How I spent my fall semester (online writing)

Published December 8, 2014 by djlwsu

We all entered the classroom with assumptions and thoughts about race in contemporary society. Write about these ideas and how they might have changed during the course of the semester. Give at least 5 examples and discuss how this information has impacted you focusing on how you think about race, racism, and inequality now.

READINGS AND COURSE SPECIFICS

400-500 Words

Last day to participate December 15

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118 comments on “How I spent my fall semester (online writing)

  • Entering this class I was aware of race in the contemporary society after my sociology class. However, there was a lot that I didn’t know or had any idea about. My sociology was a good introduction and it definitely changed my perspective, but being in CES this semester I have learned a lot more. I think the biggest thing that I didn’t know about was racism pertaining to the restaurant industry. I had no idea how much goes on behind the scenes. I didn’t know about the harsh working conditions. I didn’t think servers could make less than minimum wage. I figured all servers got paid the regular $9.32 or whatever minimum wage is and then the tips earned was just an additional bonus. I have a greater understanding now for those who serve my meals.

    Before the class I knew about white privilege, however I never really took much time to really think about the effects. I really liked how Macintosh compared privilege to an invisible knapsack or even the invisible bank account with the constant deposits. Those metaphors really helped me to begin to understand privilege. The Cameron Russel video was also a video that stuck out to me. Not only did I learn about the “genetic lottery” I also realized I’ve always had a closed mind on models. This preconceived view of her was completely wrong.What she spoke about was so honest and open that I gained a new respect for models. However the data on the percent of traffic violations that involve African Americans in Fergusson was by far the most eye opening. The traffic violations involving African Americans was 80% when they only consisted of 30% of the population. I will never truly know what it feels like to not have the benefit of the doubt. Although I am not white, I have never felt like I was treated any different. I have never walked into a store only to be followed or been randomly searched/stopped. I did not know how far behind we still are as a society. I sort of thought of racism as more on an individual level.

    The food scarcity and desserts from “A Place at the Table” was not new to me this year. We got to watch it in my sociology class, but before watching the movie I didn’t have any idea how bad it was in the United States. Like many people I always thought about other countries like in Africa or the middle east, when people talk about starving people. Living in a middle class family I never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from. All I truly worried about was what it was and if I was going to like it which is very self centered. I was also surprised when the video talked about the relationship between obesity and food insecurity. It makes a lot of sense when it was mentioned, but I have always thought of obesity as a condition of eating too much.

    Learning about race, racism, and inequality are very important. This helps create a world in which people are more aware and therefore will be more likely to become more conscious of people around them.

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  • The first time I entered the classroom I had several ideas and assumptions about racism. These were coined from the happenings and events I have watched over the news as well as the stories I have been told about racism by older folks. I also have some experiences that to me were real cases of racism. I am of the Chinese origin and these aspects are well displayed in my features but my assumptions were that black people are subjected to more racism than other people. I have seen some people’s ideas of fun become blatant racism cases. Some are annoying like a photo of several young people of Chinese origin and then someone asks who among them is sleepy. Secondly I think that the fact that the majority of the people in American jails are blacks is another evidence of racism in the modern world. It is not so hard to know that blacks are not the only people who commit crimes some are even convicted for crimes they didn’t do just because the judicial system is biased.
    My other example of racism is that black people live in areas where comfort is unheard of. Young people live dangerous lives experimenting with drugs because they are conditioned to live in such an environment usually known as ghettos. This racism is rampant in some countries even though it is not usually talked about since the perpetrators are the powerful ones and they do not care about the minorities or their cause. Another example and I think most people have this assumption than they would likely admit is that black is used as a symbol of evil and white for goodness. When you see a black man it is hard to imagine good. It is not a good thing and I think it should be erased from our memories. It is not hard to love one another despite our origins and backgrounds and this is what I advocate for.
    Lastly, I would like to write about the kind of racism that happens at the workplace. In America very few black people are rich and make it up the corporate ladder since structures are in place to hinder them from going up the management levels. Even when equipped with very good education very few people will have their company director or CEO is a black man, they would want to be ruled by a black man. Not just this issue some people are also discriminated against such that they do not even receive the minimum wage and rely on tips such as waiters and waitresses.

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  • Well, I am Hispanic girl, and in being so, I see things and have experienced things that make me aware of the color of my skin. My thoughts on racism were quite as you’d expect, I had seen it and learned a great deal in high school. Some ideas that I had was that racism was that it was getting better, but being in the class made me see that it isn’t getting better, but in a way worse. One thing that I wasn’t unaware of was the fact that little children of African descent learn to lift their hands up when cops are around before they learn to do something else. It isn’t right for them to fear or to even be aware of that stuff at such a young age. Children need to enjoy the pleasures of being a child, without having to watch their backs.
    Another interesting thing that I learned in class was the idea that colorblindness will not end racism. We need to be aware of the colors of people’s skin and acknowledge it. It’s like everything in life; we can’t fix anything without acknowledging the problem first. Something else that was quite shocking to me was the fact that black youth are 3-4 times more likely to drown than white kids. This frequency of black kids drowning is due to history, segregation, and inequalities. I had never thought of that, it just always seemed like everyone could swim no matter what. Those who couldn’t swim always seemed to be those that were less privileged. Learning little things like that in this course made it that much more interesting.
    I learned so much about stereotypes, I just saw stereotypes as things that people use to compare all people of certain group. In the class I learned way more about stereotypes, like the fact that stereotypes are powerful and they are influential. Stereotypes are taken part in everyday life. Those beliefs that a certain trait, behavior, or attitude characterizes all members of some identifiable group, is a stereotype. As much as we want to get away from stereotypes, it is hard to do so because they are so embedded in our brains.
    On last thing that I learned in class was about restaurants and how they involve race. The restaurant industry is known as a passing through job, but for many it is a permanent job. To me it was strange to learn that waiters do not make $2.13 per hour and that the rest they have to try to make on tips just to try to get to minimum wage. I never really gave much attention to the fact that 80% of restaurant workers at the front of the house are white. The rest of the races mainly work in the back of the house of which 2/3 of Latinos. It was just interesting to learn this and many other things about race that I had some idea but not much.

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  • At the beginning of the semester, I had no idea about Comparative Ethnic Studies. As a international student, I did understand a little bit of race, racism and inequality. I was thinking racism was just the production of slave-holding society. After taking this course, I was aware that racism is more complicated than I thought. Racism consists of both prejudice and discrimination based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. It divides people into “us” and “them”, based on where we come from or the colour of our skin. And it happens when people feel that it’s okay to treat others badly as they go about their daily lives. Not all racism is obvious. Racism is becoming more of a problem because of the covert ways that are happening. These kinds of racism can be much harder to address, because they involve the prejudices that we often don’t talk or think about. The video which was showing the difference of people’ reaction between white teenagers and black teenagers who did same immoral things was really surprised me. There is another thing I learned about this topic. Sterotyping is a survival mechanism and it is the root of racism. Stereotyping can lead to prejudice and predjudice can lead to discrimination. When I entered this class at the beginning of this semester, I had not really thought about race. The information about race that I have learned is that race is a social construction and a biological myth. So many people that are way more unfortunate just because of their race. After our discussion about Behind the Kitchen Door, I know that with no paid sick leave and low wages it became evident that these workers struggled to bring home enough money to pay for rent, food, and other necessary expenses. And I have been mighty generous with tips since I have become aware of their situations(about $2.13 an hour they made). There is another fact according to “Behind the Kitchen Door”. White people are more likely to work the front of the house while Latino’s or Mexican’s or else were more likely to have the less paying jobs in the back.

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  • Entering this class I was a little un-easy about what it would consist of. I knew we were going to be discussing a lot of racial issues, and I was very nervous to state my opinion. I didn’t want anybody to think I was a racist of any sorts and get the wrong impression about me. Furthermore, after attending the class on the first day I began to get even more nervous to share my opinion because I saw how ethnically diverse the students in the class were. I really did not want to step on any toes, or offend anybody in any sort of way. I would no longer say I am nervous to state my opinion, after the semester got under way I realized the room was also very diverse in its opinions of the topics discussed. After hearing everybody’s voices in class I started to question how I viewed some of the topics. For example, when we watched the show “What Would You Do?” I at first thought that all those people who only called the police on the African American kids were just doing what they thought was correct and that there was no racial profiling behind it. After we discussed it and some of the students shared their sides, I began to realize that the idea of “Criminal Black Man” is a very real idea.
    In addition to hearing other student’s thoughts, some of my opinions began to change simply from hearing stories off of the movies we watch. I used to feel sorry for restaurant workers and their low wages, as my uncle used to be one. However after watching the movie on restaurant workers I started to realize how good the state of Washington has it. The stats those people said in the movie were obviously not at the minimum wage of Washington State. We have one of the highest minimum wage in the United States and our restaurant workers get that plus tips, yet they want to raise the minimum wage in Seattle to 15 dollars an hour? Furthermore, they said most of the Hispanic workers at restaurants were un-documented and under paid. The fact they are not citizens means that they cannot pick and choose their wages. It began to make me question why there was so much controversy over their low wages, if they are illegal citizens there is not much they can do.
    In addition to all of this, just the fact that I was coming to class and having to think about race twice a week helped me form stronger and more defined opinions. Even on days where class was chiefly lecture it made me still consider racism as a whole and provoked me to go about my life in ways that could help reduce the effect and apparentness of racism.

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    • Its cool to see how your view has changed though out the class and how yo have become more comfortable talking about race. I have a similar story. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about race either. I thought if I did I would be called a racist and that was definitely not true.

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  • I spent my semester gradually recognizing more and more of my so called “white-privilege”. My first day in class I remember receiving a short worksheet which asked some questions about my views on white privilege and my understanding of it. I wasn’t unaware of white privilege but I was like many who thought white privilege in it’s dying days and was well on it’s way out of our system. Since then I have spent plenty of time in thought, even in shock, at how much of a white privilege there still is in this country and how apparent it is. I was most appalled at the statistics and data that showed how the FHA had redlined neighborhoods even after segregation had been made illegal. This information stood out to me because I viewed it as the United States basically moving from slavery to segregation to ghettoization which is really just repackaging the same prejudiced attitude and trying to present it in a better light. In the beginning the idea of racism as reproducing was interesting to me. I found it intriguing because it’s such a shadowy element of our society yet it is absolutely undeniable. In the semester since I’ve been a part of this course I haven’t just seen injustice in documentaries and lesson plans, I see it everywhere. In this short amount of time I’ve been witness to the injustice that was served to Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Rumain Brisbon. The most unsettling part to me about these instances is the fact that they are happening faster and with more frequency than I can believe, and no disciplinary action has been made toward the officers. I’ve come across many opportunities to discuss race with a variety of people from a variety of cultures since my enrollment in this class and every time I begin to discuss what we’ve learned and bring them examples such as the vandalism video where more calls were made about black males sleeping than white males destroying a car there is always some level of shock due to unawareness. Everywhere I look people are pushing the notion that we live in a post racial society and there is no more work to be done here, and I am simply in disbelief that I can view all the numbers, statistics and scenarios we’ve studied and still see people who don’t believe, or just choose not to believe, minorities are at a disadvantage everyday. I can say I’m certainly more satisfied with what I’ve taken from this class than any other, as I notice the topics of CES show up quite often in everyday life. In order to put an end to the value that people place upon the race myth, and all the negativity that it brings, we must first put an end to ignorance. Although I stand by that I was never an ignorant person, this class has laid to rest whatever ignorance I still held toward the topic of racism in America.

