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Seeing More Than Black and White Essay

Critical Reaction to Readings for Week 4 October 1, 2013:
I am writing my critical reaction journal based on my readings in regards to a two writings titled, “Seeing More Than Black and White” by Elizabeth Martinez (1998) in “Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology,” [edited by] Margaret L Andersen; Patricia Hill Collins, 2013, (8th Edition ed., pp. 85-90) and “Color-Blind Privilege” by Charles A. Gallagher (2003) in “Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology,” [edited by] Margaret L Andersen; Patricia Hill Collins, 2013, (8th Edition ed., pp. 91-95).

In Martinez’s writing, I do not agree with her. I do not like her tone, her calling names, calling names that don’t fit everyone or all White people, classifying all Whites in one group. She is just being very disrespectful. In my opinion, everything she writes about is just to provoke people. The world is facing enough challenging times; we don’t need writers like her going around and enticing people.

Martinez (1998) says that we do not need to continually try to see which race, culture, or gender is worse off or more oppressed. She says that these points alone are keeping these injustices more oppressed and we will never overcome them if we continue on this way. I agree with her on this. She then goes on to say that a lot of these issues continue because Whites fear becoming a minor race. I have news for her, by the year 2050, Whites probably will be the minor race, but I do not agree with her that the Whites are the individuals that are saying who is the more oppressed race. Martinez (1998) feels that all non-Whites should come together and take a stand against Whites.

She says that the U.S. is going back to segregation. She feels that Whites are moving into the suburbs and this leaves Blacks and other non-Whites in the cities, which she feels do not have a good tax base, therefore inadequate schools. Yes, we will be going back to segregation if she continues on advocating her opinions like this and calling the White people, White Supremacists. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an activist for civil rights, but he wanted everyone to respect each other and come together. Martinez is going about it in a total opposite way.

Martinez (1998) states, “Innumerable statistics, reports and daily incidents should make it impossible to exclude Latinos and other non-Black populations of color when racism is discussed, but they don’t”. What is she talking about? She doesn’t state which statistics, reports or daily incidences. She does give a couple of examples of incidents. She says that ranch owners get migrant workers, mostly Mexicans to come to the U.S. to work and then the ranchers force them to work free the rest of their lives for repayment of the ranchers smuggling the Mexicans to the U.S. She does give a couple of more examples. If I didn’t feel that she was so radical in everything that she has to say, I might believe this automatically. She comes off way too opinionated in my eyes, for me to automatically believe the way she is stating the disregard that Whites are having against Mexicans. I will definitely have to investigate the things she states on my own.

Martinez (1998) gives an example of two small Latino children in San Francisco that were found covered in flour from head to toe, she claims they wanted their skin to be white enough to get into school. She says there is no way to understand this except it being due to a racist climate. I personally know a girl that is half Black and half White and she used to soak in a tub mixed with water and bleach. She did this because she wanted to be whiter. Martinez gives an example of how Mexican and Chicano women that worked at a Nabisco plant in Oxnard, California were not allowed to go to the bathroom and told to wear diapers. Unfortunately, I do believe this, there are a lot of despicable people in this world. I will not deny her that. She states the women at the Nabisco plant filed a lawsuit and won. Just the thought of this makes me sick and very saddened that we have people in this world that treat other human beings like this.

Martinez (1998) mentions a young man whose life was taken due to scapegoating in Detroit, Michigan. His name was Vincent Chin. As I found in Wikipedia (1982), yes, he was beaten and his life taken in 1982 at the age of 27, just a few days prior to his wedding. He was a Chinese American male that a Chrysler plant superintendent and his stepson singled out on the street. The man, that killed him, and his stepson were upset because of all the layoffs in the Detroit auto industry due to Japanese automakers. It is more involved than this, but I wanted to point out that Martinez is accurate regarding this instance. Yes, I know these devastating acts go on.

