Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Race Is Lived in America: CH. 9

     Even cold hearts and corrupted minds can see true love and friendship. They just choose if they will attempt to corrupt that as well. In the end the choice is those whose hearts are tied together. The three girls were noticed as being best friends. They saw that they were surrounded by divided people. They also realized that their friendship was not the easiest to uphold considering that it rarely stretched beyond themselves because others saw it as the oddest thing. Most people were separated and among their "own" people in solitude. Jordan and Abi are perfect examples.
     "Children do not do what you say, they do as you do." This is the quote from my relative that kept going through my mind as I read. Children's minds are detached from the harsher forms of reality. Ignorance is bliss. Their mindset is what they are, they are learning and picking up new habits as they go on life. Depending on what they go though, some aspects become habits out of what they like.  When they find partners, friends, that like what they like, they connect with that particular person on a different level. They have childlike mindsets. When you begin at that point, you can see past what is on the outside. Kids can accept what is good out of love when no one is corrupting them; which shows how children are taught and that people are not born prejudice. Everyone looks at life differently, just like they do with situations. Because of how people look and choose to see things, they act a certain way that is then learned by those that surround that person. Two great examples of this from the book are the incident in the hallway with the corkboard, and how the two young women come to a conclusion that they do not see music the same. Constantly being reminded of stereotypes will break a person and they accept that as being a part of their person, or it will help them make the decision of not falling into the trap of letting society choose their identity. Aqeelah's struggle and non-decision is a prime example. A question that I continue to think on is: Is seeing one difference between two individuals giving them cause to look or create even more divides?
     Carolyn Morton, a kindergartener, gave a time when she believed the world would be at peace. She stated the year 3000. Most would say children do not have a great sense of time. Whether or not that it is true for Carolyn, choosing the year 3000 is far in the future. This could point out the fact of how much society needs to improve from the view of a child's eyes and heart.


  1. One of the major themes of this chapter seemed to be authenticity of racial identity. The people the girls were socializing with, as well as how they expressed themselves in behavior and fashion, was being interpreted by everyone else as being black or white ways of acting while those like Aqeelah felt ostracized for having no specific, outwardly defined racial identity ("are you white or Puerto Rican"). Additionally, it was interesting how race sorting seemed to be a rite of passage for many of the kids. Moving away for a bit during middle school and early high school to discover their own racial identities, but then drifting back towards a more homogenized social experience towards the end of high school, though, I'm sure this was not universal. Considering the fact that low academic standards were often associated with the black students (placing them in basic classes, even when they didn't deserve to be) it seems logical that this would reinforce perceptions of what is white behavior versus what is black behavior and further solidify the boundaries that were being drawn during these times when individuals were beginning to really explore racial identity.

    1. I think that you brought up a good point about race identity in this chapter being like a rite of passage for these kids. As Talisa wrote about in her post, when kids are young they generally have an innocence of things like skin color and economic status that separate them from each other and create barriers between adults, but as they get older society forces these separations on them more and more. I think the big thing I took from this chapter was how much pressure there really is in America to "define" yourself within a category based on race.

    2. It's interesting, I was just having a conversation with a friend yesterday about this. She's half white half Mexican and for her entire childhood she was raised by the white side of her family and she never saw herself as anything other than white... Until here recently, she's older and people are commenting on her skin color and asking what race she is, and asking why she acts a certain way when she tells them she's half Mexican. She said she never thought about the separation and classifications people put on you because you have a different ethnic background of skin color than them, because she never saw herself as different. Now that she's getting older she's having to deal with it, because people actually are putting her into these different stereotypical classifications based on her skin color.

  2. John I never thought to apply the concept of defining race as a right of passage for the stundents. Now that you have brought it to my attention, that would definitely sum it all up. You are also right on saying it was not universal. My question is: was the academic trials a way to keep the students seperated? In places that were open to crossing lines of the races, did the defined acedemic line give enough shade on each race to "show" them they are different? If so, then it seemed that they would see people that were above the odds, such as the black highly academic student Abi, as unique.

  3. I agree with these comments that it could be considered a right of passage. As stated in the book and as John had pointed out they say that it's an ebb and flow and that with time children come back together. I think it's not universal as well, but that it does happen. There are times in history when people come together without thinking about race and only thinking about the memories and the good times, which is what these three girls share and what a graduating class feels. Through time it ebbs and flows again and there is distance, perhaps while looking for jobs or in the workplace, and it flows back together as teamwork and friendship replace that.
    Going off of what Kamisha said, I was interested in how much pressure they put on American kids to define themselves through race and racially constructed activities. The one that stuck out the most to me was the radio station. To me, music is something that every human feels no matter their race, religion, age, gender, etc. And to have the mindset that even if 200 white students listened to the predominately African American station, it would still be considered an African American radio station. Or the stereotype that lacrosse is a white persons sport, I'm sure it would go the same way.


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