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  • When this class first started I thought of race as no big deal and that it is overly talked about for no big deal. But I was wrong I see now that there are huge forms of racism still in the world today most of it coming from institutions that keep people from reaching their full potential. For example the housing problems with race and the redlining effects with worth was quiet shocking and something I didn’t expect. I thought one of the best examples that really stuck with me was the starting the race early and having people of color try to catch up after so many years of being nothing. But that’s also where I think the main problem lies, nothing is going to change until some more time goes b because the only way to fix it quickly is to take away from the rich and powerful whites which that won’t happen. Another example that really hit in my head was the one with the kids vandalizing the car in the park. I remember watching that thinking of all kinds of excuses of why that is not a big deal but then I realized that yeah that is a huge deal. Especially when the only group to get the cops called on them were the kids asleep in the car that had nothing to do with anything they were just simply black. One thing that this class really bugged me about was all the talk about cops. And hoe police target blacks more often and all of those statistics. It bugged me because a lot of my family are police officers and two of them are Mexican working as LAPD and they told me they will do anything necessary to be able to go home and see their family at night. That includes killing if needed, so when we see stories of a cop killing anyone not just blacks, we must think from the cop’s perspective. The cop doesn’t get all the details from the dispatcher he will get a description of the suspect and a code designating to the situation. So if a young black kid has a toy gun that looks real, all the cop will hear from dispatch is young black with possible gun. Normally it won’t even be that it could be black kid with a 10-18. Telling the cop one thing, there is a possible gun and when he arrives and there is a kid with a gun that looks real, the cop is trained to protect himself and others. The bottom line is that cop will do anything to see his family. If young kids want to stop being shot, stop playing with to guns that look real and do exactly what the cop says. Overall I learned a lot in this class but there has also been a lot that I have disagreed with but I guess that’s a good thing.

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    • Brandon I had a very similar view on race growing up. I can totally relate to your response. I grew up not experiencing or knowing anyone who experienced racism, discrimination or inequality. But throughout this class my eyes were opened to the reality of how real racism still is.

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  • Growing up race and inequality never had a big impact on my life. I grew up in a predominately white culture. One of my good friends was black. I never experienced race based discrimination or inequality growing up, nor did I ever witness or hear about it happening. The only time I ever heard about race based inequality was from stories my dad would tell me about what situations his best friend who was black faced at times. Before this class I knew racism existed years ago and sometimes existed in other parts of the world but it was nothing big. Throughout this course it really brought to light all the messed up stuff that still exists in the world. I realized that race based discrimination and inequality are just as real today as ever in history.

    Going to restaurants has always been one of my favorite things to do. The food is great and the experience is awesome. Its a good place to go with family or friends and spend time together. I never realized what was going on behind the scenes and how the workers are treated until taking this class. Its crazy the way African Americans and Mexican restaurant workers are treated. Its crazy that 96% of all workers who get paid less then minimum wage are blacks and Mexicans. Its absolutely astonishing the racism that exists in the restaurant industry.

    Another thing that stuck out to me was the fact that of all traffic violations in Ferguson 80% of them involved African Americans.I never realized that white privilege still existed until I heard this fact. I always thought white privilege was something that existed many years ago but I never realized it still existed. Another event that really caught my mind was the 12 year old kid named Tamir Rice who was shot by police officers for walking around in a playground holding a Bb gun. The 911 call to the police said he was holding a gun and it was probably fake. The cops rolled up on him and shot him in two seconds. They cops didn’t even give him a chance. Its crazy that racism and stereotyping still exists today. This event really opened my eyes to how real some problems are in our country.

    I never experienced food scarcity or hunger in my life. I always assumed that serious hunger existed only in other countries. I never knew how real it was in our country until we learned about food scarcity and food deserts. Learning about all the people with full-time jobs who have a kid or kids and cant afford to pay for food to feed them. The parent has to buy unhealthy food because its cheaper. I never realized that one of the problems in our country of obesity is because un healthy food is much cheaper than healthy food. Over time the price of healthy food has gone up while the price of unhealthy food has gone down. The fact that all this existed in our country was shocking to me. Food deserts is another thing that caught my eye. The fact that people with no money live to far from places with healthy food so they have to go to crappy places and buy unhealthy food. The fact that they are eating bad affects their health greatly.

    Learning about how real racism, race, and inequality are in the world today was eye opening. The fact that discrimination and stereotyping is as real today as it was a hundred years ago is astonishing. My mind has views have shifted greatly from the begin of the class until now.

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  • This fall semester was more of a wake up call for me than anything. Reason being, I was aware of the racism and inequality that has occurred in past events such as not allowing blacks and woman to vote. However, inequality is seen throughout the world but it is more of a taboo subject. For example, the whole idea of whites working in the front or face of a restaurant, while blacks and other people of color work in the back of the kitchen is a prime example of how previous issues in history are still being reflected in present time. Another issue that was brought up in class was the whole idea about the sense of fear, when it came to people of color, specifically blacks. I could relate to this issue because it was something that I have seen first hand at either school or out in public. With that being said,it seems as if we as a society are the ones that keep this myth and theory alive. We choose to believe that blacks instill fear and act differently around them. When I learned the definition of racism was a biological myth, it was like the last piece of the puzzle that allowed me to make sense of everything. This situation of fear could also be tied to the video where a group of white teens and black teens were vandalizing a car. Reason being, one of the many excuses of why the black teens were reported more, ended up being that the bystanders were afraid that they were concealing a weapon or would react in violence. But who are the ones to blame for this assumption? The society as a whole. For example, most of the criminals that are reported on the news tend to be those of color. This could have to do with many circumstances as well as white privilege, meaning those who have committed the same crimes, or even worse, could have gotten away with it, while those of color were stuck with the consequence. This in fact also leads to the issue of stop and frisk, which plays a big part in discrimination, inequality and racism. I have always noticed that those of color and specifically blacks have either been followed in stores or accused of being suspicious which in terms leads to false arrests, protests, and even violence towards police officers and citizens. Even though racism seems to be gone it is very much still alive and affecting everyone. This course has open my eyes to the world and has made me face these problems and acknowledge them rather than turn a blind eye and act as if they do not exist.

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  • Coming into the class I was not very sure what it would consist of. I come from a very diverse community that is made up of mostly Asian Americans. In my high school we never had to deal with racism or discrimination, or at least that’s what it felt like at the time. Myself and I’m sure many others considered racism a thing of the past and anyone who brought it up was just trying to throw the “race card”. However now i realize racism is not a just a thing of the past. What really struck me by surprise was the restaurant industry. I knew the workers did not make a lot of money but I did not know about the other struggles they had to go through. It has never accrued to me that most of the waiters I have had while dining at restaurants have been white. Also I had no idea that there was a different minimum wage for tipped workers. It amazes me how employers can get away without paying their employees. It is against the law not to pay to pay your employees, yet they can get away with it. Restaurant employees are also treated extremely poorly. Just the fact that they get no sick days amazes me. These people work hard are just trying to provide for their families but barely make enough to sustain themselves and with no paid sick days they do not have a choice to not go into work because for one, they will not get paid so their family could go hungry and also there is a high chance they could lose their job. Hunger in America also stood out to me. I knew there was hunger in America but not to the extend at which i learned it was. I feel like not many people know about how much hunger there is in America because the media does not bring it up, if hunger is discussed it is usually about the hunger in Africa. Not that hunger in Africa is not a serious problem, it just seems that people care more about hunger on a different continent than they do in their own country. I fully support helping as many people as we can but I think we should focus on ending the hunger in our own country before we branch out and try to end hunger elsewhere. In the terms of law enforcement I am very surprised at what studies have found. The idea that blacks are 21 more time as likely to be shot by police is must be terrifying for the African-American community. It is sad that African-Americans have to afraid of police when the police are there to protect us. Inequality and racism is still very relevant in today’s society, we can all do our part to help and end it. Although I doubt there will ever be a time where everyone is truly equal it cannot hurt to try.

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  • When I originally signed up for comparative ethnic studies at the beginning of the semester I really didn’t know what I was getting in to. What I had heard from other people was that it was just a boring and easy lecture class, but what I found over the coarse of the semester was that I was actually enjoying attending class. The topics we cover go so in depth and really make you think about what is going on with racism and what has happened in the past to get it to where it is now. Without taking this coarse there would be so many things I probably would have no idea about. I learned more about racism in the past, redlining and things like 8 mile are terms that I had never heard at the beginning of the semester but now I feel so much more educated. When learning about topics such as the stop and frisk in large cities, I knew it was primarily more blacks and Latinos but I would never have guessed that the number would be even close to 80-90 percent. I think this goes to show that people understand that racism exists but people don’t grasp how severe it still is. Another term I learned about was institutional racism. I think learning about institutional racism was very important because it taught me why racism will always exist or at least why it still does. These unearned advantages are passed down through generations and always seem to exist and that is why it will never end because they just keep getting passed down. One topic that I think really opened my eyes and the eyes of other people in the class was the wages of waiters and waitresses. $2.13 is a ridiculous number for employees to be earning, and the sad thing is, is that most people didn’t even know that was possible. I mean I didn’t. I thought the minimum wage was the minimum wage for everyone, but taking this coarse made me aware that it isn’t. A lot of workers take home paychecks of blank checks because what they made went straight to insurance and paying off other bills. One last thing that I learned over this semester was about food insecurity in America. Coming from an area where not that many are hungry I never really noticed how bad it was in America. Obviously I knew that other areas were way worse but I had no idea that 30 percent of people in America are food insecure, that’s a lot of people. And it almost made me angry to see that our government knows how many people are food insecure yet we spend our money on other things. I think about how much money the department of security uses, and I just feel like they could cut back on some of the spending of other programs to make sure that people in America have food, but they don’t. This coarse opened my eyes to a lot of issues in our country and I think all students should be required to take this class because it will raise awareness to these issues so we can finally make a stop to racism and discrimination in our country.

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  • At the beginning of the semester I entered this class thinking that the only thing we would discuss would be racism. Which is true, but I learned so much from it. I also entered this class already knowing the basic things about racism and discrimination that I have been taught my whole life. I have even experienced it myself because I am Mexican. I already knew racism was present at all times but I learned that racism still very much exists in areas I had no idea it could still be present. I realized it is a bigger issue than what I thought. Many people choose not to talk about it because they do not want to come off as racist. But the problem is not talking about. Hearing from people’s experiences is an eye opener, and it is not something someone should ignore simply because you have the choice not to worry about it (privilege). The only way to get passed it will be by talking about these experiences and how they affect so much people. I learned that even though this is the “land of opportunity” it is in no way. I had no idea that when applying for jobs people who are the most rejected are African American. It is unbelievable that even though you would think our society is a post-racial society. It is not, simply because this country still faces inequality. Especially when trying to find jobs. One thing that for sure was very surprising was learning about food insecurity. It is a shame that even though people are trying to eat as healthy as they can it is not completely possible because there are insufficient means to meet the prices of healthy foods. They cannot afford these foods because of their economic standing. It is sad that even when these families try so hard to find better jobs so they can provide better meals for their families, they cannot and for some of the part it has to do because of inequality. Another eye opening moment in this class was learning that restaurant workers get most if not all of their income from tips. It is so sad to have to see that these people are working so hard in the restaurant industry and do not even get paid properly. Not only are they not able to provide well for their families but they do not have any benefits what so ever. No health insurance, no paid vacations or sick days. It is sad to realize that most people that eat in restaurants do not leave a proper tip for the workers. Most of the time people do not leave a tip for people of color. These workers living conditions are not good because a hard working job as they have does not pay enough to meet their needs. After leaving this class, I know I will be more aware of my surroundings and take into consideration what people are going through on a daily.

