Race Matters (Online Writing)

Published August 29, 2014 by djlwsu

—As noted in the reading: “Your life story produces a racial filter. It might be a lens so thick that everything gets drawn into looking like it’s about race, or so thin that when someone says something is racial, you go, oh hell no, it’s not. As a white person, you have to own the development of your own racial lens. Because whether you’re aware of it or not, you have one.”

With this quote in mind, write a response to the following question: What is your racial filter?  How does race impact your life and how does this shape your literacy and understanding of racial issues

Last day to participate September 15, 2014

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38 comments on “Race Matters (Online Writing)

  • As a caucasian female, Growing up in a multi cultural community with very little Caucasians really put a damper in my every day life. I grew up learning that almost anywhere in the US, whites were generally what made up the majority of wherever you went. In the small hispanic community I lived in I always felt like the minority, so being around people of my own race would be something I had yet to experience. I couldn’t go anywhere without everyone speaking spanish or really embracing the Mexican culture. My school was known as the school that consisted of hispanic gangs and everywhere you went you could find graffiti. Not that graffiti or gangs has any more to do with hispanics than it does any other race but knowing that the majority of my school was hispanic, thats just how others would see it. Because of this, My racial filter tended to be very open. Many of my closest friends were hispanic and I really thought nothing of it. I became so used to being around other races that I really didn’t even notice a person’s skin color anymore.

    Through these friendships, I was able to experience a culture that was different from my own cultural norm. I experienced quinceneras, different churches, family meal times, festivals, and foods. I feel that if I would have grown up in a white community I wouldn’t be as open minded to new people, cultures, and traditions. Being around my own family and my friends gave me a sense of understanding at an early age that no matter our differences, we are all human. And there is no law that says we cannot embrace other cultures and really learn from them or incorporate some of their values into our everyday life.

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  • I went to Bothell high school where race really was not a huge deal. Our classes were largely diverse as our boundaries reach into some very rich and some very poor neighborhoods. For the most part, the less well off students tended to be Mexican, Latin American, or African American just as the Jen Graves article pointed out. Most of these financially challenged students also did not do very well or try hard in school at all. Many of them did drugs and would be in trouble with administration often. As a result, I tend to categorize Mexican people as not being very wholesome. If you asked me to picture a Mexican man, I would picture a man with a some sort of facial hair wearing dark baggy clothes and at least one gold chain around their neck because they were very noticeable to me that way. This is the same idea as what Steve Locke said about how when he says something, it is somehow considered to be a generalization on how black people think. Just because I saw a large population of Mexicans acting this way and dressing this way should not mean by any means that they are typical Mexicans. For example, thinking back on my high school experience, I played trumpet with a Mexican who was just a year younger than me and he dressed more professional for school than 95% of the student body. He was a very respectable person and the thought that he was Mexican only came to my mind in comparison with some of the others at my school. The reason I am focusing on Mexicans and very little on African Americans is that my best friend since first grade is African American and there is very little discrimination at our school towards races. For example, we put on a show for charity that is simply the 15 ‘coolest’ or ‘most popular’ guys, and two were Asian, two were Mexican, two were African american, and one was middle eastern.
    The winner was Asian and second place was African american. I guess what I am trying to say is that I have always been raised in a way that has eliminated many of the judgement I hear about ethnic people. I am not saying I have not made an incorrect judgement about someone based on their race, but it is very rare that the only thing I take into account is their skin color. Factors like clothing, accessories, and how they hold themselves are large in my first impressions about people. My filter is really only based on my personal experiences to be honest. I’ve noticed that Asians usually stay together with other Asians and they become very loud when they are in large groups and they usually stay with other Asians that speak their same language and speak loud and clear in that language often. This was something I noticed quite largely when I traveled to Italy and there were large pods of Asians speaking in different languages. In that sense I do tend to judge Asians more than other races, because if they do not speak English, I tend to see them as just another Asian who seems to not care about the noise level they are producing and I unfortunately consider them obnoxious before I can get to know them. Furthermore, as I said earlier, my lens about Mexican people is not very wholesome. It is sad how the population that I saw often were very financially unstable and did not receive a very quality education based on the work I saw them put out. This is obviously an issue because based on these experiences, I will most likely subconsciously see Mexicans as less educated people and will be less likely to consider them to be hardworking and reliable in the work force. This is just my racial filter and as much as I hate it, I will most likely keep these generalizations with me for the rest of my life. My life will be affected by these in a very poor way and I will need to change especially if I become a high level employee that needs to evaluate employees or seek out new ones.

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  • I’ve grown up in a largely white world. My family is a lower-middle class white family, who lived a mostly white suburban neighborhood. Every school I’ve gone to has had at least a 60% white population.

    The lack of racial tension that I have felt has made my awareness, knowledge, and understanding of racial issues very small. Throughout my life I’ve been treated with respect and kindness, often almost more than I truly deserve. Often when I think of race issues and tensions not being a problem anymore, just because I am not a victim. I’m a classic example of one who is able to benefit from white privilege. I can feel safe wherever I go, knowing that the police will help me if I need them. I don’t have to worry about being wrongly accused of a crime, or profiled just because of the color of my skin.

    I think that the lack of knowledge of institutional discrimination, or never having anyone stare at me because the way I look has really conditioned me to be unaware, or maybe even willfully unaware, to these issues that are still so prevalent today. I’ve been a consistent benefactor of what Roithmayr refers to in her book called “Reproducing Racism” as white’s locked in advantage over minorities.

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  • I have lived in Savannah Georgia for 2 years and a half during my freshmen, sophomore, and one semester of my junior year. During that time i had been attending an 85% black 14% White and 1% Asian High school. During that time i was the only Korean American and the rest were Indians. During one year out of the 2 and a half years, i had been hearing racial slurs, stereo types, and also threats every day just because i was a Korean American. The experience i had during that one year was miserable, but what really changed me was that i didn’t let the jokes and slurs get to my head, i started laughing with the jokes and ignored the slurs, that is when the group of students that were making fun of me stopped and actually treated me as an human being that is different from them and understood me. Because of this experience i am very opened to the people who are racially discriminated or had been discriminated because i had been a victim as well.
    This doesn’t mean that i have a bad feeling towards the African Americans, i actually thank the fellow students for training me mentally to become a person who is open to everyone despite their skin color and culture difference.

