, maybe they appear in forms of blatant bigotry or sometimes in nonchalant microaggressions but it must be confronted regardless of what shape or form it comes in. 

Our class learns about these problems and after reading classmates blogs I see that we are all spreading our knowledge to people we know, we are also utilizing the use of the internet and spreading it to people we don't even know. The first step is awareness and that is the hardest step to make and it is our job as being in this class to educate others on something we are too afraid to realize, racism is real and it is dangerous.

Attached is the full text of Morgan Freeman's quote:

Here is also a link that I shared on twitter. My friend was part of a project on microaggressions a few years back: http://9gag.com/gag/a3YZ6r5

Blog #4 Why this MATTERS

Saturday night I was hanging out with my older brother, Michael. He's 28 and works as a graphic designer and he is also one of my absolute best friends. Anyways, we got to talking about the particular topic of why race matters (because I brought it up in conversation since we are learning so much I just HAD to share it with him too). And my brother's first response to me was, "Isn't that a subject that is still just too sensitive?"

And he was right. Of course its a sensitive subject, but the more we talk about it, the less "sensitive" it will be! AND THAT'S WHY THIS MATTERS!

He was very interested in knowing about micro aggression, in which I then proceeded to tell him about the twitter hashtag and to check it out cause we have some good stuff under there. A little class promotion never hurt, right?

We began talking about micro aggression that we have experienced in our life (which is only a small amount compared to other stories that I have heard) and his response to THAT was that he always considered those kind of remarks as racist and never saw the "micro" in it.

We were at Chevys, which in case you were wondering is not as good as Jose Tejas. My brother and I love Mexican food and he often makes it a lot at home too. A few weeks ago some of his friends were over his place and they said it smelled like Mexican food and he told them he has just cooked some really good tacos and one of his friends said something like. "Oh you must be Spanish." For cooking tacos. Damn, what does it take to be considered American then? Having a house that smells like McDonalds? I just don't get it...

I was happy to inform at least one person of this topic. Imagine what it would be like to inform MILLIONS. We need to make it a topic that people aren't afraid to talk about.

Blog #4 – Conversations About Race


Why do we need to have these conversations about race?  What can we do to shift the tides towards justice and change?  How can we connect to make our projects matter in the world outside our classroom?
Conversations about race are important because it is when we have real conversations  - listen to other people's views and experiences and I return share our own experiences that we can learn from each other.

I have learned from this class. The conversations we've nbeen having have involved vulnerability, letting other people into your emotional space even if for a few minutes. It takes courage to have meaningful conversations about race and sometimes emotional restraint to get the message across  in a way that the other person(s) would want to receive it. That is where I sometimes lose it because of my passionate and intense nature. The challenge for me is how not to come across as combative and aggressive when I am really riled by racist comments and acts whether they are overt or subtle.

These conversations are important because they can cause us to pause and look at the other persons shared experience; they help us become more sensitive. The whole world would most likely not change at once nor immediately, but, if we can cause even one person to pause and reconsider then we have made progress. That one person can affect yet another person or more and the chain continues.

To shift the tide towards justice and change involves a willingness to put oneself out.
It involves moving out of one's comfort zone to be an activist of some sort - it could be verbal (being willing to speak out at events, TV shows etc.),writing articles in newspapers, blogs or tweets or just a simple well phrased contribution to a conversation in response to negative comment. The kind of contribution that causes others to pause and think.

The internet seems to be the best option in connecting our projects to the world outside. We could actively invite people to visit the digital omnibus, follow our tweets, read our blogs etc.

Dr. Z, I kind of sense that this part of the question may require more than the above. I am still thinking it over.