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  • When i first entered the classroom with my point of view about race, i had a mind set of my self being a minority due to all the experiences i went through. As an Asian growing up in the united states was really tough. I started my high school year in Savannah Georgia where the majority of the population is black. I was literally the only Asian during my high school years, this naturally lead to a lot of harassment and a lot of threats towards me just because i looked funny and weak. This lead myself to think that all the blacks were mean towards everyone and i started to have a stereotype towards them. What really started to change my stereotype was when i moved to Seattle during my 1st semester junior year, the high school i went to was a school where there were a lot Asians, Whites, and the blacks were the minority. What i seen was actually very shocking to me because of the positive attitude they had towards everyone. One of my good friends turned out to be black and he made my perspectives on blacks to change, and the class it self made me to be a person where i can think and see in a way without a colored glass towards everyone. I understood that no matter what race they are there will always be a bully type and a open minded kind type of person, and their is nothing but them selves to change it.

    The first thing that i was shocked with during class was the food scarcity in the US, i was never hungry during my childhood. I was extremely blind until the videos and lecture information during class. The moment i felt thankful for my parents was the moment when i saw the video and think about how much my parents worked hard to keep me happy and satisfied.

    The second thing that shocked me was the restaurant industry atmosphere, whenever i enter a restaurant i was never thinking about what goes on in the back, i didn’t know that there were so much going on in the back. I always thought about what i should eat, and what i want. I guess now i will be thinking more about what goes on and how my food is being made by someone.

    Another thing was that 96% of the workers were not getting paid well. The amount they were getting paid were no different than being a modern slave. I was shocked and mad at the same time due to all the corporate and even small restaurants taking advantage of the vulnerable workers. i really hope that the government would make some policy or law to protect their rights.

    The last thing that was surprising was the wages not going up for 20 years. How is that
    possible when the prices for everything goes up tremendously, i cant believe that the processed food prices went down while the organic foods go up, i personally think that it should be the opposite, But the world doesn’t work that easily, i hope that their would be some help to those who cant afford organic and healthy food for their selves.

    This class was a blast! learning new things were awesome!

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  • At the beginning of the class, I was well aware of racism, white privilege, inequality and other issues that minorities deal with on a daily basis. I knew that nonwhites inherently have a disadvantage when it comes to American needs and wants; things such as job opportunities, a nice home to live in, a fair, unbiased justice system, etc. Although I did know these things, I got a more in depth understanding of various topics: how the myth of race was created by whites, how racism affects minorities, how jobs discriminate against minorities, how past laws affect how America is organized today and lastly, how I, as a young black man, am viewed by the public.
    Prior to enrolling in this, I thought that, Black, White and Asian were all different races because society identifies people by their “race”. College applications, Scholarships and job applications ask people for their “race/ethnicity” as if those are important in deciding whether one qualifies for the position, which they usually are. It began in earlier years, when whites defined ethnic groups by their so called attributes, usually negative. For example, Africans were stereotyped as violent during slavery riots because they fought against white supremacy. Due to the fact that they engraved this stereotype and many others into our society, blacks are viewed as dangerous and violent today.
    So are jobs, colleges and scholarship coordinators discriminating against people who identify with a nonwhite race? Are they assuming that every colored person can identify with all of the negative stereotypes that come along with being that race? Before taking this class, I would have answered that question with a no. Now, after learning about studies that have been conducted to test whether or not discrimination is true in this aspect, I would say definitely yes. There have been countless studies to prove that employers do in fact, see whiteness as more employable than every other “race”. Minorities are aware of this inequality in America and it affects us!
    Black infants are far more likely to die because black mothers are stressed. They are stressed because they aren’t treated as humans, they aren’t seen as beautiful, they cannot support their children, they are forced to abide by standards set by whites and they walk the streets with the belief that they are suspects. They walk the sidewalks and get interrogated by policemen, they walk in stores and get followed by the clerks and they have to cautiously be nice so they aren’t perceived as “an angry black women”. Imagine how that everyday racism and inferiority can affect ones will to apply for a job, stay in school or even stay alive…
    Beyond that, I learned a lot about myself in regards to how society views me. I must act a certain way in different situations because I don’t want to be thought of as a “threat” and be gunned down by a policeman.

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  • Understanding how racism has affected many other peoples life has opened my eyes to the idea that many who are not of white origin are underprivileged. Most people tend to classify blackness as being impure and white as purity. I have had an immense amount of experience with racial clashed and have really never been victimized by it. During this class my eyes were opened to the idea of what it really means to be white vs what it means to be black and/or culturally diverse. I have thought racism was eradicated until I learned about racism within the food industry. The food industry really opened my eyes to the fact that 96% of workers were not paid well, and that many colored workers were pain less than minimum wage and they are not compensated well. Another thing that astonished me was that many workers were not given illness compensation within the food industry. This is not only saddening to me but also quite scary to me as well. Racial discrepancies seemed to me as a thing in the past; however, since this class I learned it is still a rampant ideal in society.

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  • When I first entered the class, my view on racism was that everybody has prejudices, but everyone is not racist. Even me coming from a family who are minorities, I still have prejudices against my own people. At the same time I don’t hate them or judge them. In this class I can see that a lot of people are strong about trying to prevent racism and police bias. We went over all the cases that blacks were said to be treated unequal and killed. One that stuck out to me was the one where the man was killed for talking and looking at the white women. They gouged his eye out and beat him, killed him then threw him in the river and was found three days later. His mom wanted an open casket so everyone can see what they did to her son. After I seen this story in class I opened up a little more. At first I believed the “hands up, don’t shoot,” campaign was a dumb idea and people are over reacting. But in class you said that it is not just the Michael Brown shooting, not just Treyvon Martin, but all the other incidents that happened in the past. There has been too many to count, it has been happening for a long time now. Before this class I would just here the news, see the tweets, see the marches and just not pay attention. Now I’m curious when I see news, I want to see the autopsy reports, and also I want to hear what the witnesses and the shooters want to say. I want to try and see myself if it is justified. Or if it was just because of hatred, and racism. This class has opened my eyes more, and makes me what to pay attention to everything on the news, and even my life. If I hear someone talk about racism or say something about it in my friend group, I can educate them on what I know about it. Like ask them what it is, and do they know if race is even a real thing. I have already told my friends from home about how race isn’t real. I have retained a lot from this class, and it made me more aware of things that happen around me. Made me want to be more knowledgeable and observant of my surroundings, and the world.

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  • Coming into this class i had no clue what to expect. I barely knew what comparative ethnic studies meant until i asked one of my friends who is a junior. She said it was a class about about race and thats all i got so i was a little tentative to start with. Coming into this class i did not think that racism and the acknowledgement of race was for the most part put to rest. I thought it was a very straight forward topic and therefor solved very easily. But i was so wrong. Race means so much more than just the color of your skin. And i learned so much more about racial inequalities and prejudice. I learned more on how the public views certain races and how predisposed notions of people and associating them with certain groups on the color of their skin can create a negative blanket that covers the eyes of the public and is very hard to reverse. I learned that people say they are not racist but they can still have a shadowed and bruised state of mind when it comes to people how they they deal with first impressions. I also had no idea that so many americans were struggling to be food secure. That so many families struggle every day to feed their kids and even themselves. It really made me appreciate how blessed i am and what i can do to help others and become more aware of my surroundings. Another thing that stood out to me was that young black males are perceived at first sight to be older than they are. Police used this as an excuse to use excessive force and target younger black males. This helped me to realize that not everybody sees others the same. Lastly the most impactful thing that I picked up was the amount of restaurant workers that are not paid properly and how many worker’s wages are eaten up entirely by taxes and they literally have to survive off tips. This really hits home because people eat out all the time and don’t realize that when they don’t tip that their server doesn’t go home with any money to feed their families. I was never a good tipper, but after seeing the video I told my self I would never do that again. This class has opened my eyes up to a whole new world. The world that I live in. And now I am better equipped to go about my day without being ignorant or how my society conducts itself.

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  • Coming into this semester I had a completely different idea on what the class would be. I thought that a Comparative Ethnic Studies course would simple cover the different cultures around the world. I did not picture this class being mostly about racism, privilege etc. When I did discover that this class covered such topic I was first curious because I had not learned, in any high school courses, about these topics. Also when I entered the class my notion was that we live in a post-racial society and that was only a minor issue and only existed in personal judgment, not institutionalized. Next I did not think white privilege existed because as a white male I did not see the benefit I was unfairly getting from decades and even centuries of de jure and de facto racism. Before this class I would not think that the issues like the Michael Brown killing and the ensuing protests were due to real racial differences that are seen around the nation, rather I would have thought it a problems localized to areas similar to Ferguson, MO and New York City. One thing I was aware of before this class started was the great injustices faced in the restaurant industry, I knew that many workers were underpaid and not given sick days but contrasting that I, like most people ignorant to the situation, believed that they were merely passing through jobs and were not trying to make a career out of being a waiter or waitress. This class has dramatically opened my eyes to the world of racism around us. I am now very aware of institutionalized racism in many different facets including the government, both on federal and state levels. It is obvious that we cannot continue to exploit people based on their differences. I believe this problem stems deeper than just race, but also to includes sex, sexual preference and religion.

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  • Coming into this class I really had no idea about what to expect. I just took it because my advisor said I needed it for my degree and it would be good for business as well. Coming to the end of this course I realize that it is not just good for business, this class is just good for life in general. Ad because of that I am so happy that I ended up taking it because it is a great class and really brings up issues that are important and worth learning about. In my personal opinion this class should be required because you learn about things that you would never really even think about in the first place. One main thing I didn’t expect to learn so much about coming into this for example is the food system and how it works in restaurants. I never knew how low of wages these workers are allowed to get paid and in some cases almost even are working for free. This has honestly made me reevaluate my tipping habits I have noticed over the past month or so, and I have even researched some areas on this topic outside of class out of curiosity. I also learned about the front and back of the house and how often the back of the house is filled with minorities and make less money and really just how unfair a lot of the food industry is. Whereas if I never would have taken this class I would have never even thought one bit about these issues. Some other things I have learned during this course are the history of discrimination in the united states like back in the day with all of the housing, redlining, and how white people would literally move just to be in more whit communities and how messed up it really was. Another thing I learned which I was even more shocked about, was how much discrimination still goes on today. I came from a pretty much all white area so I never had really witnessed much of this before, and as much as I don’t like to admit it I was really just blind to the fact that it is still a big problem. Things I learned that really proved to me that it is still a big problem are all of the facts we learned about how many more black people get arrested for doing the same things as white people like selling drugs. Also another example of this was the video showing the white kids vandalizing the car and the cops were called on the black kids sleeping in the car instead. This really taught me about white privilege and how it is actually very real and being white I have always taken it for granted and never realized it. This all just really opened my eyes to all these problems and now instead of not thinking about racism and inequality at all, now I know it’s there and think of how I can help try and stop these problems by being educated and knowing about them.