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  • I grew up in the small town of Selah, Washington my whole life. It used to and is still known to be a town with the majority of white people. Over the years, there have been more Hispanic people moving to my town. Being a small child at the time, I never judged anyone based on their skin color. And as I grew older, I still never really thought about race. My parents grew up in Selah many years ago and things were a lot different back then. It was basically an all-white town with the exception of a couple Hispanic kids. Like I previously mentioned, more Hispanic people have moved to my town over the course of my childhood. My parents, especially my dad, were not excited about it. Nowadays, the neighboring city, Yakima, is considered to be one of the top ten places people are terrified to live. It’s actually number two on that list. My dad would tend to blame the unsafeness of Yakima on the Hispanics that had recently moved there. It is true that a lot of the gangs in Yakima consist of Hispanic people, but we have our fair share of white people in gangs as well. My dad would always talk about how Hispanics and illegal immigrants were the reasons why we didn’t feel safe, so along the way, I couldn’t help but listen to him.

    When you look at the facts, Hispanics aren’t the only ones in gangs or the only ones causing the feeling of unsafeness. On one of the busiest streets in Yakima, there is the Union Gospel Mission. This is a nonprofit organization that serves homeless people and people in need of Yakima. Needless to say, there are always drug addicted and scary looking people walking along this street where many other popular businesses stand. Most of those frightening looking people are white people. Maybe the gang violence has risen because of the Hispanic population rising, but there are many other reasons why one would not feel safe in Yakima. And those reasons have no certain race affiliated with them.

    I would like to believe that I have a small racial filter. I believe that any person of any skin color is capable of doing good and bad. And there is no specific race that is better than another. I know white people that are good people and white people that are bad people. I know Hispanic people that are good people and some that are bad people. I even know African American people who are good people and some that are bad. And the same goes for Asian Americans and other ‘races.’ I believe that it has to do with your upbringing. I know some say that race does matter when it comes to how you were raised. People say that white people have a better chance at being successful in the US. And I can agree with that. But I do believe that things are getting better day by day and I am eager to learn more about what we can do to bring true equality to our country.

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  • My mother is half black and when I was young she would tell me about her childhood. She grew up in a remote part of Alaska and the fact that she was not full white nor fully black(African American what have you) she was one of the truest minorities. She told me that because her skin tone was in the middle of the spectrum that both the white and black students would pick on her. I always remember how hard it was for me to grasp that she could not identify with either race. How hard that must have been. Their racial filters did not have her in mind.

    Myself growing up I looked mostly white because I was only 1/4 African American. I had a wide variety of friends during high school. I really don’t remember much discrimination. Yes if I see someone I will indeed see what skin color they have and that will register in my mind on some level. But if you are a cool person I will not disrespect or shun you based on your skin color.I would say that I have a decently wide racial filter; meaning many of my close friends are different races than I am. I’m not saying i’m a saint among men by any means. I am excited to see if this class, along with the books and discussions, can truly challenge my current racial filter.

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  • I was never really aware of my own ‘racial lens’, but then I read the quote about my life story producing a racial filter, and began to see my lens. I do not think that everything said or done comes down to race, while, I don’t think that race is completely ignored which is why my racial filter is medium. I have not given that much thought to race, or my race, but have focused on the history that race has seen in this country and have always thought we were past that. With that said, I took a trip this summer down to Florida, and Florida, located in the south, is a lot more diverse than the demographics we have here in the east side of Washington. I was shocked to see the amount of African Americans in this area and it completely took me off guard. Long story short I believe the lack of diversity around me in my schools and in the area that I live in has allowed me to live in the absence of experiencing racism. Being white, in all of the schools that I have attended there have been very few people of different ethnicities; therefore I never experienced being treated better than anyone else, but always the same. The only time I did see people of ethnicity was on the television as I was watching ‘Cops’ or ‘Jersey Shore’ featuring very stereotypical persons on both of the shows. This experience gave me the idea of categorizing certain people into stereotypes for their race, as repeated ethnicities would end up in jail, and in the case of ‘Jersey Shore’ that all Italians acted a certain way.
    Even though I did not live in a city full of diversity, people do talk about it. From word of mouth alone, it is easy to learn about stereotypes and different races, how dangerous some of them can be and statistics concerning them. Therefore, word of mouth is very influential to make your own ideas about different races, especially when it comes from an adult or your schoolteachers. I think that to this day, I personally have not been affected by racism whether it’s slurs or insults, but my heart goes out to those that I have seen affected by racism and those that experience it everyday. Within the last few days of this CES course, I already know that there is so much more that I can do to help the issue of racism and know that it is such a big issue to not ignore. I am a person that tries to avoid the subject whatsoever for the fear of saying the wrong thing or being called a racist, and as Sara Jackson has quoted in, Why I want to Talk about Race, and Why You Should Too, “whenever white people want to talk about race, they never want to talk about themselves”, this quote is aimed directly at me. So the plan is to talk about race.

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  • I grew up in a small, diverse little town. Most the population consisting of whites and Hispanics, although there is also a significant amount of Native Americans and Asian Americans in the area.

    Race has been an issue ever since I can remember. Being from the oyster capital of the world, there is a significant amount of canneries in the area. The majority of employees at those canneries are Hispanic and I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “The Mexicans are taking all of our jobs.” Which is not the case. The truth is, Hispanics are willing to work hard for whatever pay, meaning they are willing to do the work that most whites feel they’re “above” doing. In school, students were always complaining, saying it was unfair that Hispanics got to take Spanish because “it’s their first language” and “an easy A” for them. Without making the connection that we take English which is our first language? Does that make it an easy A for us? Not necessarily. Racial slurs are common and constant. It’s a social norm there, racism, and nothing is ever done to change that.

    Growing up in my community, with all the racial tension around me, has definitely bettered my understanding and knowledge of racism. Not only has the tension shaped my outlook, but being both Native American and white has also been a huge contributing factor. Being on both sides, I was able to see things from both perspectives.

    I would say that my racial filter is “thick”. I feel that nearly everything is about, or comes down to,race anymore and am rather quick to get defensive of whomever affected. The fact is that racism, discrimination and white privilege are still very real. It’s all around us everyday and the fact that some people are so oblivious to that is beyond me.

