White Rage

In the discussion of White Rage, we explored this realm of red pilling in politics, more specifically the Alt-right movement. The idea of red pilling originated from the Matrix where Neo would either choose the red pill which told you the harsh truth whereas taking the blue pill would allow you to live ignorant of that truth. However, the alt-right movement uses this concept to gain followers of their movement of creating a White nation. This group red pills those who are vulnerable to a drastic change in the culture of their thinking, mostly young white people. The Alt-righters are supporters of anti-liberalism, anti-feminism, white nationalism, and any form of thinking that rejects the equality of women and minorities. In order for these ideals to effectively affect people, the Alt-righters use many forms of media such as Youtube, Reddit, and alternative websites that use code messaging that sounds appealing to those who do not yet have strong political beliefs or cultural ideas that would shape your political decisions.

The media platforms that are controlled by Alt-righters are the only and easiest forms of communication. They take advantage of media platform algorithms that shape your experience around your search history. For example, the class discussed Youtube’s algorithm that recommends videos based on your watch history, so if you were to watch one video that was attempting to red pill you then you would be directed to more videos like the original one. This process is a common form of red pilling that occurs in the Alt-right movement. Similarly, the website Reddit is a big component that used to hold the forums for conversations by the Alt-right movement. Some of the conversations revolved around hypermasculinity and the objectification of women as just reproductive beings for the re-establishment of a white nation. Wholistically, the Alt-right are very much taking advantage of the internet and its availability to everyone, which makes it easier to spread their ideas and values to the world. It’s important to pay attention to the tactics that alt-righters and red pillers use to lead their audiences into the rabbit hole. For example, if you think about an alt-righter on youtube,  they’ll know how to draw your attention and make the video and their ideas entertaining. Simply, it’s important to pay attention to their language use, how they plan to persuade their audience and manipulate them. 

The main concept behind their manipulation is metapolitics. It is when you take someone’s previous ideas and reshaping them to fit a certain group’s ideology. There is no connection to politics regardless of the name as it affects the cultural values of the targetted audience instead of their political beliefs and values. And the metapolitics of the Alt-right is the rejection of social equality and fairness in order to maintain white supremacy and build a white nation.

Although we did not discuss normalizing white nationalism as much, it is an interesting problem that is in response to the success of minorities, more specifically Black people. Whites feel as though they are losing power within the society, so the Alt-right movement is an attempt at a revolution of sorts to re-assume power that they clearly have not lost.


Racism and the Justice System

     In the discussion of Racism and the Justice System, the Crook County courthouse, in Chicago, is notorious for its unruly treatment of felony defendants and its disproportionate incarceration of minorities. Out of the twenty-three thousand defendants a year, about sixty-nine percent of felony defendants were African American and about eighty-six percent were male. That’s about sixteen thousand African Americans per year compared to the three thousand whites per year. Based on this data alone, there is a clear indication of the disproportionate incarceration of African American males. The reason for this is the corruption of the judges, attorneys, and public defenders. Not only that but every single one of them is White; however, that is not even the worst part.

     The inheritance of racism has been institutionalized within this court. As our class discussed the racism in Crook County, we noticed that it is similar to  Anderson’s inheritance of the ghetto. That stereotypes of African Americans being destined for criminal behavior such as drug distribution, gang violence, and gun violence. Furthermore, there was an extensive discussion on the blatant segregation of two lines to get into the court. One line was for the mostly  otherminority defendants and their families and the other was for the attorneys and public defenders. Being that it was pouring raining during the time Ms.Silva was describing this event, the line with the minorities was moving extremely slow because of the guards who did not care for the well-being of these people. They were heard saying racist remarks to the defendents and treating them like they were in jail before they were put on trial. On the other hand, the line with the “professionals” was met with respect and efficiency. The guards barely checked the bags and pockets of the “professionals” as they greeted them with smiles and laughter. This visual segregation and overt discrimination is the foundation for the racist culture that is being fostered in the Crook County courthouse.