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  • As I entered CES 101 I was very aware of the situations that were dealing with race in our contemporary society. I was not very excited to talk about race and the situations that dealt with the subject. As I sat through class I never wanted to engage in the topics that were being discussed. Before the beginning of class I had a pretty good understanding of white privilege and I, being a white male, knew that I would never have a problem with the economy. But I now know that I can have an effect on the economy and the way that society treats and views the lesser privileged from me. I was not aware that restaurant workers were not paid minimum wage and had to live off of their tips. I was under the impression that workers tips were bonuses for them. I did know that restaurants discriminated because hardly will anyone see an African American or a Latino person working at the front of the house. Having a parent that used to work in the restaurant industry I learned that there is a lot of stuff that goes on in the restaurant that goes unspoken. I never knew what this “unspoken” stuff was until we watched to restaurant video. After watching “A Place at the Table” I realized how much help our country needs in order to survive and be a strong country. If we are unable to help the future of our nation survive what is going to happen to the nation? The fact that the government wants to take from the needy people in order to give to the needy people does not make any sense to me. I feel like if we take from the people that do not need the money that is handed out then we can strengthen our economy and get the obesity and hunger rates down. In my opinion I do not think that the country and the views on racial situations that sit in front of us will change very drastically in my life time. I think that there are too many people that have not had their eyes open to the things that we have as a class. The subjects of race and inequality are very touchy subjects and that is why I believe we try to avoid them. After taking the CES 101 class I have become more open and willing to talk about the subjects that are presented to us in today’s society.

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  • When we entered the classroom I felt like I was well informed about the information that would be presented to us, but as the class continued through the semester there has been some gaps filled. Some things that I have learned through the course would be the levels that institutional racism reaches, through education, housing, and our justice system. I feel like this is something that I knew about but did not really look at every aspect of it. It was interesting to know that these institutional racism ideals are still prevalent in today’s society. Black and white neighborhoods were segregated and even now in some areas of the country still are. I lived in Albany, Georgia and it was evident that the city was divided by the color of people’s skin. Another thing that develops from having segregated communities is the wealth disparities; white neighborhoods tend to have more money that goes towards education and infrastructure, while the more dominant black neighborhoods suffer from the lack of these opportunities.
    Another thing that we discussed this year that came into light was the restaurant business and how waiters and waitresses can get paid less than minimum wage. They mostly work for tips and generally are women. It was ironic because the next time I went out to eat in Idaho one of the workers told me that he only makes like three dollars and some change, and that he basically works for tips. Then it hit me, that what we discussed in class was an actual problem. I also see instances where minorities work in the back and prepare the food while dominantly white female workers are out dealing with the customers.
    Food in America amongst the poor is scarce, especially among African americans. The system of food stamps makes it so that individuals who are out of work can eat but those who do but cannot afford to live and eat cannot have them. People become food insecure and start eating unhealthy. I did not know that the most obese state in America was Mississippi. Small towns in this region of the country cannot provide fresh vegetables and fruit, which result in people eating more processed foods. This is called a food dessert and is something I learned in the course. I see this as a problem and something that needs to be addressed. Another fact that I learned about food was that fresh fruit and vegetables have raised forty percent and processed foods have decreased by forty percent. This really impacts low-income communities with higher rates of obesity and diabetes.

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  • When I first walked into this class almost four months ago I really only expected to relearn the things I already knew about racism, but really I have learned a lot more than I thought. I think one of the biggest things that have been brought to my attention was racial profiling by police officers. Through the different studies we leaned about in class, I learned that police officers are more likely to shoot a black guy unarmed then they are to shoot a white guy unarmed. There was also a study done to see if we relate guns and knifes to black people more likely than we would a white person and the results were positive. Another thing that was an eye opener was the case of Mrs. Fitz, how even though she classified herself as a white person, she was considered black when they found out that she was 1/8 black. This affected me when I realized that I do have other ethnicities that make me me, but I do consider myself American and I am lucky in that sense that I do not get treated different because of my culture and background. Also, I have begun to realize how much race is talked about on an everyday basis. I would consider myself not a racist person, but I do say the occasional racist thing unknowingly. I realize, through what we have talked about in lecture, that some of the things I say even on a daily basis can sound racist or people of that race could be offended but I did not realize what was coming out of my mouth. This has taught me to be more aware of what I am saying and how I am saying it and who I am around when I am saying it to make sure that I am sensitive to everyone’s feelings and cultures. As well as, I have leaned about race in the restaurant industry. I never really thought to step back and look that most of the people in the front house are white and that the back of the house is mostly ethnic. I also never was one to tip someone less because they were black but I do realize now that people do do that. This has then opened my eyes to the restaurant industry and how hard it is for people working there to make a decent living. Never did I realize how big of an impact my tip had on the server’s life and that my tip was their main source of income. This has taught me to be more fair in my tipping, my food may have come out slow, but there is a good chance that it was not even the servers fault but I would tend to take my anger out in leaving a smaller tip. There have been many useful things I now apply to my everyday life that I think will help make me better educated about race and poverty.

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  • I came into the class thinking it would just be about how the white man suppresses colored people but this course was so much more than that. Throughout the year we talked about a variety of things from white privilege to police brutality. I didn’t think about white privilege that much before this semester because I came from a town where it was basically all Hispanics so I didn’t come into contact with many white people. We spent a lot of time learning about white privilege and institutional racism. Institutional racism is unfortunately a very big problem in our current society with the racial profiling the police does with things like random stop and frisks. With the numbers in front of me the realization of the inequality and racism is clear. I hadn’t come into contact with racism much growing in a small time consisting of mostly Hispanics. My parents would tell me of their interactions with racisms while working as migrant pickers of fruit and vegetables. I knew that there was a stereotype of farm workers for Mexicans but I didn’t think of it much as a negative because I know those workers are doing the hard work to survive and feed their families. Mexicans have that stereotype but they are also known as hard workers and that never leaves my mind. This came to mind because of the workers who were talking about how much they make per bucket of tomatoes and how they all spoke Spanish.
    Learning about food insecurity really impacted me as thinking about the hungry and how little options they have. I’ve had family living on welfare checks so I knew the struggle people have to go to while living on government support and food stamps. Watching the video about food insecurity and hunger really interested me and opened my eyes to the fact that all races can be food insecure. Hunger sees no race.
    It was an interesting couple of weeks when we learned about the restaurant workers and everything they go through. The minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers is so incredibly low. The stereotypes the different workers have to face is hard too. Being tipped or not tipped can depend if the customer has a certain viewpoint of your kind of race. It’s rough depending on the tips and having to worry about people judging you right when you walk to their table. The tipped workers depend on the tips they make in a night.
    This course overall was very interesting and taught well. It brought many problems to my attention and Leonard kept me interested all semester long.

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  • One thing that I had assumptions about before coming to class was talking about race and what was okay and not okay to say. I learned that race is not only an issue for minorities, so anyone is allowed to speak their mind and defend him or herself. I also learned it is important to say what you really mean because that is the only way you can get your point across but you also have to respect the people around you and do not use outdated terms because that can be offensive. Before class when I thought of privilege I really only thought about it being to connected to rich people and not really race, but after this course I learned the real definition and how it is rights acquired of people at birth and denied to others based on particular and pervious determined characteristics. So not only did I learn that is not something just earned through money but it has to do with the rights given to because of what you look like. I also learned through this course how to address privilege. I learned that the system of privilege is not only hurting the people that are negatively impacted by it but it is hurting everyone. Also it is important to try to make privilege about action and not character because then that will make it so it can be earned and is not just given to some and not others. Another thing that I assumed before being in this class was that stereotypes do have their consequences but I did not realize it was an everyday thing. I learned that some everyday experiences with stereotypes are dehumanization, not wanting to be in certain spaces, reduced to profile and seen as an outsider. Going through these experiences everyday is something that will really make someone’s life extremely hard and the worst part is that they cannot help the characteristics they have so they just have to hope that things will change. Another assumption I had was with obesity, before this course I just thought that people that are obese were choosing to eat unhealthy and just not really trying to be healthy but after watching “A Place at the Table” it made me realize that a lot of families have no choice because they cannot afford healthier choices in food, since they do not have a lot of money it is either they get the cheap unhealthy food or they do not eat.

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  • Coming into this class I thought racism was for the most part in the past. This class provided a different perspective of what racism is and how it still affects society today. Racism is institutionalized. Whether you have privilege or not depends on the history of your family or the color of your skin. Privilege is an unearned advantage that you are either born into or not, depending on what group you considered to belong to, often decided by similarities in looks. These privileges were started back when old school racism was still common in society. Some believed that one people were better than the other, through possessing better characteristics such as, intelligence or trustworthiness. These ideals lead to large institutionalized privileges that still have affects today. For example, segregation of peoples through housing and loans decidedly by the color of their skin is the cause for many neighborhoods in the US to still consist of people with similar skin pigment. Job opportunities and pay were also limited for certain peoples and some discrepancies still exist today.
    What I had known even less about was the inequalities of the restaurant industry. With minimum wages no person could live off of. The amount of underpaid workers is shocking. It makes me think twice about going out to eat and makes me question whether the restaurant I intend to go to is run ethically. The fact that many servers make most of their pay check through tips defiantly makes me more aware of the importance of tips.
    Last, the inequality of the agricultural industry and the affects of hunger in America. Many American families today are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where there next meal is coming from. Yet there is plenty enough food in the US to feed us all. One of the problems is the price of fresh foods, specifically fruits and vegetables. These products are overpriced because of old policy. At the same time, less healthy processed foods cost less and less. This imbalance has resulted in food insecure families, because of lack of income, to purchase the cheaper of the two. Now when I thought of food insecure families, the image that popped into my head would be skinny. Surprisingly I found out the opposite was true, being food insecure can often result in obesity. This is because the processed foods they survive off of are a large part of their diets, and as a result these families develop health problems, such as, obesity and in the children, growth development issues. Even with these serious issues, the agricultural industry is making more money than they ever had, and they, along with many government officials turn a blind eye to hunger. Lowering the price of fresh foods while making them more available, or supplying more assistance to food insecure families could cause dramatic change in the health of the nation.
    Overall from this course I have learned that, although we have come a long way as a society focused on equality and justice for all, there are still many problems to be addressed, and a long process of awareness, discussion, and action to be taken in order for them to be resolved.

