Racism in aisle ’14

Since I have been in this class, it is amazing to me how many things I see on social media sites that relate to everything we are talking about in class.  This week I was browsing my Facebook news feed and I saw two posts, one after another, that completely shocked me.  A woman, that goes to Muhlenberg, had a post that explained a recent experience with racism.

Her post stated:

“So I went to my local grocery store and the lady at the register looked at me and said ‘You’re Chinese aren’t you?’ I replied ‘Yes’ and she said ‘You weren’t born here, were you?’ And I replied ‘No’ and she looked at me and said ‘Go back to where you came from.’ Looks like I won’t be shopping there for a while…”

I was completely taken off guard when I saw this post, and I truly couldn’t believe that someone would have such nerve, as to say this to a young woman. So far in this class we have mainly focused on oppression of African Americans, but I think it is really important to share the impact that racism has on other minority groups today.

We have been talking about aversive racism a lot in class, because this is currently a more common type of racism in our society.  Aversive racism refers to having racist or negative evaluations of minority groups, but it is expressed in a more ambivalent way.  Aversive racists usually deny their racist behaviors and blame it on some other reason. I believe this post displays an example of more overt racism, demonstrating an outward dislike or discrimination against a minority group. How do you think this grocery store should deal with their racist employee? What could the young woman have said to the employee to make her see the error of her ways?

Another post that I saw on Facebook related back to the Trayvon Martin case, except this picture compares Martin to another 17 year old white boy who was shot and killed the same way as Martin, except his story never made national news.  Why do you think that the Martin case made national news, but the case of Marley Lion’s murder was never broadcasted? What is the difference between the two stories?


3 thoughts on “Racism in aisle ’14”

  1. I agree, it’s important for us as a class to remember that explicit racism does exist and happens all the times to people of a variety of racial and ethnic groups. This specific case of prejudice against a Chinese girl is also a good example of the way American identity is seen as white, or white normativity. I think we’re all familiar with such attacks on immigrants, though they tend to be aimed toward Hispanics. I hope we can all easily see the absurdity of a white American telling an immigrant to “Go back to where you came from.” The United States is a nation of immigrants, yet American identity is nevertheless constructed as being white and European.

  2. I also saw posts on Facebook about the Marley Lion case. It was frustrating to me that the two cases were even compared – as Emily points out, the facts of the case are very different. Additionally, the racial motivation behind Trayvon Martin’s murder is what makes it so important to talk about. I do not mean to say that Lion’s murder was insignificant – any loss of life matters. However, to make national news, stories are generally more pertinent to our nation as a whole, like the Trayvon Martin case was.

  3. Hi Chelsey,

    I looked up the Marley Lion case and found significant differences from the Trayvon Martin case. According to several news website, Lion was a victim of a botched robbery attempt outside of a bar. There were multiple persons who witnessed the events. Unlike Martin, Lion was not being pursued by someone who thought he was doing something wrong. I think the Martin case evokes so much emotion and drama from the media because a Black kid who wasn’t doing anything wrong was murdered by someone who assumed he was a troublemaker. This case doesn’t appear racially motivated, so it probably won’t get as much attention. It’s sad that when a tragedy happens it isn’t necessarily acknowledged by the media. I think the Martin case got so much press because of the racial overtones, which the media likes because it allows for a lot of debate and emotions and therefore high viewing rates.

    Here are some links to online news articles about the case: http://www.abcnews4.com/category/243360/marley-lion

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