Blog #4

I sat in class last week an opened up a part of me to strangers that I do not know and they not know me. Their was a part of me that I believe that was crying out. Crying out in a way that answers the questions , "Why do we need to have these conversations about race?" I believe it is important because we live in a society in which people are still judged by the color of their skin.
One of the young ladies in the class "stated how she felt sadden by the things in which black children have to go through everyday of their lives and I believe she is not by herself. There are other people of race who do not have to instruct their children not to hang out in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot with their friends, even though the kids are just having some innocent fun and laughter. Especially if it is a certain time of night. Be careful of the areas in which you drive your car, especially after a certain time of night. Please do not wear a hoodie on when you are walking from school, or just going to the library, even though it might be cold. Just put a regular winter hat on your head. I think when we share , people get to see who you are as a person and not by the color of your skin.  Sometimes we say and do things out of ignorance.  When you do not know , you can not correct it. These conversations allow others to see that everyone does not live in a rose garden and people are just people are in covered in different casings with different ways of living ,but they still need food and water to survive,they need medical attention for different medical problems, and they also need oxygen to breath. If we can start looking at people just as we see a box of beautiful assorted colors ,then the world could be a better place to live.
I also believe having these conversations allows the person that has been wounded, to let go of some of the hurt, and they begin to heal and then they are able to help others heal .
I am not sure if things can be shifted in a more positive way and I heard people say , "Do not think like that, do not be like that , or that is way this world is in the shape it is in."I believe people have to want to change.

Blog #4

Why do we need to have these conversations about race?  What can we do to shift the tides towards justice and change?  How can we connect to make our projects matter in the world outside our classroom?

I think it is important for us to have these conversations because we NEED to talk about these serious issues. There are many times that as a society we dodge bullets when it comes to addressing all the elephants in all the rooms. Either that, or we just make a joke of it. More importantly, we do this without even knowing if it will be well received, if it’s offensive, or if it becomes a defense mechanism. This is exactly why we need to talk about it.

I also think that in these conversations there are voices that want to be heard. Voices that want do be understood. Voices that need to be told the difference between right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust. Sometimes people just need to take this opportunity as a learning experience. I think if people looked at these conversations as a learning opportunity, they would be more widely received.

Our projects can serve as these learning opportunities people experience. I don’t know. I could be completely naive about all of this, but I think that if I was introduced to this stuff through documentaries, presentations, panels, discussion boards, etc., I would be more open than if I had a conversation as to why I offended someone. We shouldn’t wait until we hurt someone to change our mindsets.


Identity and me 2015-03-03 01:35:00

But Mister no one sees race.......



 I have the fortunate pleasure of being able to be a mentor in a very special program at the high school that I work in. I cannot go into too much detail about the conversations that occurred in the group since it is a confidential program. However, what I can say is that having conversations about race is more important than ever. Many students are uncomfortable to discuss anything about race. They assume that mentioning or discussion in a serious way is what is racist......It takes a few questions, but it is clear that they have very strong opinions and impressions because of race. The issue of race is one that is apparent is one were to just glance in the cafeteria. The issue of race is not something that is going to go away and by refusing to acknowledge it, we give power to those who use it for divisive purposes. How do people know what racism is if they are never allowed to recognize it? Many Americans try to full themselves by thinking we live in a post racial society when the reality is that we don't. Should we strive for a color-blind society? No, I don't think so because then by definition we would all have to be a standard. Anyway, I am getting off-topic. Hearing a young black student describe being white as a good thing and being black a bad thing is what answered this question for me. If this student never had the opportunity to to express his feelings, he never would of realized that he had internalized so many negative things about his race. People may read this and think that it is ridiculous that people could think in this way, but the reality is many of our minority students are bombarded with negative messages that they internalize. This internalization can lead to disastrous results. So, it is important to talk about race because it is the only way we as a society can finally start dismantling the inequalities that exist. 

I believe that there is a great majority of people who really want equality under the law, but they for whatever reason are passive. It is the job of those of us who care for social justice to be the constant voice for equality. We have to persuade that vast middle ground to stand with us and not allow injustice to continue or prevail. It does not have to be grand march or demonstration......it starts by having simple conversations with other humans beings. That is what it is about....seeing our common humanity and the richness of our differences.