This idea of literal and symbolic separation in the courthouse is continued as you enter the court room where the defendants and their families are separated by a glass room that is used by the public defendants, attorneys, and judges. This room is considered the break room for the attorneys, judges, and public defenants. They play games, talk and laugh with each other within this room. Keep in mind that the entire court room is able to see through this glass, so when defendants see a judge, in the middle of a trial, take a break to laugh their collegues or play with their children it is very demeaning to the life that is being judged at that moment. There is a lack of regard for the lives of minorities because the judges and attorneys have a preconceived notion that all minorities are criminals. This notion creates a mentality that prejudges minorities to be guilty until proven innocent. And the more people the attorneys convict, the more money they make. This idea if time is money is applied to the court system in that its no longer about serving justice but about closing cases as fast as possible and collecting a paycheck. Even the public defenders, who are hired to help you, want to get the case done as soon as possible, so they offer a plea bargin instead of an actual trial. However, the public defenders are given so many cases a day that they are overwhelmed into giving a plea bargin instead of attempting to give a trial that benefits that defendants. In addition to this already corrupt system, is the racist culture that influences the decisions of the judges, attorneys, and public defenders and perpectuates this injust cycle of mass incarceration of minorities. That is why as a country we must attack the justice system in order to force a full reform of its laws and culture.

Sexual Racism – Alexis

Crystal and I presented on sexual racism. We decided to hone in on two outlets of sexual racism, dating apps and the porn industry. We based our discussion points off of the readings that we were assigned that covered sexual racism in hookups on college campuses, sexual fields in gay hookup culture, and the idea of “screening” of white partners by partners who are POC to make sure that the white partner is racially aware of injustices against people of color.

We made an effort to bring the part of the reading that discussed that asian men and black women were least desirable while asian women and black men are fetishized. If we had more time to do the presentation, it would have been interesting to discuss how these specific stereotypes came to be. We did ask the question: where do sexual fetishes come from? But it would have been helpful to have both scientific evidence and historical evidence. In this reflection, I have chosen to look for some historical and biological evidence to help formulate an answer to this question.

I came across an article that discussed how the Asian female began to be fetishized in American culture. Much of the story covers how through opera and Hollywood, Asian females were portrayed as “ornaments” that were “tools of sexual and cultural exploitation” and supplemented the idea that all other cultures are “savages” and it is “daring” to “take on a native woman as a lover.” This idea reproduced itself over time, especially in the U.S. military presence in Asia and the opportunities it gave for American men to participate in the Asian sex industry. I am very curious as to how the fettish of the black man came to be. Unfortunately, in my very thoroughly conducted google search, the fetishizing of female black women was the only result that popped up. But luckily, we did not discuss this fetishization of black women – and we definitely should have. The fetishization of black women largely originated during the colonial era, where white slave owners would rape black slaves. Their justification of this action was that the women presented themselves as hyper-sexualized. Disgusting! Scientists at the time were fascinated by black bodies and even took molds of black womens’ genitalia most mortem. Black women are continually over-sexualized in the art world, depicting them as sexual beings for the pleasure of the white man. 

Somehow over the course of the semester, we failed to discuss the covert fetishization of black Bowdoin students. Men are fetishized for their supposedly “BBC” whereas the females are more covertly fetishized by white men who wan’t to “try a black woman out,” according to my conversations conducted for my research project on Bowdoin’s racialized hookup culture. 

After this discussion and now this reflection, I can’t help but feel helpless about this situation. Sociology has taught me to be observant in the inner workings of radicalization around me, but I have not learned how to better these problems. It seems almost too hopeful to believe that most of the sexual racism mentioned above could get less severe over my life time. People are very routed in their environments they grow up in and as long as white people continue to breed with other white people, some people will continue to see white people as the prizes of not only sex, but society. Thank you for this discussion and the amazing participation – I thoroughly enjoyed presenting on this topic because sexual fettishes bring in the question of racist notions vs. preference based on environment. 

Politics of Racism: What else we could discuss.

In this class, we discussed the politics of racism. We particularly focused on how white politicians use dog-whistle politics to invoke racial fears and racist views among white voters. We looked at the relevance of colorblind racism to the existence of dog-whistle politics, and how they play into each other. We traced dog-whistle politics through the last half-century and talked about how politicians have used it for a long time. This was relevant as it refutes the narrative of a post-racial America under Former President Barrack Obama. The class discussed the existence of dog-whistle politics abroad in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It could be interesting to explore that further and see how politicians invoke racism abroad.

