Reflect on your own racial identity. Are there any experiences that you related to in the videos above? The white folks reflecting on conversations about race shared ideas that I myself have often felt. I have never, ever in my life felt a situation where I was clear that there was "permission" to talk about race. It's an unwritten rule; just talking about it seems to put you at risk for being called racist, which is wholly absurd. If we can't have dialogue, how do we hear each other and learn to work together? "Safe spaces" to discuss race have not felt safe to me; the Equity Training Series that I took at my workplace gave me wonderful opportunities to listen, and I am grateful for the stories that were shared with me, and I am humbled that I was trusted enough by my POC colleagues to share them with me. I still did not feel that I could comment; I felt that sharing my perspective, even asking a question or making an observation, would be focusing attention on myself, which I did not want to do. So even after the Equity Training Series, I have had zero opportunity to talk about race. I have questions and want to share perspectives, but I do not see any appropriate places to do it. So the cycle continues. Think about some of the discussion in the videos centered around colorism and privilege. In the racial group that you identify with, has the societal favoring of light colored skin ever impacted you? Were there any experiences from racial groups you don't belong to that surprised you, or that you had never considered before? I did not spend a lot of time thinking about my whiteness until about 10 years ago. My ESL student came to me and complimented me on my new hairstyle, and I said that I was trying to return to my natural color (brown). She expressed shock; she had assumed that my natural color was blond because she thought all Americans were blond. I started being more acutely aware of how everything I do in the classroom represents a standard that my students think they are held to. That started my awareness of my privilege. There are other things that the videos showed that I recall friends and colleagues sharing: Asians hearing "where are you REALLY from?" (which I was shocked to hear until I heard it over and over again) and my Black friends telling me about how old they were when they first got "the Talk" (about racial profiling by police and authorities and how to behave). The people in the videos expressed things that horrified and sickened me further; I hate that the US system of managing Native tribes and tribal lands requires the blood quantum measurement; it is disgusting and demeaning and only serves to divide and illegitimize Native folks. I hate that Asians get lumped into the only two ethnicities that most unaware whites know (Chinese and Japanese) and I see issues with it at my college when I try to bring up inequities faced by our Burmese, Lao, Vietnamese and Indonesian students. In fact, the whole ethnicity categories that students are made to check upon enrollment into the college promote a false sense of who our students are and further marginalizes them through misidentification and unnuanced services for certain populations. It's all constructed based on funding and how those funds are, or aren't-but-should-be, directed.
All of this makes me angry that it will not get solved in my lifetime, and I realize I need to work harder to effect lasting change whil I am on this earth.