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  • At the beginning of the semester I was unsure of what this class would consist of, I had somewhat of an idea that it would touch base on how racism and discrimination occurs in our society. Looking back on the semester I feel that this class goes beyond what most of society perceives as racism and goes more in depth to explain what it is and how it affects everyone in society rather than only discussing how it affects minorities. I grew up in a very diverse city, so at the beginning of the semester I did not quite understand how severely racism still occurs in our society. I am of hispanic origin and was enrolled in a school district where only 50% of the students are white, so to me it was hard to understand how racism still occurs in our society because I had never witnessed it first hand. As the semester went on I became familiar with the terms “white privilege” and “institutional racism” and how they occur all throughout society. I always had the idea that racism was just one culture or race discriminating people who are outside of that culture through micro-aggressions however, I am now aware that it is much more than that. Institutional racism is a major issue that I was not aware of, I feel that this is one of the main reasons why racism still occurs in our society today because it does not allow minorities to have the same opportunities and and privileges as “white people”. I realized that institutional racism exists in so many different industries and puts minorities and people of color at an unfair advantage and holds them back from having success in society. After reading “Behind the Kitchen Door” all of this became so apparent and put racism in a whole different perspective for me. Having the opportunity to read this allowed me to realize that institutions like the restaurant industry give people of color such an unfair advantage and makes the idea of white privilege so apparent. Prior to this course I was also unaware of how many organizations have been fighting to better these problems, one in particular being the ROC. My dad owns a small pizza restaurant and I never realized how difficult it was to work in this industry until i took this course. I had a part time job and worked closely with all the employees and it wasn’t until now I realized why most of them were very stressed out and upset most of the time. My dad does not treat his employees nearly as horrible as the stories that are told in the book however, I now have an understanding of why most of his employees feel that their wages and lack of sick leave is unfair. The main concept that I can take away from this course is that the first step to resolving these issues dealing with racism is to discuss it and start a conversation. People should learn to understand that most people of color do not understand that majority of white people are not aware that white privilege exists and white people don’t know what it is like to be a person of color and live at an unfair advantage. If we spark the conversation and communicate these issues we can spark a change.

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  • Entering this class i already had assumptions and ideas based on race. i grew up around different ethnicity and so i really didn’t see them as different people or race. the more i learned i realized that whites definitely had the higher advantage when it came to doing things. i assumed that they were people like me but with a different skin color and have never seen them as less. one of the ways i see things after this class is that not everyone gets treated equally even in a modern society today. one of the bigger things are in the restaurant industry where tipped workers don’t get paid minimum wage or even get paid health or sick days. i learned that many workers cant afford to be sick and stay home because they barely can afford to put food on the table for them and their families. the amount that they get paid hasn’t changed from $2.13 in 23 years i found that really surprising because to me i thought the higher restaurant is the more the workers get paid but that changed when i watched and listened to the movie a place at the table. and within that i learned about the front and the back of the house meanings, it seemed that the farther you went back in the back of the house the darker the skin color got. not many people who were black or Latino worked in the front. another thing i learned is that gender is also a major thing when it comes to race because it affects not only workers in the restaurant industry but also people trying to support their families. women tend to get off with a lot of things but its harder for black and Latina women because they are seen as a threat also. white women get the advantage with everything and i definitely think that is unfair. i also learned that The economy of tipping is so racially charged that both the servers and diners are affected by prejudice. The wage gap for women servers make on average about 387 a week, and male servers earn on average about 423 weekly. Women constitute less than 50% of all restaurant workers but are close to 70% of tipped workers. Before this class i knew that police officers profiled people but i didn’t know how bad they racially profiled individuals, in class we were shown a video where a police officer pulled over a car thought to be filled with 4 black males that were driving fast, it turned out to be a black woman with her children, i was horrified that children have to be taught to automatically raise their hands when in that situation. another situation was when the police got a call that there was a young black male walking around the park with a gun, later turned out to be a 12 year old boy with a bi-bi gun. I now realize that people wont change especially their views on racism because that is how they were taught or grown up in that situation. i grew up near a ghetto that had white, black, and Latino residents and i remember being taught to not go out at night near the ghetto for the fear of being shot or a more serious matter. A mini market on the edge of the ghetto was robbed almost daily and had to reinforce their security measures. Another major thing that i learned is the poverty and obesity are linked to each other because many people who need to stretch their dollar go for cheaper food and that happens to be junk food. In 1980 the price of produce food and junk food went up and down by 40%, for produce the price went up and for junk food the price went down. so people tend to flock towards what was cheaper. another thing that affected healthy eating was food deserts, about 23.5 million Americans live in food deserts and 75% of those places are urban areas. Food drivers weren’t willing to drive through these places unless they were paid more and many towns couldn’t pay for what the drivers wanted.

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  • Before I took this class, I had a preconceived notion of what certain things were. And later, I would find out that it was far from reality. I was also very oblivious the reality of things like wages of tipped workers, people in poverty, and how little we do talk about racism. My preconceived notion of tipped workers was that they make decent income because I thought that they were paid minimum wage plus tips. In reality, they only get paid two dollars and thirteen cents an hour and that hasn’t changed for 23 years. If you don’t tip them, then servers don’t get anything to compensate for their lost salary. Like when Claudia was on her sift and someone dined and dashed, she had to pay the eighteen dollars at the end of her shift. Even with tips, they still live in poverty and have poor health. Only ten percent of restaurant workers have health care. I have started to see each person in the restaurant business in a different light instead of just seeing them as paid labor. When you go out to eat with your family, you don’t think about the sexual harassment, discrimination, and injustice that happens behind closed doors. Now that I took class, I am able to sympathize with them because everyone has a different story of why they are working under such oppressive conditions. When people don’t make enough to live off of, they have food insecurity. I’ve always imagined poor people being really skinny because they can’t afford to buy any food. Little did I know poverty is linked to obesity. This is because they can only afford to buy the processed food. The price of produce has increased by forty percent while the price of fast food has decreased by forty percent. Children growing up in poverty don’t have many options on what they want to eat because they can’t afford to eat healthy. Places like schools have less than a dollar to spend per child. This class has also taught me that racism continues to exist because people don’t talk enough about it. It is a major problem that people keep on dealing with. Some people might believe that racism ended when the civil rights movement ended, but it is still a big problem. Discrimination still exists institutionally. People with white sounding names are more likely to receive call back over black sounding names. I always thought that the police offers were really fair and never discriminated. I was wrong because they arrest people based on racial profiling. They have this preconceived notion of a certain race being more prone to crime than another. Like the Golf study, African American boys as young as ten were seen as much older and they were seen as almost criminals. I never knew that most drug dealers were Caucasians. This is because they aren’t seen as criminals, so they don’t get caught as easily as African Americans. White privilege is something that continues to be passed down from generation to generation. My point being, I had many preconceived notions about the world and how it worked, but now I can see the reality of things.

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  • Many of my views changed on race in contemporary society after taking this class.The first big mistake I was making was thinking that it was ok to say that racism will stop if we stop talking about it or ignoring it. I was rather ignorant before this class in the way that I believed racism wasn’t a big problem. Another thing that opened my eyes was the idea of white privilege. I had never realized just how privileged I was to be a white male and not have nay hardships. It opened my eyes to implicit bias and systemic racism affecting the lives of those due to the color of their skin. Without people even knowing my background, I am given certain benefits that others of color do not have. Something that I was unaware before taking this class was the injustice in the Restaurant Industry. Living in a nice town with mostly middle class, I did not see much poverty. I also was never very aware of the national problem of underpaid and mis treated Restaurant employees.This has taught me to be courteous and make sure to always tip at food establishments. It is very sad that people who serve us our food cannot even feed their own families. This class has encouraged me to support tipped workers bills. The fact that colored workers are paid less too made me realize my white privilege and lack of knowledge. I also learned the unearned advantages of institutional racism. Racism exists in institutions and systemic racism is very relevant today. The last thing I really took away from Comparative Ethnic Studies was the idea of Criminal Black Man. It is astonishing that people naturally have their implicit bias and racism and prejudice within them. The number of black youth is much too high and is a huge contemporary issue. The statistics also show that as the black man gets charged for more drug charges, whites are the more frequent users. This class overall has really encouraged me to make more of a difference in the world around me. Not just surrounding race, but anyone and anything that is being treated unfairly. I have a different respect for restaurant workers now and think it is important to spread awareness amongst my peers. I can now talk about the racial contemporary issues going on in todays society amongst others and can influence them to be more aware of what they are saying and claiming. I really enjoyed taking this class as it made me a better person to my peers and community.

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  • 1. How racism is institutionalized – Before this class I assumed we lived in a progressive post-civil rights era. Now I see how many of our social systems in our society such as health care and the housing industry are still very much effected by regulations from the past that were influenced by race. Things like redlining, the FHA, and white flight all contributed to segregated neighborhoods that we still see in present day.
    2. What you said vs. What you are conversations – This class have given racism a new context to me. As funny as this sounds, I never realized that white people and colored people talk and think about race differently because of how their lives have been affected by it. I used to think of racism and a single entity, that didn’t really change person to person. The video with Jay Smooth was simple yet important. When faced in a situation when someone is being racist, focus on what they said. This implies what they are without having to question who they are.
    3. U.S. Prison system and framing our conversation with numbers – I thought that this portion of the course was not only important to show the corruption surrounding the US prison systems, but to show those who don’t think racism is alive and well in our country the facts by numbers. The fact that drug users are associated with black people. The fact that the majority of prisoners are black and disproportionately represents the US population. This shows that the war on drugs needs to be reevaluated and raises questions about those we send to jail and why.
    4. White Privilege – A model, Cameron Russell, mentioned that the reason she got her job was because she won a genetic lottery and because of a legacy. Before I thought, yes, colored people are discriminated against. But I did not think about how things that are a part of our history (like the FHA) have worked in favor of whites for generations. One example that really stuck with me was an example of a young white male college graduate who was able to graduate without student loans because his parents made enough money to pay for his schooling. And maybe they were able to afford that because their house was passed down to them through his grandparents, letting his parents not have to worry about a place to live. And perhaps his grandparents were able to get that house from a loan through a bank that wouldn’t allow colored people to take out loans. Suddenly this college graduates accomplishments are shadowed by his white privilege. This is a situation I never thought of before taking this course.
    5. Restaurant Industry – I thought the restaurant industry was a great topic to ease the class into inequality in the workplace. However, I think it would be unfair to not mention the same challenges that are faced in the factory meat packing industry that are similar if not worse to those in the restaurant industry. Along with that we could add manual labor farm workers. I think inequality is equal if not greater in those industries. But in the restaurant industry alone, it is important to realize what the workers are going through, who is handling your food, and how tipping is a cost put on the consumer so restaurant don’t have to give their workers a fair wage.