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  • I am a white male who has lived in a small town all of my life, in small towns there is not much variety regarding race and culture so I am very inexperienced as far as talking about race is concerned. I guess I kind of have a racial lens in the way that I haven’t had much experience with other cultures and I feel like I have to make sure to not offend different races by being ignorant with words. With time and learning experiences from this class I believe my racial lens will start to disappear, I don’t know if it will ever completely be gone but that’s just in respect with whatever race I am dealing with. I find it difficult relating to racial issues being so secluded but I can definitely see where we have room to improve as a culture and a community as a whole. With that said I feel that we have made great strides and are coming closer and closer to reaching our goals as a society. Race has had very little impact on my life I have always been around a like culture and have never felt out of place within my community, by joining the culture here at WSU I will be exposed to more variety of races and cultures and different views.

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  • When I went thorough high school we where nicknamed the ghetto by all of the other high schools through out the district there was a very culture enriched schools for the part of the four years that I went to this high school there was this program that showed all of us the many different culture we had in and through out the building. But even with that program everyone still stayed separated blacks would hang out with the blacks again with the Asian and so on…. the real only exchanged with race crossing different paths is with sport and i the exchange of class discussions. for so as the filter comes in to play lots of people have there own and some may be low and some may be high but it really depends on the type of level of diversity the person was exposed to. When i came to WSU I sort of saw the same going on but as i explored the campus more i saw the more and more of how culturally enriched this campus is and how involved different this was compared to what i saw. the more i learn and the more i experience this class and the study of different races and culture the more and more my race filter will change and become more aware of what is going on in the world between different races

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  • I notice many students commenting on this prompt admit to having little experience with diversity growing up. Looking back on my experience, I realize that my story is no different. The population of students in my high school (and middle school and elementary school) was almost entirely racially homogeneous. To be honest, I represent the “deeply embarrassed white person talking awkwardly about race” that Jen Graves wrote about.

    In her article, Graves discusses the overwhelming whiteness of Seattle and the attitudes of whites towards racism. She quotes Eddie Moore Jr., a director of diversity: “When you say ‘white supremacy’ or ‘white privilege’ in Seattle, people still think you’re talking about the Klan.” In this quote, Moore highlights the fact that there is little action or passion towards ending racism in Seattle, as people simply do not think it exists anymore (statistics such as graduation rates, jail populations, and income levels say differently). Clearly, in my experiences and those of white Seattleites, it is far too easy to ignore the pressing issue of racism today.

    While I do acknowledge the fact that racism still exists, I think my racial filter still denies some of the hard truths that accompany racism. I think of Asian Americans, many of whom I am close to. I have witnessed many times when Asian Americans are labeled blatantly for having done something “Asian” or looking very “Asian.” Mostly they are very cool about it and laugh it off, and so it is easy to think that it is okay to treat Asians this way, that it is a sort of “tolerated racism.” Whether or not we admit it, many of us hold very stereotypical views of Asians and Asian Americans today.

    To sum up, race has had little impact on my life, possibly as a result of racism being denied by many whites today. My racial filter is one that does not identify racism quickly or frequently, and so my understanding of race and racism is quite limited. After reading Graves’ article and looking more closely, it seems apparent that racism is still a pressing issue in the US and that I am very naïve regarding the subject.

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  • Race has always been a biological concept rather than a social construct in my eyes and those around me. Race is a socially dynamic concept that moves fluidly from place to place without us even being conscious of it the majority of the time. The main question I find myself thinking is “Isn’t racial discrimination a problem of the past?” The truth is, it’s far from it.

    In the article “The Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic, Clyde Ross says, “The reason black people are so far behind now is not because of now, it’s because of then.” The racial issues that were started with white supremacy in the origin of this country have greatly impacted this country’s social structure, which continuously impacts African Americans and even myself. My racial filter lies beyond being racially oblivious. I am quite neutral in that I know race is a diverse topic that still causes disputes, yet I do not find myself coming across racial conversation or terms often. As talked about in the “Can you be motivated by race and not even know it?” video, “Project Implicit” is a research collaboration done to in some way make implicit bias consciously known. I took the quiz regarding African Americans and European Americans, and received a result stating I have an implicit bias towards European Americans largely due to the environment and culture I grew up in. Although, I do not say or do things intentionally racist, I still have strong bias towards white people. Race is a largely misunderstood concept that most often ravages us implicitly.

    Growing up in Hoquiam, Washington I was not exposed to many different races. The majority of students were white and the second largest majority was Hispanic. I can’t remember a single black person ever attending my school. In the long term, this environment I was placed in for at least four years has made me more comfortable with white people rather than black. Until taking the quiz for “Project Implicit” I didn’t have a clue that I had a racial bias. I assumed that race was something that caused issues in more diverse regions, but not that it was an issue to the degree of people feeling a need to change their names just to get a job interview or even that as a society we are still close to the level of the Brown vs. Board of Education days.

    Racial slurs and issues have almost never impacted me directly. I now know that others are impacted daily. After reading and watching course materials, I now understand that race is a social construct, discrimination and racializing is beyond real and that in order for change to happen regarding this topic, verbally targeting race is key. My time at WSU and in CES class has exposed me to many different races and cultures, beyond what I have ever experienced before.

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  • Reading this quote brought me to realize that being a half white, half Mexican female race never seemed like an issue with me. My schools were not very diverse growing up in the small town of Bonney Lake, Washington. I would say my racial filter can be appropriate at times and sometimes I’m a little bit more lenient depending on how comfortable I am. Although I grew up with majority Mexican, and American people in my life my family raised me not to be bias. Being Mexican-American I do not get very many racial comments besides the usual, “you do not look Mexican”, or “you’re a beaner?” Although I have what you call “thick skin” it still means I am being categorized. Being categorized is not an awesome feeling and I could not even imagine what African American’s go through. When talking to people of other ethnicities I do not think of their color but think of who they are as a person. I truly believe that we are all human; color, shape and form.

    Having my dad as a sheriff, I got to experience what it is like on the cops end. There are many different types of cops, good and bad. The huge question today is are they racist? According to the media and videos shown all over the world some people would say yes. But you never get to hear the full story. Have you ever heard of a black cop shooting a white citizen in the media? It is very rare to hear stories like this because usually it is the other way around. Race is everywhere, and it has made me understand how serious it is still to this day.

