April 3, 2008

Journal 1

On March 13, 2008 we discussed “The Matter of Whiteness�, “Failing to See�, and “Representations of Whiteness in the Black Imagination�. These all have a common thread of discussing race and ethnicity and how they tie into life. The two readings that I will write about are the “Matter of Whiteness� and Falling to See�. “The Matter of Whiteness� is one that dives into the perception of whiteness equaling humanity. Richard Dyer the author of “The Matter of Whiteness� wrote on how in many situations race is mentioned unless the person is white. The class debated this point saying that maybe in regular speech; but not so much in literature is race not mentioned if the person is white. Most assume that the people portrayed in the literature are of the same race as the author. It was also suggested in class that white people are more conscious of other races; though other races are believed to refer to race more often than their white counterparts. In the “Falling to See� by Harlon Dalton race and ethnicity are discussed. The major issue discussed by the class with “Falling to See� is the statement that ethnicity would exist even if there were no other ethnicities. Whereas with a contrast to ethnicity, race you need more than one race for race to exist. “Moreover, race it self would be meaningless if it were not a fault line along which power, prestige, and respect are distributed.� Also in “Falling to See� there was a concern on how different races relate to their ethnicities. Particularly the black non-Hispanic race in America, in how they/we identify our race from our culture. Black is a race not an ethnicity but to some black defines booth race and ethnicity.

I personally feel as though in today’s society we try not to see race as a factor but it is a factor. Race is similar to gender in the way that people want to know how you are classified. Which box do you belong to is a question we try not to think about but it is always there in the back of are minds. As seen with “The Matter of Whiteness� it is believed that to some whiteness equals humanity. When a person is not white it seems as though their race is focused more on. As a minority I feel as though my race proceeds all of my other characterizes. This can be because my race is what one sees first. My race does proceed all of my other characterizes because it is something I can not hide, it is clearly there and definable. That could be why it is the one judge on the most. I wonder if others feel as if their race defines them before they can even open their mouth? Whites are portrayed in “The matter of Whiteness� as being oblivious to their race. They can do that because “as long as race is something only applied to non-whites peoples, as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as a human norm.�

According to Dyer being white is not addressed as often as other races making whiteness invisible, dominant. If this is so those who are white do not have to deal with bad connotations of race? Race means nothing because their race is what is seen as humanity? Do they do not have to deal with all the baggage associated with race because their race is perceived to be the human race? This could be why some white people become defensive when mentioning their race. They feel as though there race has no bearing on their actions. Whereas I feel as though my race is a huge contributor to my actions; I feel as if there are rules that are associated with my race. Most of those rules are bad stereotypes. I feel a heavy weight form my race and I wonder if other feel the same. I wonder if I would feel this weight if I were apart of the majority is it easier to breathe when you are apart of the majority. These are all the thoughts I had when reading “The Matter of Whiteness� but my feeling and thoughts changed as I went to the next reading. It is odd how from day to day article to article my opinion can change. A question that I am personally baffled on is how to distinguish my race from ethnicity.

The question of race is one that is only skin deep ethnicity on the other hand is ones culture and traditions. Race needs another race to be seen but ethnicity stands alone. I agree with this statement. Sometimes race is confused with ethnicity; an example would be as a mentioned before the African American community. I do not feel as if I should say I am African American. I have no ties to the continent of Africa I know little to nothing about it. Why should I say African it does not in my opinion describe me. Although I am quick to disregard the African part of African American older generations fought so hard to be described as African American. There is a clash between the generations over the description. With this I can only think that if we as a group can not identify ourselves what message does that send. Another example mentioned in class was Native Americans and how they are at times seen as race and ethnicity. Native American is a broad term. There are many tribes that make up the race of Native American each having its own ethnicities. Ethnicity is grounded in our way of life in what we do, eat, our traditions, and culture. With each article I became more confused on how I feel about the topics discussed. Each one is complex and can be viewed from multiply sides.
Word Count: 900