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  • When I walked into the classroom, I thought that racism was almost completely abolished and that the stereotypes were only brought to mind when some told an insensitive joke. I was wrong. Throughout the semester I realized just how evident racism is in America, I just had blinders on. Racism can often be found in the workplace, especially if someone works in the restaurant business. When you enter a restaurant, often times the servers are predominantly white. If one were to take a look in the back of the house, where the food is cooked and the dishes are cleaned, this is most often not the case. Minorities are often stuck in lowly paying jobs and hardly ever advance. In the restaurant business they would most likely hold such positions as dishwasher or cook and would have most likely been there the longest. Racism can even be found when people of color are trying to get a job. If they have a name that is hard to pronounce, spell, or doesn’t simply sound “white,” they often won’t receive an interview. This racism feeds many of the stereotypes about minorities. Since they have such a hard time getting a job, they are often living in poverty. In the film, A Place at the Table a young woman named Barbie lived in this predicament. She was a single mother, with two kids, living off of food stamps because she couldn’t get a job. This just adds to the stereotype and she can’t help it, for it is an endless cycle. When she did get a job, she didn’t qualify for food stamps because even with her job, she didn’t always have enough money for food, leaving her even more helpless. This taught me how imperfect our country and our government is. In the film Behind the Kitchen Door they stressed how little a restaurant worker receives. For a tipped worker, the government says they should be paid $2.13 an hour. Granted, the government expects the tips the workers receive to make up the difference and if it doesn’t, for the restaurant to pay the difference, but this rarely happens. These workers also very rarely receive paid sick days or health care, causing them to work if they are ill because the risk of not working is too great of a sacrifice. I also learned what a food desert was and gained a new perspective of what a hungry person looks like. A Place at the Table showed a family in rural America that lives in poverty that often relies on food donations from the church to feed their family. This food often consisted of highly starchy foods that were not very nutritious, causing them to gain weight. This really changed my perspective of food and how much it costs. Learning about the racism, stereotypes, white privilege, poverty and the food industry and how the government plays a role has made me become more sensitive of other people’s lives and what they could be struggling with at home or at work. This course has also made me realize what I can do to help, even if it is something as simple as leaving my server a good tip.

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  • Prior to taking CES 101 I assumed a lot of things about race and thought very differently of it. There are a lot of things that I had no idea of and had no idea were even going on around me. I am hispanic and even though I grew up in a town where my race was the majority of the population whenever i traveled out of my town I would automatically become a noticeable minority. I’ve never been personally discriminated against by another person but I have been in situations where being hispanic has felt uncomfortable. I never really understood why but after discussions in lecture, class videos, the CES blog, and class readings I have a greater understanding of how race goes into play in our society.

    One idea that has changed throughout the course of the semester is how unfair the restarunt industry can actually be. Before I was really careless about the lives of the people who attended me and more about how their service was for me. But now I have learned about key factors that go into play in the restaurant industry. Forexample these waitress’s and waiters are getting paid less that minimum wage and that is completely normal/legal in the restaurant setting. Thats so unfair because these employees go through some terrible times during their shifts at times that they re not even being minimally paid for. It’s even more buzzard when 96% of these people who are being paid under minimum wage are people of color. This a huge inequality.

    Another Idea has been how blinded I was about how many people in the US are food insecure. 1 in 6 american don’t have enough to eat. These numbers are eye opening considering the fact there there are millions of people in the US. That’s a lot more than I would have imagined are food insecure in the US. Typically its the people who make less money who are food insecure but in class when we saw in the video that when barbie got a high praying job she became even more food insecure. The system is obviously very wrongly set up and we the people are the ones who end up having to deal with it.

    Something new that I learned that real SURPRISED me was that there is still a huge drug war going on in the US. And most of these people who are involved are people of color who lead really low class lives and are bellow the poverty line who are then seen by the law enforcement as stereo-typical threats to society, which is a tragedy because everyone who is of color isn’t bad or had bad intensions. That’s when I further also discovered how someones appearance can automatically label them as good or bad. And even then I further learned about white privilege and how white people have a lot of advantages and privileges in society that they automatically receive when they are born simply because they are white. While, as people of color when they are born are more or less automatically stereotyped as in a negative perspective and grow up with these labels with no choice or say in the way they are seen by society.

    Being brutally honest this has been the best class I have taken at WSU solemnly because it had opened up my eyes about a lot of things that go around us that for some reason society isn’t comfortable talking about on a normal day to day basis.

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  • Coming into this class, I was not particularly excited. I’m not typically a fan of classes that provoke deep thinking; I would much rather learn the facts about the subject matter as opposed to having to analyze everything that is being discussed. This class proved to be very interesting and engaging, as I often found myself even thinking about all of the things we learned and discussed throughout the day or when I went home with my family. First, I was completely unaware of how corrupt the food industry, and the numerous inequalities that waiters experienced with wages. I assumed before that it was law that all people were paid at least minimum wage, which was shocking to me to find out that in some areas workers get paid as low as $2.13, which require them to be dependent on tips to actually earn a living. Because of this, I am now always very conscious that I am tipping a good amount because it is not right that they are being cheated, and I am responsible for their funds. Secondly, I was extremely angered learning about how nutritionally insufficient meals are that are currently being served in schools. Because of the types of foods being subsidized, and the amount of money the government is allowed to spend, children are cheated and therefore have to eat meals that are not beneficial to the body. This is very upsetting because people can not expect the youth to be successful in school and later in life if they are not being properly fueled. Something I learned also that was even more frustrating was that when the government decide to add more money to the school lunch budget, they took it from the food stamp budget. This just creates a vicious cycle of Americans not being able to adequately provide nutritious food for themselves and their children because of the lack of funds. The fact that we are considered to be the most powerful country in the world, but rank so low in the amount of people facing food insecurities is highly discouraging. Beyond everything in the food industry, it was very interesting for me to be able to first hand hear and see how people perceive the police. From this class, many of the articles I read blamed the police for everything, and that they were the ones as the core problem of racism today. This truly gave me an outlook of how corrupt the media actually is when reporting news. Since I have been raised as the daughter of a police officer and around the police force for the entirety of my life, it was extremely frustrating to see how quick people were to accuse all police of being racists and corrupt. When I would voice these frustrations to my family, they gave me an altering perspective and made me consider how other people were raised, or how the media is just doing their job, and that not all people will truly understand. Finally, I have always been aware that racism is still present today, but this class made me realize how long it will be before any real progress will be made to creating a hate free, equal society. Racism is rooted in institutions and has been prevalent throughout history, so it will be much longer before any real, substantial change is made and actually secured. Overall, I found this class to be much more engaging and interesting than I originally assumed it would be, and I am very happy with all that I learned throughout this course!

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  • Coming into Comparative Ethic Studies I had no idea that the focus of this course would mainly focus on racism and inequality. As a citizen of the United States of America, I have been masked by the idea to believe that acts of racism and inequality do not exist today but throughout the course I was proved to be wrong. Aspects of racism and inequality that stood out compared to others was how privilege, the idea of meritocracy, media, and inequality in the restaurant industry. Throughout history, Caucasians have never truly experienced suffering; they have never been the victims of hate crimes, genocides, racist slang, inequality, and above other things and this results in this community of people to be privileged. For a person to say that racism does not exist anymore is what Comparative Ethnic Studies would call a privilege. By privilege I mean that for someone to be able to think there is no such thing as racism would have to result in them never experiencing it. It is a privilege to feel safe in the community you live in, it is a privilege to not feel judged or insecure based on the ethnic background you come from, it is a privilege to receive certain amends based off of the ethnic background that you come from. To be a minority though means that you are not handed these privileges, in fact, these privileges are the reason why minorities experience racism to this day. The fact that we even have to categorize people that live in the same country as a “minority” is an example that shows that racism still occurs. Meritocracy is commonly known as a person’s successes in life are determined distinctly on a person’s talents, abilities, and efforts rather than class, connections, ethnic background, and other ascribed characteristics. Although the United States of America would like to think of itself as the embodiment of meritocracy, but the factors are so wrapped up with one’s background that in some ways that these are how these factors are being measured. The question that this nation must ask themselves is whether or not the color of someone’s skin has the same rights to life as what is considered to be icon of America; privileged, successful, powerful American. We don’t really think about it but the media heavily influences how America portrays whites against minorities. For example, the news chooses what people educate themselves on and what they choose to inform the country on is a huge portion on minority crimes. Before taking this course I had no idea that racism and inequality still was present to this extent. Coming to learn that it was, it has really opened my eyes to these issues and makes me realize that people need to be more aware of this and move to make a difference.

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  • Entering the classroom I definitely had thoughts about race, racism, and stereotypes. Being a Hispanic I have witnessed and have even been told racist comments. Being in this class it has opened up my eyes to view broader things. The first thing in the class that I learned was majority of people are afraid to talk about race. I always thought I was one of the few that were afraid to talk about race. Many people think they will say the wrong thing, offend others, and the obvious be labeled as a “racist”, especially whites. But as we discussed in class it is okay to talk about race, we shouldn’t feel afraid to talk about it.
    I have always know there was such thing as white privilege but I never really payed much attention to it. It was not until we watched that video in class about the African American lady, and her friend who was white that went to the super market to pick up groceries. That was an excellent example of how whites use their privilege. Ever since that day I have began to notice it more and more. I can state that it is unfair and it not right but I come realize it is something that will never really change.
    I always thought colorblindness was a good thing, to see each other as all the same. But in this class I have come to learn colorblindness is not good, it is actually bad. Colorblindness will not make racism go away. We can not expect to fix racism if we pretend like it isn’t there, we need to be able to see it in order to acknowledge it. We need to be able to see that blacks will be accused of having a gun in their hand when it is something completely different, verses whites who could have the exact same thing but not accused of anything, another thing I learned about in our class discussions. It is sad to say that black children are taught to hold their hands up in the arm whenever a police officer approaches.
    A huge thing I learned in this class was about the food industry. I never realized how poorly servers were treated. I just typically assumed they got paid minimum wage, and then their tips on top of that. But from our readings and discussions severs don’t even make a living wage. 80% of servers have to live off of food stamps. When I attend restaurants I realize majority of them are white females but I never really thought anything of it. Now I learned that is the preferable front of the house worker, while many people of color have the back work such as cooks.
    I always thought we were making so much progress about racism and stereotypes but being in CES has made me realize it is still in our everyday lives.

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  • Heading into the class I had many assumptions. I figured I knew in what ways racisms could affect a person, I assumed simple effects such as fitting in with your peers, or depression, or you’re the ratio of minority arrested compared to whites. Through out this class there were many examples that explained racism can effect people in ways many people that one would normally not guess. Studies showed that racism can even effect a persons overall health. Learning facts such as this opened my mind to new ideas and the ways I perceived racism.

    Also coming into the class I believed racism has not been overlooked in its actual existence in the modern world. When the stats were presented I saw how untrue my belief was. For example Redlining, and how segregated we really are. Also the statistics of wages showed how just the color of ones skin alone can be enough to lower ones wage.

    I believed coming into the class in no way was I racist. But just because I say or believe that I am not a racist doesn’t necessarily mean I know for fact that this is true about me. An in class video showed a group of white kids vandalizing a car compared to a group of black kids doing the same. The people were asked what they would have done if the black kids had been white. People responded with “I would have reacted the same.” Cleary this was not true as people had different reactions to the two races. So maybe there are things that I believe to be true about me but I wouldn’t know tell I was put to the test. This caused me to do lots of self-reflecting and deep thinking about subconscious.

    I never realized that even he northwest history is plagued with racism. In class there was a map with a key that showed how many lynching there were in each state. Every state had their fair share. I was fast to conclude that the south was going to be the home to most if not all the lynchings.

    I used to be one to think that racism should just be ignored and was better off not spoken about. Now I think differently. Not all minds work the same and some people need the education. Not all people are born with or taught moral values. These are a couple things I had overlooked.