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  • I grew up in a town where the population was evenly split up between Mexicans and whites, nothing really in between, and if there were other races, it was really just a minority. Ethnic wise I am a Mexican, which means I didn’t have troubles growing up in the town I did or really experience any racial discrimination. One thing I did notice though is the segregation that occurred when students reached middle school. Up until middle school students had friends of all sorts, not depending what the color of their skin was, but as soon as everyone reached middle school, things automatically changed, sort of like if it were a script. I still remember my first day of classes where I noticed Mexicans only socializing with Mexicans and whites only socializing with whites. This to me seems to me as a perfect example of unintended discrimination. It’s not like the whites were being racist or anything, but it was more as a typical race would socialize with their own race. Maybe it was because of the way people behave. I noticed that Mexicans and whites were actually very different from each other. For example, now that I think about it, I don’t remember a white student dropping out of high school, while on the other hand, I can name a few people of whom I knew that were Mexican. This also leads to the differentiation of jobs. A large population of the white community in which I live are farmers. On the other hand, most of the Mexicans in my town were field workers. Differences of jobs still definitely exist which sometimes leads to poor people staying poor and the people having money, developing earnings into even bigger earnings. Many times perhaps the dropout rates for Hispanics is greater because some see no shot at being able to afford college, or others want to start working right after high school to start providing income to help their families out, which causes for families to stay stuck in the same place they currently are without unfortunately advance in life.

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  • I grew up in a very white world. I lived in small farm town of 7,000 with about 75% of my school being white populated. I never had to stand up for my ethnicity or be on the defense. Throughout my life I have been treated kindly with respect. Growing up I was convinced that it was because I am treated the same way I treat others. I have become more aware that there is more to it than that—my “race” is definitely another factor. I wasn’t ever one to judge those with a different skin color than me, but I subconsciously considered them different than me. I think I tend to categorize certain people into stereotypes because of media and word of mouth.

    I did not think on race that often. I was never aware of my own “racial lens” until very recently. I do not believe that race is completely ignored but I also do not think that everything can be narrowed down to race. I don’t personally have anything against other races, I just naturally think of us as different because of our heritage and our appearance—which leads to personalities, characteristics, and traditions.

    There was a great lack of racial conflict or controversy which led to a lack of knowledge or awareness of racism. Yes, I was taught all about it but it was hard for me to ever reflect on that because I did not have any familiarity with the issues. I have not given much thought to race but have focused on the history of race in this country and have assumed that we have overcome and developed from that. There is not enough familiarity of institutional discrimination which has accustomed me to be unaware, or willfully unaware, to the common issues today. I am a consistent benefactor of white’s locked in advantage over minorities that Roithmayr refers to in her book, “Reproducing Racism.”

    I am a typical instance of a female who benefits from white privilege. I have spent my entire life feeling safe and secure. I have never been mistakenly blamed of something I did not do. I can gain people’s trust easily. All of this isn’t just a result of my personality and reputation, but also a result of my skin color.

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  • Growing up, race has always been a kaleidoscope rather than black and white. I grew up in many different neighborhoods varying from mostly black and Mexican, to predominantly white. My racial lens has always been wide open and accepting. Being black and Mexican, there were always preconceived notions about who I am or where I came from; but I was taught to take society’s misgivings as a challenge and to use it to help me succeed. I learned that race is just something that some people use to compartmentalize people so that they feel in control.
    I’ve had a countless number of situations where people have been racist to either me or my friend’s and family. But instead of making me bitter and angry, these happenings just taught me to see race for what it really is: which is just a man-made concept that becomes more powerful the more fuel that it receives. I always say that everyone has a story and that we shouldn’t judge or assume anything about anyone because of their race.

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  • Growing up in a white family, in a white neighborhood, and going through a mainly white public school district up until high-school, I was generally not faced with racial diversity too much. I was always curious, as a little kid, to how the people who looked differently lived their life opposed to me. I was raised in a middle working class family & respect was the biggest thing I was taught growing up. Respect and accept others for their differences no matter what the circumstances. I began respecting others without having knowledge of their culture or their differences compared to mine. As I began developing an interest for history, I really began to see the racial discrimination more than I ever have before. I began building my awareness of racial diversity and cultural differences through what I learned historically. I noticed that, as a white person, I had privileges compared to other races. That was a mind-boggling concept to me at first, but as time went on I accepted it and did not take it for granted. Combining my interest of history and my “respect-before-anything” attitude is where I really began developing my racial filter.
    Going through high-school, I surrounded myself with a diverse group of friends. I rarely looked down on people that looked different or lived differently than me. Instead, I accepted and embraced that difference racially. To me, having a friendship with someone of a different race was an opportunity to learn more & bridge the gap between the differences. Race is a fascinating thing. It’s another gateway for us as individuals to learn more about and let it impact us as we choose. Embracing the differences and gaining new knowledge about race helps tremendously in understanding racial issues. When a new racial issue comes up, being racially knowledgeable gives you a huge advantage of analyzing and discussing it with diverse groups of people. Obviously you can only speak from your side as a white person, but you have a deeper understanding where other people come from. This helps avoid you coming off as ignorant or “racist”.

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  • I am a Hispanic student coming from Bothell High School. All through out high school I tended to be friends with anyone as long as they were friendly to me. I will not deny that my closer friends or the friends I spent the most time with were Hispanic as well but that was never a barrier in the fact that I was friends with all different races. I have always known that being of a distinct race makes the way I live a little different but it has never been a big deal. My racial filter is not very thin but I do not believe that it’s very thick either. I acknowledge that statistics show Hispanics or Latinos tend to do more poorly in school or that they come from families with lower incomes. My own experience through high school showed me that statistics or stereotypes do not define you. You define you, yes some of my friends who were Hispanic did not graduate nor did they ever care much about school but I also knew many white students who did not graduate or care about school through out the 4 years. I worked hard all through high school because I knew I wanted to graduate. I learned to embrace my different race and use it to my advantage. I applied for many scholarships that were for students of different races that wanted to pursue a higher education. Categorizing Hispanics or African Americans as less likely to succeed in school or life is ignorant. “Skin color is only skin deep.” (From the article “10 Things we should know about race”) Saying someone will do more poorly because of there skin color or race is use of poor judgement. From the discussions in class I can conclude, as can anyone else that skin color means nothing. For instance Mrs. Phipps who had believed she was white all her life found out at the age of 43 that she in fact was marked as colored on her birth certificate. Under law she was considered African American but all through out her life that never imposed a barrier on the way she lived her life or how she did in school. Being of a different race holds no meaning unless you give it a social standing like it was mentioned in the film we watched in class today. (9/9/14) Individuals who think or believe that people of different race other than white are less educated or less motivated are wrong, race is not an adequate way to measure these kinds of things. So to pull my thoughts together and answer the question, my racial filter is of medium size. I am aware that race is a big part of my life but I do not think too much of it on an everyday basis because I have never let race be a controlling factor in my life.