One occurrence that stands out in my mind happened in 1998, a 22 year old young man named Matthew Shepard, that was attending the University of Wyoming, was beaten and tortured and tied to a fence and left to die all because of his sexual orientation. I don’t have a citing for that because I remember it so distinctly because it was such a devastating hate crime. Martinez (1998) goes on to say that most people know about slavery, but these people don’t know about how the U.S. seized half of Mexico. I can tell you one thing, our class definitely knows about it, if we didn’t before, because we were definitely reminded of it last week in our readings. We learned of several devastating and horrifying events in history. I know I am going to do whatever possible to implement this knowledge into my conversations to help others be more aware and educated like I am now.

I probably would listen more to what Martinez has to say, but she sounds like a very bitter woman to me. In my opinion, she is classifying Whites as bad people and that in itself puts me in a very defensive mode and my “Mama Bear” instinct wants to come out.

Martinez even goes on to call White people Yankees, and yes, White people have been called Yankees, but she really should know more of what she is talking about, because the people that live down south call us northern people Yankees. When I lived in Alabama and people asked where I came from, I told them that I was from Montana and they said, “Oh, you’re a damn Yankee!”

In my opinion, Martinez is what I classify as one of the worst types of racist. She is the dangerous kind that goes around creating situations and breeding prejudice, racism and stereotypes. She would be more credible if she herself was not so biased.

I believe Martinez is very opinionated and off base. I would be willing to give her a fair chance if she presented her material objectively. It’s not only what she says, but how she says it, it’s her tone. It appears to me that she is trying to cause distention in the ranks. She uses extreme examples. What is this going to solve? I believe we will have the same problems in reverse later on. Personally, I do not like to be classified in one entire group and then have someone come and basically say that all non-White people should form a coalition against White people.

I am going to briefly talk about one of our other writings; I’m only going to touch the surface because I had so much to say about Martinez. Gallagher (2003) believes that most people in the U.S. feel that we are now a color blind nation. I go agree with him that the majority of U.S. personnel feel that everything is pretty much equal. Gallagher (2003) states that national polling data indicate that the majority of the Whites believe that discrimination no longer exists. He goes on to say that the Whites believe that everything is equal between Blacks and Whites now. My point is, why are there still so many factors affecting Blacks, such as, so much poverty, unemployment, poor, undereducated and out in the cold and on the streets?

I do believe what Gallagher says is the true belief in the U. S. I hear conversations all the time that reflect this. Yet, many Whites are not able to open their eyes and look at these issues in a different aspect. Gallagher (2003) argues, “that color-blind depictions of U.S. race relations serves [sic] to maintain white privilege by negating racial inequality.” When people pretend there are no problems with race, this does not erase it. “Colorblindness allows whites to define themselves as politically and racially tolerant as they proclaim their adherence to a belief system that does not see or judge individual by the “color of their skin”. Gallagher (2003)

If race didn’t matter, here are a few items I would like you to think about. Why are Blacks watched closer in the store? Why do many ladies start to clutch their purse when a Black man walks by? Why do store attendants fling open the curtain/doors when Black people are in trying on clothes, having no respect if they are naked or standing there in their pair of panties? Why when driving in a certain neighborhood when White people see Black people, all of a sudden they say that “Oh, we are in a bad side of town,” or “It looks pretty dark around here”? Why do many people start a conversation with “I’m not prejudiced, but…”? These are just a few incidents that I personally have seen/heard myself.

I don’t care that people try to dismiss this because we have a Black president. Let me tell you, he and his family have had many racial things said about them, especially when something isn’t going according to plan in the world. Last, but not least, when you take a color-blindness approach, you are basically asking them to deny their race and culture. Let’s lay everything out in the open and focus on multiculturalism. Let’s find a way to get along and become one in unity.

A. Reflection on Connections between Part A and Service Placement:

I feel that the connections between Part A and Service Placement is look at my culture and the Native American’s culture and seeing us working together and interrelating with one another. I will not ignore their color or their culture and ways. I expect to embrace them. I have gained an even greater respect for the Native Americans from all what I have learned in our class, especially the history. I feel that it is even possible to embrace part of their culture and bring it into mine. I will embrace every moment that I can work with the Oneida’s and be very respectful, receptive and work hard. I definitely will not do anything to oppress them in any way.


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