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  • Entering this course I thought I knew a little about race, racism, and inequality, but this course has encouraged me to push my learning further. Now I actually want to take more CES courses, and get more into the material. One thing that really stood out to me was white privilege. Coming from a very diverse community where whites are the minorities, I thought I was never exposed to white privilege. This course not only proved to me that white privilege does exist, but I was able to understand why it was so difficult for me to acknowledge privilege. I can honestly say the reason for why I didn’t acknowledge it was because it acknowledges impact of racism today. I did not like to think about racism and how I could be discriminated against, pre-judged, disliked, etc., simply because I am an African-American woman. I learned that not thinking/talking about it does not take away from the fact that it is our reality, discussions need to happen, it needs to be addressed and acknowledged.

    For as long as I remember I’ve been “the nicest black girl” one has ever met. I didn’t understand why I had to be the nice black girl, why couldn’t I just be a nice person. Back then I realized these were just some stereotypes. Now I understand not only how ignorant those people are but that because I did not fall into the overgeneralized belief “all black girls have attitudes,” I challenged this belief that characterizes all “black girls.” Dr. Fryberg believes that stereotypes exist in the world; not simply inside individuals minds, when I read this it reminded me that those views aren’t just someone’s individual views, this may be how the world views all African- American females. I do believe and now see now more than ever how stereotypes perpetuate inequality and maintain privilege.

    Reflecting on this course and everything that was presented to me, seeing how it impacts the world especially with everything that is going on today, really amazed me. Understanding racial profiling as well as the side effects of racial profiling, helped me understand the problems we are facing today. “Racial profiling is discriminatory practices by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on individuals race, ethnicity, religion, or national orgin,” this definition itself answered a lot of my questions regarding all the killings of African-American men. I feel like taking this course allowed me to actually understand what is going on in the world, it gave me more insight and knowledge regarding these issues.

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  • At the start of this semester I considered myself pretty racially aware. I have a few black friends, and I had an idea of how they felt about race and the way it is depicted in society. Last semester I made a new black friend who was uncomfortable hearing or saying the N word. This was honestly the first time I had, had to monitor my usage of the N word. My usage before was, I thought, innocent, joking with friends even black friends and singing to song lyrics. This was the first time I had to sensor myself singing along to popular music. However, the more time I spent with this person the more I became aware of what I was saying and how it made other people feel. It also made me feel uncomfortable to use the N word even when I wasn’t around this person. I feel like this class has had many of the same impacts on my attitude toward racism and has really continued to increase my awareness of race and racial slurs. Before this class I thought color blindness was a good thing. I thought it was ok to consider myself the same as my black friends and my black friends the same as me. After this class I realize that is not the case. It is not okay to act as if blacks and whites are on even playing fields. Yes, black people should have the same rights and opportunities to success as white people but considering our countries history, simply opening up the doors to white institution is not enough because our institutions have failed in creating equality. White privilege and racism is already “locked in” to our institutions, which is why our country needs to strive for equity among races rather than equality. A white person’s path to success is practically paved while for many minorities the path to success is rocky, like the picture we analyzed in class that depicted the obstacles that are present between minorities and success or the “finish line”. To fix this we need to first open up the conversation of race and stop acting as though racism is not affecting people of present day. Through our discussion about the restaurant industry, and the videos we watched demonstrating people’s awareness towards white crime vs black crime, I have become more informed about how present racism still is. The slam poem about the father trying to explain to his son that he can trust the police but knowing that that isn’t always the case, really made me think about how “locked in” racism is. Many law abiding black people still fear the police and have to teach their kids the same. As this continues through generations the disparity between black people and figures of authority will continue to exist. The only way to fix the issue of racism is to address it and open the conversation so a solution can be reached.

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  • Coming from a town that is heavily Mexican-White, I was very unaware of the racism that still exists today. A big example of this is institutionalized racism. Early on in the semester we learned about the unfair housing policies that allowed African Americans be targets of high interest rates on loans (redlining) to non-white neighborhoods having low estate values. A more contemporary example of this issue was shown in a video featuring Jose Zamora and his job applications. He received no callbacks but as soon as he changed his name to “Joe,” employers did not hesitate to reach out to him. This all caught me by surprise because I was clueless and pretty much agreed that we lived in a post-racism era. I only knew some historical examples that I learned in high school. This class helped me become more aware that it still exists today. Stereotypes also enforce racism; they create self-fulfilling prophecies that affect individuals in ways that are dehumanizing. Hearing students share their stories of personal experiences really opened my eyes. My town seemed pretty discriminatory-free; I’ve had no encounters with racists before (that I remember at least). The restaurant unit also caught me off guard because I never knew how flawed the industry was. There are workers who receive $2.13 minimum wage and have to rely on tips to survive. They also can’t afford to take days off because they receive no sick leave, their managers insist on working while sick, and they aren’t medically covered by their employers. On top of that, many face discrimination; statistics have shown that African Americans receive less tips amount than whites. From the online articles, I learned about the restaurant chef who referred Asians as “shit people,” I can only imagine there are countless cases of racism behind closed doors that we never hear about. Lastly, the unit on food insecurity also displayed to us flaws in our own government. To “improve” school lunches, money was taken away from the food stamp programs. Families who strongly depend on government assistance to feed themselves and their families couldn’t provide nutritious food. Consequences of this were shown in the video with kids heavily favoring sodas and chips over fruits and vegetables, parents also sometimes had to choose skipping meals so their kids can eat. I don’t know every issue in depth but I sure know there are ways ordinary people get screwed over by the government or institutions, or are unfairly discriminated by their color of their skin. Minorities face heavy burdens in when facing authorities. Their sentences are often heavier and are targets to stop-and-frisk procedures. Also, in class lecture, we were shown the effect race has when a white individual and an African American individual “attempted” to break into a car. No one suspected the white man to be a “criminal” and several bystanders didn’t pay much attention. The other man however, was questioned within a couple minutes. This is just an example of how racism still runs strong in everyday life. Overall, I’d describe this class as a real eye-opener for those who aren’t aware how race plays effect in everyday life.

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  • I have grown up learning about how the world used to be and the history behind racism. Going in to the classroom, I was already aware of racism, inequalities and white privilege because I have seen it through my own life. I was raised in South Seattle, where you are going to find African Americans, Hispanics and Asians almost everywhere. My high school was filled with kids of color that were on free and reduced lunch, food stamps and mainly part of the lower class. Growing up as an Asian American, I am often confused for an Asian immigrant or expected to be a very intelligent individual who maintains a 4.0 GPA.

    I now realize that although racism has changed and decreased a lot since slavery, racism is still real and in our everyday lives. African American children are being taught to raise their hands after seeing or interacting with an officer, how most police officers will shoot at an unarmed Black male than at a White armed male, and just by changing your name to a “White” sounding name it increases your chances of getting a job/interview.

    One of the things that we learned in class that stuck out to me was racism in the restaurant industry. In fact, I never realized that there were mostly White people in the front of the house and minorities in the kitchen. Due to the fact that my family was never struggling to get by, I was unaware of how food benefits and food insecurity were all tied together. There are families that are getting paid less than minimum wage and those working in the restaurant industry are getting paid $2.13 minimum wage because they are expected to earn the rest back through tips. Watching Barbie’s life through “A Place at the Table”, I was exposed to food stamps and how even though you have a full-time paying job, you can still be food insecure because your food benefits are taken away.

    I used to dismiss any connection between being hungry and being obese. I often looked at others that are obese as those that should just stop eating so much, but in fact the foods they eat is all they can afford. I always saw those being food insecure as skin and bone that are legitimately starving but there are so many people that I probably see everyday that have not had a full meal.

    This class has taught me many things and a lot of the course concepts I will apply to my own life. I have now opened my eyes to everyday situations that are connected to racism that I never realized before. I have learned how to face and acknowledge racism because it needs to happen in order to fix the problem of racism and inequality.

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  • At the beginning of this fall semester I entered this CES class with a wide variety of assumptions as well as thoughts about the topic of race in contemporary society; because after all what else is more logical than the fabrications of your own mind when you don’t know much about the topic at hand. When it comes to the topic of race in contemporary society there are a plethora of things that one can almost instantaneously give recognition to. At the forefront of those many things that can be recognized is the reality that we live in a society where the character of any man or woman is prejudged based upon the color of his or her skin and the prejudice stereotypes associated with it. The idea of white privilege is no new topic to anyone. We have all seen it, heard it or experienced it in some way or another. But it is not until you truly dive into the statistics of incarceration rates and arrest rates and stop and frisk rates and every rate concerning criminal activity you can possibly imagine that we come to recognize how large of a privilege it actually is. This class has helped me to break the barrier and step out of an egocentric point of view on race and into others shoes to better understand truly how different life is based upon one’s skin color and centuries of prejudice views and treatment. I now possess a greater understanding of not only what it would be like to walk around essentially with a target painted on your back, but also what it is like to walk around without one. It is also a real eye opener to see how many aspects of life the subject of race effects in contemporary society. Whether it be in the work place or real estate market or rates of poverty and food stamps there is always so much adversity to be overcome. It was also interesting to see how such things as poverty rates and the number of people on food stamps and who they were through the video on food insecurity. It’s good that light is being shed upon all the different kinds of people that such things as food insecurity and poverty effect. If we want to fully understand what is going on and how we can solve it we need to understand what has been going on and what has been insufficient in solving the problem thus far

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  • When I first entered this class, I honestly thought it would be boring. Seeing that the course was called “Introduction to Ethnic Studies,” I was expecting this class to be filled with useless facts that I won’t ever need or use after this course. But after listening to the very first lecture, I could say that my opinion of this class has changed for the better. I’ve always been interested in ethnic researches but I had no idea how much racism still existed in this world today. I learned so much about stereotypes, food insecurity, privilege, wages and injustices to minorities. Something that this class was repetitive about was the talk of law enforcement and how police officers are more likely target blacks minorities. An example of that is how white women are usually the ones that are easily able to get out of tickets and what not.

    The inequalities, food insecurity, war on drugs, etc that we learned in this class was such an eye opener. The fact that racism and unequal gender wages is as strong today as it was hundreds of years ago is greatly horrifying. After this class, I feel like I have an astonishingly clearer view of the world. I find myself actually wanting to obtain facts in order to look at situations as a whole.

    Race, being a biological myth, has made me wonder about many aspects of how people think. It’s amazing how people judge others just because of the way they look (like how 40% of waiters automatically don’t think that black people will tip so they offer poor service.) Race is the one thing people could automatically judge you on, without you even opening your mouth.
    I learned that racism is still alive as ever in today’s world. Though it’s a disgusting thought, it opened my eyes that people do, in fact, participate in on back door racism. And it’s their personal choice.
    Inequality itself has always just been here: whether it’s between genders, races, etc. I knew this from the start. But the details and examples that I’ve learned in this class are so interesting. I’m now aware of institutionalized racism in many different places (including the government.) It’s obvious that we can’t continue to judge people based on their differences. I think that people should take a deeper look within themselves before they judge others. This class has got me interested in possibly obtaining a minor in comparative ethnic studies, and for that, I am grateful.