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  • My Racial filter is a lens that is very thin. Rarely do I take something said with any or all racial context. Race has barely impacted my life because growing up, i was brought up with a colorblind mentality. I was friends with many different people, including those of a different race. I never put their race down, or even talked about how they were different from me. In fact, I would look for positives or similarities to myself (not negatives or differences). This lens that I had developed has surprised me when it comes to understanding the recent issues in our country. My background of being a white male, has challenged me to be more aware of our problems with race and because growing up I feel like I have been sheltered from the problems with racism.

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  • As an African American I noticed I was different when I started daycare. I was raised in an all-white community where I naturally stood out. As a young girl I noticed I was different but never let it affect me until I began grade school. But growing up in the white community wasn’t my issue, trying to fit in with black people was my struggle. From my own family members, I would be called an Oreo or white washed. From that I felt like I related more with whites than blacks which caused an identity crisis in middle school for me. Ignorantly thinking as a young black girl because I was a lighter skin complexion I was more white than black. But when high school came around I had my first encounter with racism. I do have a filter of racism, but I try not to take offense to what people say. In my communication class I learned we all have different cultures that we were raised in. These cultures are made up by values which will turn into opinions on different situations. For instance, the Ferguson case, as a white person might think racism has too much attention on the situation a black person could think all this has to do is with racism. Different cultures forms opinions and the way we process different conflicts and situations. So, yes race impacts my life from both whites and blacks. In a negative way and a positive way, but I try to look at situations from all sides of the issue. It’s so easy to blame racism, but sometimes it’s harder to self-reflect to change the situation for the future. Which is one thing I practice and also getting different perspectives.

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  • We all have our own look on race, and they are all different. Like most I thought I was not at all racist before I started this class. But I soon realized that almost everyone is racist in their own way. We all just have our own “racial filter.” As much as we are told that we need to talk about race more in order to stop it; I just find it way too hard to do. Yes, we are all afraid of being called racist, more from the people we are not that close to. For me, I tried to ignore the conversation because I am a pretty passive person and I try to avoid conflict at all costs. Most of my life I have ignored racism because I figured it was the way of life and the more time that passed, it would just go away.
    I consider myself very lucky to be in such a diverse family and friend group. My best friend has a black dad and a white mom; majority of my aunt and uncles have married black, Asian, and many more different races. Being around these people all the time has actually put in my perspective that they are no different than anyone else. We all have different cultures, but that does not change the fact that we all have hearts and brains and function just the same as anyone else. I did not realize the interactions I have had with them until we talked about it in class. I talk about race so often with each of them several times, and I have never felt timid or scared about the things I would say because they all know me and know I have good intentions.
    This made it a little hard to go to a school that at the most had 10 black kids. It was a struggle, with all the stereotyping and prejudice things that were constantly being discussed. People talked a lot about race; more bad than good. I never wanted to say anything or change their opinions cause I never really though it mattered. I thought that no matter what I said, I could not change these people’s opinions, because they obviously had a way different lens than I had. I think with our racial lens we need to share why we have them and not what they are. Like they said in one of the videos we watched, “we need to explain why what they said was racist and not call them a racist.” And I wish I would have been able to take this class before I was in high school. I do not know everything, but I do know enough to help myself and others with their “racial filter.”

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  • As a white female and living in a neighborhood with different cultures, I see different types of race. It doesn’t really bother me. My middle school had all types of race and only 45% was white. Sometimes I would feel safe and other times not so much. But half of my friends were white and the other half was Latino. I felt safe with them. Some days at school it would get ugly because girls of colors would get into fights a lot of the times. But going to middle school there prepare me for the real life because it showed me the knowledge of racism. I have seen a lot of racial things in my life. But for some odd reason I feel safe no matter where I am because I grew up around racism. I know what’s it’s about, I know what’s it like. My best friend was Latino and she would hang out with the most racial people you would probably ever meet.
    To me I don’t feel comfortable talking about race is because I don’t like to hurt other people’s feelings and have people of color get mad at me. Even if you say or do something wrong sometimes people of color get very sensitive about it

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  • Race is all around us all the time wheather we want it to be or not. As a half (black) half (white) 18 year old man my race lense/filter is probably considered to be in the middle. Becuase i dont only think about race and look for it all the time but at the same time i know its present and i will not look away when race matters are in my face and i am not scared to talk about the hard issues. Race has been apart of my life sense day one, and its not always a bad thing. Race impacts my life in good and bad ways, my black mother was bullied in montana when she was a kid due to her race so in that fact it being apart of her and rolling into my life was not a good thing, but for me it wasnt to bad. Although people make the accasional race joke just trying to be funny being a black man in the world today is not near as bad as it was back then. I am viewed as and athlete and will never get picked last for sports teams becuase of my skin color which i am okay with and am sorta glad that staryotype exsists. And being of the black race i understand the race issues alot becuase they were always talked about and being one out of probably 8 black children that went to my high school teachers and other kids would always ask me my opinion on race related things, and would ask me to chime in on things of that matter.To conclude i understand race and the issues that suround it, and as a civilization we cant run away from the fact that all of those things exsist and talking about it and understanding it will only help. And running away will do nothing but make people ignorent to the fact people look and are diffrent and judgeing them and putting stariotypes on to people wont help.

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  • I grew up with a family that raised me to not have a bias towards others and to treat people with the respect that is deserved. I personally try to ignore race and get to know everyone by their character and not what they look like. Growing up I felt as though I was sheltered from all the discrimination towards others. I went to school where the majority of people were white. Because of where I came from I never had to deal with being discriminated against and therefore I do not know what it is like. Being said I will not tolerate discrimination towards others because I feel that it is not right to judge a person before getting to know them.

