Identity, Awareness, and Change

Last semester, I took an introduction to anthropology course because I thought it would be interesting to learn about other cultures and societies. This class taught me many valuable concepts, but one word that stuck out to me was the word, positionality. Positionality refers to how anthropologists define their background and how their identities influence their research. I found this quite interesting, because it made me examine who I am and where I fit in the big picture of society and race relations. I am a Chinese American, adopted when I was 16 months old by a white couple living … Read more…

Racism Recorded

I had very little concern about recording our podcast for the class. I didn’t foresee any problems talking with my classmates about race. I usually feel pretty comfortable in class, so I didn’t see why the podcast would be any different. Then, the day came for us to record. We sat down in the little room, put the microphone out, hit record, and everything changed. Suddenly, I became hyperaware of the fact that I was being recorded. My views, opinions, and thoughts whether they were right, wrong, insightful, or downright offensive were going to be captured, and it was terrifying. … Read more…

Can a White Person be a Good Ally?

After stumbling upon Macklemore’s “White Privilege II,” I was excited to hear what he had to say. It felt like a direct application of the concepts that we had been learning in Contemporary Racism. The song directly references protest slogans from the Black Lives Matter Movement, police brutality, the double standard of hip-hop, and (of course) white privilege. He goes as far as to call himself out for the base of his fame from—and the history surrounding—cultural appropriation of Black music. Hell, he even goes as far as to include a Black artist, so that must mean he is doing … Read more…

The Complications of Hard Work and Privilege

Something that has been on my mind recently is the idea of the myth of meritocracy. The myth of meritocracy is the popular American notion that if you work hard you will succeed. This myth, however, does not take into account the fact that it is easier for some people to succeed over others because of privileges they have in terms of their social identities. I struggled making sense of this concept at first for personal reasons. My dad is an example of someone who has had to work immensely hard to get where he is today. As a child, … Read more…

Fostering Racism

For our final project for Contemporary Racism, we were placed into groups, asked to pick an interesting topic concerning race, do individual research, and record a podcast with our group. My group chose to look at racial disparities in the American foster care system, a subject about which I had no prior knowledge. At first, I was uneasy about choosing a topic that I knew nothing about, feeling as if my unfamiliarity would provide me with some sort of handicap.  However, in retrospect, the experience was a very appropriate way to conclude my time in Contemporary Racism; it allowed me … Read more…

Which one is better?

For my final blog post I decided to revisit the question that kind of stuck with me during our last class. I don’t remember the question exactly but it essentially said: isn’t bad media representation better than none because it is a start? I sort of answered it in class, but I was still struggling after. And I still, sort of, am struggling with it now. So I’m determined to find an answer by the end of this blog post. My gut reaction was “no,” but then I thought that, although bad representation was obviously bad, at least actors of … Read more…