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  • Coming into this class I knew about race, racism, stereotypes, and inequality just from stuff you see in the news and social media, but after learning so much about these topics in this class I can say my eyes have been opened and I know see the reality that some minorities face on a day to day basis.
    One thing that I found interesting was the lecture about privilege. I had never thought of the privilege one attains just by the way they look and who their parents are, and the analogy to privilege being an invisible knapsack was a good way of describing the whole concept. The video that we saw portraying a track and field race was also another good example of showing the concept of privilege taking place.
    Colorblindness was a concept I had never heard about and I think that’s because of the colorblind type of social media the US news has widely adopted by not discussing racial issues and ignoring these problems. A sort of “out of sight out of mind” type mentality, and I’ll be honest this describes how I thought about matter involving race; I had always thought it was better to just not talk about it. But I now know that, that is not the way to going about resolving racial matters in the US.
    A big eye opener was learning about the restaurant industry and how employers treat their employees. I was honestly shocked to learn that the minimum wage for tipped workers was only about $2.2o, absolutely baffled that people are living off such ridiculously low wages. And to my surprise our very own government is responsible for keeping these wages so low, and not only are they low they have remained unchanged since the 80’s. I was also surprised to learn the rates of sexual assault in these work places are significantly high, and in most cases the victim can do nothing because they fear for their job.
    I did not think that hunger was as big of a problem that it actually is in the US. I don’t exactly remember the numbers but I think it’s something like 1 out of 4 kids goes to sleep hungry every day in the US and that is absolutely unnecessary. With the resources and capital the US government has we could end hunger in the US within a month, but due to mismanagement of government food programs and welfare the problem persists.
    Also I was shocked to learn that only $5 is spent on a child’s school lunch for a week, I couldn’t believe that. I spend $5 on my lunch every day, if I can afford that our government can certainly afford that as well. We really need to start being more conscious about what we’re feeding our kids in school five days out of the week.
    All in all this class has been very interesting and informative, I can genuinely say I enjoy the class and lectures, the topics were always very engaging and I learned a lot.

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  • Going into this class I did not expect to learn anything different about racism and issues regarding race. I think one of the most interesting things I learned about was how sports teams have names that are racially offending. I never took into any mind that there was a team name “Redskins” or the “Chiefs”. After going over this topic I now realize how offending it is to have a mascot be a misrepresentation of a race. It would be very offending to have a team name and mascot known as “Whites” with blonde hair and blue eyes, yet there is still the Redskins. Another interesting thing I learned while taking this course was how the restaurant industry has issues regarding race and wages. I knew that there a lot of minorities that work in the restaurant industry but I had no idea to the extent of this. I also never knew that workers who received tips were receiving less than minimum wage, as low as two dollars. This is mind blowing especially when the government makes it very hard to be within the guidelines to receive financial aid. The next topic that was very interesting to me to talk about and analyze was white privilege in society. I knew that this privilege was still present in today’s world but I had no idea to the extent. There was a video clip we watched in class regarding this privilege and how her white sister witnessed a cashier be racist to the black woman while she was trying to pay. It was her own sister that had to step in and make it noticed that she was treating her sister of color unfairly compared to how she had just treated her while she was in line. This shows that although privilege is not a positive part of society, there are positive ways to use this privilege to help others. I also liked learning about the term “black criminal man”. In news and in tv shows it is evident that police will target black youth as the criminals. I was astonished that there was an actual term that explained the linkage people put between African Americans and a criminal. It is sad that this is so pervasive that there is a term to describe it. This class has made me realize that there are many social discrepancies that are present in modern day society. One of the more sad things to learn about was food insecurity and how there are millions of people who have no idea where their next meal is going to come from and how they are going to pay for it. This made me realize how lucky I am to decide that I want to go buy some junk food just because when there are people who haven’t eaten all day and probably won’t eat. Learning about racism, inequality, inequity, privilege and everything that pertains to the unequal treatment in the U.S made me wish that more people were aware and conscious of the issues at hand.

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  • This class opened my eyes and expanded my thinking in many ways. I had previously taken a few sociology and psychology courses so I had been exposed to a few of the concepts presented in this course. This class opened my eyes to the struggles and hardships that millions of people face in their everyday lives. I am a white male and have been a dishwasher for the past year. After learning about the struggles that so many restaurant workers go through, like unfair wages, sexual harassment, and unfair working conditions I feel extremely blessed to have had the working experience that I did. I earned sixteen dollars an hour including tips and always got payed on time and the amount I deserved, I cannot stress how grateful I felt after learning about the conditions of other restaurant workers. Another thing I became aware of is how privilege is not class based but race based. Before coming to college I attended a racially diverse high school; 50% white, 20% black, 15% Asian, and around 15% pacific islander. Having this experience in high school taught me to accept all races and cultures and not stereotype someone before getting to know them. However, after this course I learned that I had been categorizing minorities into a lower class than myself just based of what they looked like. Now I have learned that stereotyping like that is only reinforcing the idea of different classes based on race. Another important concept I learned is that poverty is treated a lot like race; our ideas of how to combat issues of poverty and race are reinforced through stereotypes. “A place at the table” explained how areas of low income correlate with obesity because the only food that they can afford is junk food with high sugars and fats. The stereotype present here is that if your impoverished then you cant afford food, but in reality the only food you can afford makes you fat. When thinking about how race is defined in society, stereotypes are reinforced through the media. Television and movies reinforce ideas about how different races are seen by society. As seen in the documentary we watched in class about a group of white kids beating up a car compared to a group of black kids beating up a car; more strangers approached the black kids compared to the white kids. Further enforcing black stereotypes was the fact that a man called the cops on black people sleeping in the car. Ive learned that stereotypes that Ive learned in my life have been taught to me, I was not born with stereotypes, society has taught me them. One of the greatest aspects of taking this class is that I can now talk openly about how I feel about race. Before the class I was passive and didnt really want to talk about how I saw race as a product of our society. Now I have knowledge of how issues of race, racism and inequalities are preset in all of our lives and that you dont have to be a minority to speak against them.

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  • Before taking this class I never thought about race or racism that much. Being a white male I feel like I was never exposed to racism growing up and I didn’t know the effect it had on some people. I feel like many other kids had experiences throughout their childhood where they were blind top this racism and this class was the first time my eyes were opened up to how racist and unfair the world can be. It was very interesting to learn about all the particular statistics and facts about racism but some things I found very interesting in this class. First, was the video about the kids in the park. I found it amazing that when the white kids were vandalizing the car no one called the cops and very few even stopped to say something. Meanwhile the only call to the police was one about 3 black kids sleeping in a car with no affiliation to the vandalism. This was the first time I realized stuff like this does happen. I always thought it was exaggerated when I heard stories of instances like this, but to actually see it really opened up eyes. Also, I never realized food hunger or food scarcity in my life as well so I thought it was very interesting to learn about this. I always just thought that hunger issues only existed in other countries such as how they are portrayed in the media. Now I know how relevant this problem was in our own country until taking this course. We learned about adults with full-time jobs who have to feed kids but can’t even afford the meals to buy them, which I thought I was really sad. I never thought about this before. These parents struggle just too provide unhealthy foods top their children which leads to obesity and there is nothing they can do to help it. Also, we learned about how just by having a name that sounds foreign can decrease your chances of just getting a job interview. This really blew my mind as well. I thought taking this class really opened up my mind to racism and how prevalent it is around us. I will now be more aware and grateful for the life I live. Without taking this class I would still be very naïve about what really happens in our world and how people. can be put at a disadvantage just because of their race or background.

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  • Although the term “race” is so popular among societies and individuals, this course has demonstrated a lot of facts about race that were absent in our thoughts and believes. Some of my preconceived thoughts came right and others were wrong. But that is not the really matter because our knowledge limitation regarding race and racism was the real case here. This course helped extending my whole understanding of race and racism to the point at which I can clearly recognize racism activities among communities. I think the preconceived knowledge of most classmates was concentrated in small theme of race, and we were introduced to a larger theme of race. Most of the new knowledge we learned from this course was about the social interactions that unexpectedly have racism elements in them. This fact makes such a course very important to everybody to get engaged to, especially those who think such a contemporary society of the US is fairly clean off racism.

    First surprising and shocking fact regarding racism forms, was extension of racism-based institutions that encourage “dominant races” to improve significantly among others and obstruct those other races from keeping up. Good examples to mention are redlining effect, 1970 Naturalization, and Social Security Act, which helped growing race-based privilege. As the term “privilege” was just mentioned, many people, especially people from dominant communities, think that privilege is an old issue that is no longer existed in the contemporary world. Personally, I used to believe it still exists but almost insignificantly. But after I learned that all of the traffic violations in Ferguson African-Americans were involved in 80% of them, I knew that privilege still takes place in our society. Another form of racism regarding systems is food industrial.

    Another problem I did not expect to exist here in the US was hunger and food insecurity. I think most of students thought about hunger exist in third-world countries only. But after watching the related documentary, I was surprised that many parents struggle in offering enough, healthy, and divert food to themselves and their children. Consequently and because of fast food low costs, some children are so dependent on some desert and junk food instead of some healthy and divert food, which contributes significantly to increase the rate of obesity in the country. In addition, learning about racism elements in food industry was a shocking and unpleasant fact to hear. It is sad to hear about the different forms of abuse restaurant workers in general, and people of color in specific face whether the low wages, sexual harassment, or costumers inappropriate ways of treatment.

    Learning about different terms regarding racism such as stereotype, inequality, sexism, and discrimination help improving my knowledge in this matter. It also makes me think of my behaviors towards other people from different culture and race. I believe that this course helps improving safe and good communications between students.

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  • Coming into this class I honestly had no idea what to expect, I just wanted to take it so I could get my diversity credit for my major. Yes, I knew it was about race and being a white female that’s not always my favorite topic but the uncomfortable feeling during the first week that I felt in the class startled me and had myself questioning why am I so uncomfortable? Throughout the course I realized it was because I never looked, studied, or discussed race in this kind of way before. In classes prior we talked about race like it was history long ago and growing up with friends and a community of different ethnicity’s I always avoided any discussion about race because I concluded it was over and I didn’t want to offend anyone. This class opened my eyes and gave me different perspectives on many topics.
    One thing I learned was the history of racism in a different way. For example, I didn’t know about redlining and that white families would move to just be in a all white community. Also, was how statistically prevalent white privilege and racial profiling is in our country. 80-90% of people stopped and frisked in New York are either black or Latino. In a 20/20 video we watched in class, they had a group of white teenagers damaging a car in the park and later had a group of black teens performing the same crime. The difference of responses and calls to the police for the black teenagers compared to the white teenagers was shocking. Another topic we went over was the restaurant industry. This was the most shocking topic for me because I had no clue what the service industry was really like and the problems that go with it. Racial discrimination in restaurants is prevalent with making people of ethnicity work in the back, making people work while their sick, and not paying them for the all the hours they were working. And the federal minimum wage is only $2.13 for tipped workers. Lastly, this class gave me a different perspective on the definition of hunger and the issue it is in today’s society. 1 in 6 Americans don’t have enough to eat and 30% of US families are food insecure.
    With every new topic brought up in class throughout the semester, it always started with “many people think…when reality is…” and I have to admit I was one of those many people in the beginning of the fall. That is why I am happy to have taken this course so I can have a different view on may topics like racism, privilege, racial profiling, service industry, and food hunger.

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