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  • Race Matters
    Born and raised in California bay area. I have always been in a diverse environment. The people in our city San Jose is extremely diverse. Silicon Valley for the technology industry is right next to San Jose. This area has one of the best major companies world-wide. With this, diversity is not even a factor because we can see literally every race from all over the world Caucasians, Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, Europeans, Australians, and etc. I studied Community College in southern California where there was around 40% Hispanics, 30% Caucasians, 15% Asians, 15% Blacks, and the rest were filled with other groups. Even the sport teams were diverse. I have lived in California all my life and the places where I have been to are mostly tourist attractions; hence, when it comes to diversity I am well acquainted with it. However, since I am Asian, I sometimes hear stereotypical comments like “Oh, he is Asian, no duh he is good at math”. I get these comments so much from random students on campus or just typical jokes on the street. It annoys me that people have to either make this comment/compliment/joke. I tend to smile at people with their remarks, but it just ticks me off. I can’t say that I am bad at math, but I wasn’t born well at math. I spent time and put in the effort to actually understand the concepts. I have also written papers about racial discrimination in USA. USA is built on racial discrimination, it is innate even if you don’t believe in this, wherever you go people will be pulling jokes left to right about any race. It is so common people usually just ignore it or smile at others just to get people to shut their mouths. One thing that I really don’t understand is the “N” word when people call each other out as “Bros” or “Sup Man”, they always go for the slang “N” word. It is a major trend now days and many people use it even if they are not Blacks. I have seen some people get quite offended when they hear people of another race using the slang just as a hello. Others are completely fine with the slang and use it in almost every other sentence. Another random joke that I tend to hear about Asians would be “Oh Asians have small eyes”. I guess some Asians have small eyes, but there’s no way that all Asians have small eye’s. Even though I am Asian American, there are still times when I go into random stores where the owners or waiters think I can understand them and talk super slow. I find it funny, but I do realize it is a courtesy. As for traveling to Asia, I tend to see Asians starring at foreigners. Almost the whole street of people walking will turn their heads and glance for a quick second or two looking with curiosity. Right after they see the foreigners, you can instantly hear some random discussion going on about that specific race. So, racial discrimination is not only in USA, it really is a global problem. The video we saw about the students in class using their genes to find similar people with the exact genes was interesting. Even though your race is the same as someone doesn’t mean you are genetically similar. I would hope people come to understanding about this and develop a higher understanding about “Humans are genetically all alike”. I wonder sometimes if animals with different colored fur would discriminate their own.

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  • Growing up in a diverse family I was familiar with race my entire life. I remember vividly throughout my childhood I was constantly reminded of who I was with the standing of my ethnic background. I’ve always lived in diverse communities and have always been aware of my racial filter. Being half Korean and half White I found myself in a battle of what I should identify with. In elementary school is was more “cool” to be Asian in a sense. I was almost ridiculed for even having White as my ethnic background. When I would be around my Asian friends, they would say, “oh you’re not really Asian” or “your just white girl”. This being said I would constantly have to state that I was only proud to be Asian and didn’t want to be white.

    This quickly changed when I was in middle school. All of a sudden it was almost better to identify with my white side. Everyone wanted to be a “white girl” so I went with it. When people would ask what I was I would say, “I’m white and a little Korean” although I was equally mixed. Even though it was a diverse community with many different ethnic backgrounds, I would find people who were from a different race almost resenting the fact that they weren’t white. Then again this all changed once I went to high school. Being White became less of a percentage while those with diverse backgrounds populated more of the school. I would notice when a White person would try to make a racial joke, they were instantly shut down and told they cant say that cause they were white.

    This opened my “racial lens” up and made it clear that no matter what day and age I was in, race would follow me for the rest of my life. Small jokes and comments throughout the day were made solely based on race. Even if I were to do well on a test, people would automatically make jokes about me being Asian or that my mom probably made me study hard because she is Asian and Asian parents are always strict. That stereotype always made me laugh because in reality, my Father who is White was always a lot harder on me about education than my mother ever was, but no one would ever believe that because what people are inclined to think about how certain races are.

    In general I believe race as affected my life in various ways. I’ve chose to accept the ignorance and racial stereotypes that people have and know that being diverse is what makes everyone interesting and unique.

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  • I had spent a large portion of my life overseas. My mom and biological dad are both Thai but my mom got remarried to a Caucasian American. I was born in Thailand, then my family and I moved to Washington State when I was 5. When I was 10 and my father had retired, so we moved back to Thailand. I had finished 5th grade through 12th grade in a private International school. When I first moved to America, I lived in a predominantly white neighborhood. I went to a mostly all white elementary school. There were about 10 people including myself who were part of the ethnic minorities in that school. Then I felt like I was in the minority group again when I went to the school in Thailand. This time it was based on the shade of my skin. Most of the students there were part Thai and part Chinese. Being part Chinese meant that you had lighter skin and you came from a higher class. No matter if they are 1/8 or 1/16 Chinese, they still identify themselves as being part Chinese. People with darker skin like mine are looked down on.
    Thailand idolizes people with light skin. Because of my darker complexion, I was bullied for being the black sheep in the group. And I believed it and cried over those negative words. For me, a big part of growing up was learning that I am beautiful and I don’t have to care about what other people think. I was a victim, but what I had gone through made me have an open mind and never judge people by their skin color. In my high school, there were kids from India, Korea, U.S., Canada, England, and Japan. I didn’t have a lot of interaction with African Americans because my high school only had 1 African American student. So I was never exposed to all of the stereotypes African Americans had until I took this class.
    I don’t have a lot of knowledge about racial issues in America. My family and I don’t talk about race a lot because we feel like everyone is human and therefor everyone deserves respect. I do know a lot of the history about slavery. I try to watch a lot of documentaries addressing the issue of discrimination. I’ve seen discrimination within the Asian community and I think that gives me a little insight to what discrimination in America is like, but I still think it’s not the same. I’m very open to learning new culture and other’s perspective.