Did I answer any questions? Sigh I think I rambled....

Identity and me 2015-03-03 01:35:00

But Mister no one sees race.......



 I have the fortunate pleasure of being able to be a mentor in a very special program at the high school that I work in. I cannot go into too much detail about the conversations that occurred in the group since it is a confidential program. However, what I can say is that having conversations about race is more important than ever. Many students are uncomfortable to discuss anything about race. They assume that mentioning or discussion in a serious way is what is racist......It takes a few questions, but it is clear that they have very strong opinions and impressions because of race. The issue of race is one that is apparent is one were to just glance in the cafeteria. The issue of race is not something that is going to go away and by refusing to acknowledge it, we give power to those who use it for divisive purposes. How do people know what racism is if they are never allowed to recognize it? Many Americans try to full themselves by thinking we live in a post racial society when the reality is that we don't. Should we strive for a color-blind society? No, I don't think so because then by definition we would all have to be a standard. Anyway, I am getting off-topic. Hearing a young black student describe being white as a good thing and being black a bad thing is what answered this question for me. If this student never had the opportunity to to express his feelings, he never would of realized that he had internalized so many negative things about his race. People may read this and think that it is ridiculous that people could think in this way, but the reality is many of our minority students are bombarded with negative messages that they internalize. This internalization can lead to disastrous results. So, it is important to talk about race because it is the only way we as a society can finally start dismantling the inequalities that exist. 

I believe that there is a great majority of people who really want equality under the law, but they for whatever reason are passive. It is the job of those of us who care for social justice to be the constant voice for equality. We have to persuade that vast middle ground to stand with us and not allow injustice to continue or prevail. It does not have to be grand march or demonstration......it starts by having simple conversations with other humans beings. That is what it is about....seeing our common humanity and the richness of our differences.

Did I answer any questions? Sigh I think I rambled....

BLOG #4

I admit …  I’m extremely afraid of venturing outside of my comfort zone.  I think I’ve already expressed this to you all… I had a conversation with Andre during the break of last class about his blogs.  I asked, “How do you write them?”  “What are you thinking when you write them?”   He said he practiced and wrote and wrote and wrote.  He found his voice.  He said to write what you know, write what feels natural and real and, again,  what you know (sorry, Andre, if I’m misinterpreting)

I know how to write a paper.  Tell me to write a paper on the disintegrating relations between blacks and whites in America today, and I know how to do it. Tell me to write a paper on pieces of literature that can be symbolic of the race conflict, and I know how to do it.   I can write a good paper on just about anything.  One thing I don’t know is how I’m going to impact the world, which is what this blog is supposed to be about.  I think that we will create an amazing and creative website (our omnibus J), but I still struggle on a daily basis to make people understand what it means to be a human being, regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, or culture.  I don’t know how to do it.  But I truly try every day to impact the world through my students.

I also admit, I’m a fan of the Dead White Man Canon (mostly)…  Some say that my reverence for such texts inhibit my ability to relate to the young and therefore affect my impact on the people that they will become.  But come on, William Shakespeare explained to us how, as mere humans, we can be our own worst enemy if we let ourselves be.  He also was the first to bring into light the disadvantages and vulnerability a black man has in a white man’s world.  Geoffrey Chaucer created a woman who defied medieval standards- she loves sex, men, and money.  Jonathan Swift use satire to scream at both England and Ireland “What the fuck is wrong with you???” 

I digress, I think we are going to create an amazing resource for anyone who is grappling with the issue of race/ethnicity and how our backgrounds affect us at the most elevated and at the most basic of levels on a daily basis including education (i.e. everyone).  I know that what we create will matter to many and I look forward to it coming to fruition.  But I also know that I, and all of the teachers, try to impact the world all day every day.  I also know that the people in class who are not teachers, but students, in just taking this class, impact the world in the mere fact that they are a part of it and share the desire to understand themselves, others and the world on a deeper level.  Maybe I’m idealistic (to a fault), but that’s how I feel.