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Race Exhibit

For my scholarly event I attended the Minnesota Science Museum Race Exhibit. When I was there, I noticed a few specific portions of the exhibit that I was really taken back by. I never realized how much I personally have created racial images and stereotypes in my own mind. I also was able to experience firsthand the amount of privilege I have as a white male. There was a wall full of pictures of people from various ethnic backgrounds, and I tried to determine what background each came from before I looked at where they really came from, and I was wrong with nearly every single one. I thought that I had a pretty good sense of where peoples’ ancestry lied based on how they looked. I was very surprised at how little I actually knew.

The second part of the exhibit that made me realize the kinds of stereotypes that I had created in my mind was a display that had pictures of twelve different people, and then it had them each say a phrase. For example, someone had a strong Australian accent, and there were pictures of blonde men as well as black, Hispanic, and Indian men. I immediately picked the blonde man out of the group as having the voice who said the phrase. The person who actually said it was black. I got only two out of six of each of the men and women within this display correct. Again I was shocked at the images and stereotypes that I have built up in my mind.

The final portion of the exhibit that left a glaring image in my mind was a portion that brought out discrepancies in healthcare and insurance and education between different races. I was standing in front of a screen that was flipping to a new page periodically and showing statistics based on some of these different aspects of systems that exist in America. As I was standing there, I was next to an African-American couple. As each new page appeared I saw myself as a white male at the top of every list, and the couple next to me was saying, “oh look, we’re at the bottom of the list again.? I was at the top of the list of who is least likely to not have health insurance, who has the highest life expectancy, who makes the most money, who has the highest scores on standardized tests. In every category I was at the top and the couple next to me was at the bottom. As I stood there, I couldn’t help but feel the amount of privilege that I was able to experience as a white male. I left the exhibit feeling somewhat bad about who I was. I know it is ridiculous, but I felt like I was somehow responsible for and I felt bad for being privileged. The exhibit really gave me a glaring example of how minorities in this country really feel on a day to day basis. In that moment in front of the screen with the statistics, I was the minority and I felt as though everyone was looking at me for a reaction. I had none. I just shook my head and walked away.

As a business and finance student the final portion of the exhibit that I noticed was the financial condition of families and people of different races. There were stacks of dollars that showed the net worth of Hispanic, black and white families…