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  • I am a Caucasian female that went to a high school of 300 students. My graduating class was 85, and race was not a big issue. Race has not impacted my life negatively because I have always been a part of the majority, in my high school there were only one or two students that were African American. Being a part of the majority you are sheltered from racism, but being a part of minority was probably a lot harder. Looking around and not seeing anybody that has the same skin color or looks like you would be difficult. About one third of my high school was Mexican. I live in Goldendale, Washington and that is about an hour away from Yakima, Washington, and when I go there I have noticed that most of the population there is Mexican. When I walk into a store I do not hear English, I hear Spanish. But I have been experiencing this since I was a small child, so it is normal now. Growing up I always heard how the valley was unsafe and there was a lot of gang violence. In school when we would go to Yakima for games, we would always have to use the “buddy system” because it was unsafe to walk alone. I think people just thought because we were in a community with gang violence history, and it was mostly Mexicans, that it was dangerous and I don’t completely agree with that. I would say my racial filter is mild, because I have never really been around racism. Coming to Washington State and taking this class has really opened up my eyes to the race conflicts that are happening in today’s world. I feel sorry for the people that are affected by racism everyday of their lives, and I don’t think that because of the color of your skin you should be treated any different.

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  • I was born in Long beach and was raised in many places around California. Since I moved around a lot through out my life, I have encountered many ethnic backgrounds. Many people think I have a lot of knowledge and understanding of racial issues from where I’m from, but I think that no one can really understand them racial issues completely.
    Going to my first school in California (that I remember), I thought it was going to be hard for me at the beginning. To be honest, I was kind of scared. I thought being a small, blonde, blue-eyed white girl would defiantly be difficult at a school that had more black students than white. I was wrong. I mean, there was rude racial comments thrown at me from time to time, but it never really tied me down. School for me was fine. From this, race wasn’t a really big deal for me. My racial filter was very open. I was never uncomfortable around people of different backgrounds. I had many friends that looked and acted different then me. After a while I didn’t even notice the color of my friends skin. I didn’t really care.
    When reading some of the writings on this blog many people said race impacted their lives in a bad way. Like being bullied because of the colored of their skin, but I never “really” had that experience. Race impacted my life in a good way. I learned a lot about the different races and families in my area and so on. I became really close with the families within my school. From time to time I would hear bad things about black families, but I couldn’t just judge black families because they were black. And I couldn’t judge them of second hand information either. We are all humans. We all have issues.

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  • I was born in China; I came to America when I was 12. I attended middle school in Seattle. I was severely bullied in middle school, the reason they bully me is because I don’t speak English. People used to always make fun of me when I speak. Experiencing bullying and overcoming that experience at a young age made me see the world differently, while I was experiencing bullying I would always see things in a negative way and overcoming it made my life so much better.
    Growing up almost all my friends was Asian. I can’t say that I don’t have a racial filter but my filter is pretty open. I went to a pretty diverse high school of about 2000 students. My racial filter has impacted my life in many ways, I am more open to making new friends and I don’t really care about their skin color. I see the world differently because of what I’ve experienced, I would see people’s good side when they are being really mean because that way what they say or do won’t affect me. Whenever they are things in the news talking about race, many people will view the content with bias because no matter what the news say they already had an idea on what they are going to believe. But when I watch the news I see it in a more neutral way because of my mindset.

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  • When it comes to my racial lens, I think I’m not at an excessive point at either of the filters. I don’t draw conclusions that everything is about race and I’m not oblivious to when things are truly about race. As a black, female growing up in a sheltered home, I never really got to experience race as a whole until high school. I grew up in Beirut, Lebanon-which was a predominantly white area and some could say I “acted white” as well. Growing up, I had a white nanny, attended a mostly white private school, and was raised in a strict environment where respect for everyone was a must. I decided not to attend private school my freshmen year of high school and was revealed to people of minority.

    Usually, when people look at me their first impression is that I’m probably ghetto, most definitely a rude person. But that usually changes once I start talking their thoughts usually change because I don’t fit into the stereotype of a black person. Race used to not have an impact on me, but as I grow older it’s becoming a reoccurring thing in my life. I’m starting to see that I actually do get put into stereotypes more often. As a person of color, I have learned not to put people into stereotypes yet every once in a while I find that I do. When it comes to how race has impacted my life, it really has just opened my eyes of how stereotypes as well as other judgments are passed. My understanding of racial issues has become broader; I now understand a lot more than I did when I was younger. Growing up in a very opinionated environment, I have developed the sense of asking “why” things end up in a certain way. With racial issues becoming a greater issue in the world and with me being a lot more mature than I was five years ago, I have a greater knowledge and understanding of them, but I also listen to both sides of an argument in order to get the whole picture.

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  • Race impacts my everyday life. I grew up in Yakima where a large part of the community are Hispanics. Growing up I went to the schools where there was a large variety of Hispanics rather than white people. Technically I was considered to have lived in the ghetto because it was mainly Hispanics and there were gangs around my area. There were only a few white people that lived in that area. People have the misconceived idea that Hispanics are the reason that our community has only gotten worse. I do not believe this is true at all. I believe it is a combination of all type of ethnicities that can make any place or anything look worse. I did not grow up around much white people, and I was accustomed to socialize around people who were of the same culture. Because of this I believe my racial filter to be in between thick and thin. Since I grew up without white friends, because I was used to being around Hispanic people it has made me think that mostly everything that is done and that happens to me is based on race. Although since I have gotten older and have been able to accrue more knowledge, I have been able to understand that everyone is equal no matter what ethnicity you are. Problems can and will happen to anyone, the way you go about them is how much they impact your life based on race. Race impacts my life in so many different ways. For instance, the sole reason of being Mexican and being a first generation college student is a big deal in my culture, because many of us don’t have the opportunity to come to college. Race shapes my literacy and understanding of racial issues because generally anything I do most of the time I think about in terms of being Hispanic and how being Hispanic sometimes I have disadvantages or advantages. I have been allowing myself to have an open mind and think about race in different perspectives. Racial issues is different for everyone. I now know that no matter what ethnicity you are from, we are all equal. I have learned that everyone has the same potential to achieve in great things. I understand that race is still a big issue in our country whether we accept it or not. It may not be heard as much because most people think that our country has moved from this part of our history. Or simply because people don’t know how to talk about it and do not want to offend anyone. As long as people are willing to get educated about this issue and gain knowledge and speak freely and publicly of this, our nation will be able to move forward from inequality.

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  • I went Kent-Meridian high school the most diverse high school in Washington State with student population about 2500 so race was not a huge deal for me. In my high school there were students from 100 countries and they all speak 45 different languages. Our classes were largely diverse and majority of the student population received free and reduced lunch. Most of the students and their family were financially challenged or English was their second language so they struggled and tried hard in school. Being part of diverse high school let me had friends of many races that exposed me to many different races and cultures.