I would have liked to have expanded more on both the idea of race signaling and the presence of race in politics beyond dog-whistle racism. I wanted to get to the question of how white identity is often referred to in coded language as well. This is particularly important, as our society often treats whiteness as a no race or the norm even though it is an active player in our racial system. By talking about how politicians speak about white identity, we could have a more complete understanding of how race plays into our politics.

The conversation would have centered around a clip of the President. In the clip, we would have looked at President Trump refers to America as a Christian nation and talks about the plight of the Christian family. He expressly speaks about protecting the country’s “Christien heritage” and working against the media. Through his rhetoric, one can see that he is talking about protecting white identity and particularly a non-Jewish and non-Islamic identity. This connects to our conversations about the racialization of Islam in the United States. Through this conversation, we could have explored how the military and aspects of patriotism are often used as coded language to refer to the white identity even though people of color disproportionately serve in the U.S. military when compared to the percentages of the population they make up. This conversation could have connected to the readings we did later about the proud boys and the alt-right. Those conversations could have further revealed how these populations attempt to speak to those groups both through employing dog-whistle politics to invoke white fear and by employing coded language to speak about white identity.

It would have also been interesting to look at how politicians use policy to dog whistle to their bases and what happens when dog-whistle politics turns into real-life violence. From the crime bills of the late 20th century to voter identification laws and the immigration debate in the early 21 century, politicians use their policy positions to signal to white voters their viewpoints on race. In a colorblind world, we then frame Policy debates around race without acknowledging the connection to race that these positions have. Looking at the ramifications of dog-whistle politics would have been interesting as well. Often the words uttered by these politicians bolster alt-right groups. Over the last several years, there have been several mass shootings that have targeted Mexican communities, Jewish communities, and Muslim communities. Each incident seemed to be influenced or have a connection to dog-whistle rhetoric uttered by a politician. It would be interesting to explore questions of accountability. Should these politicians be held accountable? In a colorblind society, is accountability possible?

Kcarter (color-blind racism –> cultural appropriation)

Sophie and I presented on the topic of colorblind racism and cultural appropriation of Hip-Hop culture. These two readings were interesting because it showed how prevalent colorblind racism is seen within the entertainment industry. In the first reading, “Colorblind Ideology and the Cultural Appropriation of Hip-Hop,” Jason Rodriquez dissect the Hip-Hop industry and the history behind it becoming a white space. I found it shocking to realize that the entertainment industry isn’t as progressive as it is made out to be. I also found it interesting how Rodriquez gave us other examples other than hip-hop, where a space started as a minority one and then became a white space. His article also showed how people who support the hip-hop industry use colorblind racism. Rodriquez showed this through an experiment that he conducted. In his study, he interviewed fans of particular artists and asked them questions. From this study, he concluded that white people use hip-hop and other black forms of entertainment to deny or look past their advantages and privilege. On the other hand, the cultural appropriation packet that we read was very interesting as well because it showed how much cultural appropriation is common from fashion designers to food places such as taco bell. This packet put into perspective the seriousness of the issue.
In our presentation, Sophie and I first touched on the definition of colorblind racism and what that means we even gave examples using a YouTube video and a comic. We then broke down the first reading about cultural appropriation in the Hip-Hop culture by placing two pictures side by side — one of the WuTang Clan and their audience versus Travis Scott’s audience today. You can see a drastic change in crowds. You can also see the shift from a minority space to a white space. I never knew how dramatic the shift was, but it is something that definitely can’t go unnoticed. We also touched on where it all started, which was MTV Raps. I thought it was interesting how Rodriquez clearly explained how MTV impacted the shift in the hip-hop culture.
One thing that surprised me the most was the music industry today. When I think of this industry, I expect progression, acceptance, and respect for other cultures. But, after doing this project, I realized that that wasn’t the case. The entertainment industry has been an industry that has been stripped from African Americans and put into the hands of white people. This industry has become a white space because it has been appropriated to manage the white race. For example, Motown was a type of music and space where African Americans could take ownership of their talent without having to change or alter their music. We can also see colorblind racism within award shows such as the Grammys and Oscars. There have been times where artists such as Travis Scott, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar are nominated for many awards but don’t win. Beyoncé Lemonade lost to Adele’s album, and Travis Scotts Astroworld didn’t win anything at the Grammy’s. That comes down to who is in control of the hip-hop industry and the people who are in charge of voting for winners at the Grammys and things like that they are usually old white men. To understand this industry for what it truly is disappointing because it means that the entertainment industry is just a façade for another white space.
After looking at the music industry, we turned to fashion and how that was even worse. But when dealing with the fashion industry, cultural appropriation seems to be loosely used. Since fashion designers come from all parts of the world, we posed the question to the class, where should the line be drawn in fashion when it comes to cultural appropriation? I got many interesting answers, but I also realized that cultural appropriation could be used differently depending on the person. Something could seem like cultural appropriation for you but may be seen as an ordinary outfit to me. So, I think this term can change based on the individual.
After talking about the readings and discussing, we then had the class stand up and move to either side of the room. If they agreed they went by the door if you disagreed, you went by the cabinets, and if they were in-between, they stood in the middle. With this game, we would ask questions to the class, and they move to whichever side. Then we would pick on someone to explain why they are on the side they are on. This activity required students to participate and discuss, which I thought was great because then we would hear many different viewpoints. In the end, Sophie and I ran out of time, but I was wondering if the kids in the class had a different take on cultural appropriation or were the same as when they walked in. Also, I wish we were able to have them all individually come up with a definition of what cultural appropriation meant to them, but we didn’t have time. Overall, this topic was fascinating, and I learned a lot about the entertainment industry that I didn’t know.