    I can’t say I don’t have racial filter but I do know my racial filter was and is pretty wide open. I am open to making friends and I don’t look at peoples skin color before talking to them or making friends. Some days in my school gets nasty because fight between two students. Majority of time African American and Mexicans were involved in fights at my school. Just because some individuals of certain race choose to take actions that are wrong doesn’t give anyone the right to blame the whole race. It is an individual’s action not the whole race. I got to learn about different races through my friendship or volunteering services that allowed me to meet new people and get to know about them. Another thing that really opened my mind about race, people in general and how and why we think, say or do what we do is by my IB Psychology class that I took in high school. Through psychology class I get to know about stereotypes of different race and whether they were true or not. I also get to know how we stereotypes about people, race or things in our mind. So the class really helped me understand race and also make my racial filter open.

    In conclusion there is no specific race that is better than another. I also believe that any person of any race is capable of doing good and bad.

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  • I came in United State in 2009. I grow up in diverse community and attend diverse public school with more than 100 ethnic backgrounds students. In fact all of my friends in high school were from different race then mine. Race has big impact because I learn English from people with different race. I never thought about their skin color. My family taught to respect everyone regardless of their skin color and culture. I never thought about my racial filter. Now I know everybody have his or her own racial filter; similarly I have my own too.

    I am from Nepal but people thought I was Indian. I ask my friend why do you think I am Indian. He replied because “you have hair between your eyebrow”. I feel embarrass and at same time feel bad for him. It was perfectly normal for people think about another culture and race. But our societies have wrong perception and stereotype for all different races. People need to understand that, not all black people are criminal, not all brown people are drug dealer and not all Indian are hairy. I am not making this stereotype they all exist. When I was in high school, I was surprise when my teacher said, “Are you Mexican.” That day I was shock because we all look similar to each other because one day, I was being called Indian and next day someone called me Mexican. I thought we look like each other but why there is racial disparity between races. We all are human being it does not matter if you’re your white, black or brown

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  • Race has always been a part of my life and always will be. I grew up as a Hispanic in a small community of white dominance, and I always received the racial put downs from whites because of my skin color and the accent to my speech. I believe my racial lens has transformed throughout the years. Middle school year I would not necessarily care who was around me. I would say what came to my mind. Friends and I would also mess around and just say “Oh! That’s Racist”, I was an ignorant teenager. Getting into high school I saw how people treated each other, bullying onto the minority. I have had enough experience to tell when people make racial comments. Many comments depend in the context in which they are said. I do not immediately get to the conclusion that someone is being racist. At the moment I consider my racial lens to be right in between thick and thin because not everything that occurs in someone’s life happens based on race. I agree that every race has moments of difficulties, you cannot generalize a whole racial group because of a couple people you may know. Yes, I am now an adult and racial comments are still said around me. The best thing to do is just be the bigger person and ignore them. It can occasionally be permissible to bring attention to the person but in a formal manner, avoid using profanity, it just makes you look ignorant. It has happened to me several times and there has been moments in which they apologize and others just ignore me. Personally, I believe in equality between every race. For some people race can be a difficult subject and difficult to talk about but they have to learn that race is everywhere they turn, it is unavoidable.

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  • I am a white male who has always attended predominantly white schools. Growing up, I attended a private school from Kindergarten through the eighth grade that saw very little diversity. However, I lived next to a black family and had much interaction with Hispanics throughout my years of playing soccer. As they would tell me stories of what it was like living in their household as well as the struggles they had to face at school and in social situations my eyes continued to be opened to the effects of racism on children starting from a very young age and continually into their high school years. I attended a high school of over 3000 students, predominantly white. Race became much more evident and confusing to me once at the larger school, though. When I was younger I was taught to respect everyone and my parents and families had no prejudices toward certain groups. Hearing the stories from both my neighbors and teammates made me aware of racism. I was able to more easily recognize racism and racist remarks and was never afraid to stand up or say something to the people making them. Hence, my racial lens was very well developed for someone of my age, going through elementary and middle school. As mentioned before, race became much more complex to me as I went into high school. Slang terms were used among groups that I had never heard before, some ethnic groups would distance themselves intentionally and make no conscious effort to surround themselves with a diverse group of friends, and most confusingly of all, certain white people were able to say things to a group of blacks that others couldn’t because they had a “nigga pass.” Speaking up became intimidating in a room filled with a diverse population. You didn’t want to be the kid that made a remark thinking of it and somehow your words got twisted out of distortion into something with an underlying meaning. In a larger setting it was harder to understand what would be accepted by some people, but not by others, even if it was individuals of the same race. Although racism became a harder topic to understand the older I got, I would say that my family and the community that I grew up in has given me a well-developed racial filter and I am able to recognize racism without thinking that every comment made is racist. The topic walks a very thin line and will likely never be something easy to speak about.

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  • I grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington a town that consists of over 80% whites. Race is not a common subject in my hometown or in my household. I had fallen into the belief that many others in this day have where racial discrimination is in the past, but it clearly is not. For me, it was uncommon for me to see different races in my city or around school. I went to a private school from kindergarten to eighth grade where the diversity was minimal. My eyes were opened when I began to play select basketball in Tacoma, a neighboring city consisting of all varieties of races. Playing in downtown Tacoma, I began to see a lot of things I never saw in Gig Harbor and met people I never would have. I played with players who were black or Hispanic on my teams as well as against some on others. I developed relationships with them that many people in my city have never experienced. It is difficult for me at times to talk with them maturely because of how sheltered a majority of them have been. This sounds bad but it is a rarity for people in Gig Harbor to see black people and when they do it is big news. My filter is a majority shown on whites, but I have a much broader perspective than people from my hometown do.
    Now entering this class I have witnessed how important race is and how it isn’t a problem of the past. I wish I had known some of the things we have learned earlier because I know my hometown needs to understand what life is really like, while many don’t make it out of the city. I have heard many people make racist jokes to be funny but little do they know the impact of them. I never participated in these, but at the same time, I never did anything about them. All I did was not laugh and tell them that I did not find it funny. This has affected my view on racial issues as I have not been exposed to them nearly as much as one should be. I am not much of a news watcher so I never hear much about them because of the lack of conversation about race in my city. I hope to broaden my understanding of race and hope to make a change, one step at a time. Race has been, and continues to be a huge factor in today’s societies and will continue to be so if racial filters remain. They need to be made clear in order to understand that different races are not a bad thing.

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