Kcarter (crook County)

Crook County is a novel that touches on topics that are problematic within the criminal justice system. This book, written by Nicole Gonzalez van Cleve is a piece of literature the dives deep into the criminal justice system and the hidden flaws that encompass it. The book discusses how the system is one that strips people of color, specifically black men, of their rights and humanity. In the book, Van Cleve also gives detail about the prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges. She explains their positions within the system and how they impact the outcome of many people that are stuck in crook county. The author also breaks down the roles of private defenders versus public defenders and how they interact with their clients. Overall, Crook County assessed the justice system and the ways that it racializes people of color. It examines how criminal attorneys and judges are the ones who determine a man’s freedom versus another man’s imprisonment.

The conversation Abby and I had with the class focused on racism within the system and how that impacts communities of people. First, we showed a video by The Atlantic. This 5-minute film summarized how the criminal justice system is no longer incarcerating the individual; instead, the system is incarcerating social groups. The leading social group spoken about in the video is the African American community. The footage looked at how a lack of schooling increases a black man’s chances of becoming incarcerated. The video also touches on how mass incarceration can be seen as a generational thing.  After watching this video Abby and I were able to look at the criminal justice system from a broader perspective. Looked at how slavery transformed into modern-day mass incarceration for the black community.

After discussing the video with the class, we dove right into colorblind racism and how public and private defenders use it. In chapter 3, the author thoroughly examined public and private defenders. So, in our presentation, we did the same. We explained that public and private defenders have a drastic difference in opinion due to the difference in their clients. The public defender has low income, indigent clients vs. The private attorney who can choose their clients of a more middle class/upper-class status would influence the way they see their clients treated in the court system.  After we examined their roles, we then talked about the stereotypes that are heavily used within the court system. After assessing all parts of the court system from clients to attorneys from judges to the police, we then asked the question where does this all start? Abby and I thought about this question a lot, and we decided that racism within the courtroom is something that is an adaptation when entering in this particular field of law. We first looked at law school and realized that when you are in law school, no one ever teaches you to discriminate, stereotype, and racialize a specific group of people. Instead, law schools teach you to treat people equally and that everyone is equal under the law. They also engrave in your mind that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. With this understanding, we could only conclude that the criminal justice system causes one to adapt and change their ways and views that would accommodate what’s accepted within the justice system. What you learned in law school doesn’t apply when entering the toxic environment of criminal law.

In our presentation, we discussed themes such as Inheritance of the Ghetto, the White Space, and No Place on the Corner. We discussed how the iconic ghetto is something that is continuously mapped onto black bodies no matter what. At the end of our presentation, we looked at how a minority space can still be a white space. This shows that society continues to favor the white man while negatively impacting people of color.

Overall, I think our presentation went well with the class. At some points, we had to force students to participate in the discussion. But, when they engaged in the conversation, many good points were made. In the end, this presentation gave me more knowledge about how messed up our criminal justice system is. Reading and analyzing this book showed me how people of color are at a disadvantage in a system that is supposed to treat you as innocent before your guilty. But, when you are POC, specifically black men, then you are seen as guilty before innocent.

White Frustration and White Rage

Kaderrius and I led a discussion on the White Frustration and White Rage readings. In these readings, we learned about the concept of red pilling and how alt-righters use that through the media to their advantage. This is a very interesting tactic that I didn’t know about before this and I think red pilling is something that everyone needs to be aware of. Since red pilling is supposed to be subtle, most people don’t know that they are being manipulated and brainwashed. Kaderrius found a really great example of a guy that used to identify as liberal, but came across alt-right videos on Youtube, and as a result of red pilling, he fell into the rabbit hole. It showed how alt-righters and men’s rights activists know how to manipulate the mainstream media to amplify their ideas and distort news narratives to their advantage. This is probably why alt-lighters mostly always become alt-righters; well thought out and coded language used for persuasion can easily tip alt-lighters to the right. We also showed some examples of the different platforms alt-righters use to discuss anti-feminism, such as the Reddit forum called “The Red Pill”. Another website is called the Daily Stormer, which is a hate speech platform where alt-righters aggressively post about their beliefs. This then led to an interesting discussion on the freedom of speech and where we draw the line between hate speech and freedom of speech since these can mean different things for different people. I don’t think that hate speech should be protected under the first amendment, but I think the government needs to regulate hate speech.

We then talked a little bit about the emergence of The Proud Boys and their role in the alt-right movement. It’s crazy to me that this ‘cult’ was created so recently and that it still exists today. I think the reason why is because all of these alt-right movements and discussions happen online, and I’m not sure how I would come across any of those topics online. We discussed whether we would consider The Proud Boys a hate group, and I think I would consider them as a hate group. They are notorious for misogyny and they put way too much effort into fighting liberalism, feminism, and multiculturalism, both verbally and physically.

Lastly, we talked about how male alt-righters want to live the way that we used to live. They want to maintain patriarchy within white families, and they want women to return to the “tradlife”, in which their main role is to have kids and care for them. Alt-righters are fearing white extinction since white people are having fewer children and white men, in particular, are dying at a much faster rate. According to the US Census, it is also projected that by 2050, the majority-white population will be replaced by multiracial people. I found this really ridiculous because the white population will just never die off. Alt-righters feel like they have such a responsibility to normalize white nationalism and keep white supremacy alive. There are so many more issues to be focusing on in our country and it’s disappointing to see that people are prioritizing white nationalism.

Anti-Racism and the Hip-Hop Generation

CJ and I recently led a discussion on the first half of the book The Hip Hop Generation Fights Back. The book explores two youth activism groups in Oakland, California, and considers how growing up in circumstances that make the youth both invisible and heavily criticized affect their approach to activism. In addition, the book explores how the youth perceive the label “activist” in the context of idealized cultural images of activists and the history of the Black Panther Party in Oakland.

We began the discussion by asking the class about the parallels between the way the Black Panther Party is immediately associated with guns, and the characterization of the Black Lives Matter movement by Fox News and President Trump. Early in the book, the author discusses how today’s youth are perceived as “deviants” who need to be constantly supervised. This made me consider the ways mass media operates to discredit and vilify Black movements throughout American history. For example, in the 1950s, then-President Herbert Hoover began a program called Cointelpro, with the goal of “preventing the rise of a Black messiah” and targeting black nationalism. This program continued throughout the 1960s, and was used by the FBI to infiltrate the Black Panther Party and assassinate Fred Hampton in 1969. This is interesting to consider in the context of a clip we found of President Trump prior to the 2016 election, promising to former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that he would “investigate” the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s incredibly how quickly politicians and people in power attack movements that seek to make Black communities safer, characterizing them as dangerous and aggressive, while ignoring White power movements. In the case of Herbert Hoover, this meant creating a program that would eventually be used to assassinate leaders of the Black Panthers, a group who provided free breakfast for children and thirteen free health clinics, while ignoring brutal attacks on Black communities by the KKK. For Trump, this means calling for “law and order” – a coded attack against Black Lives Matter – while saying there were “fine people” on both sides of the conflict in Charlottesville that saw a white nationalist drive a car into a crowd of protestors, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

We continued our discussion by questioning the use of the term “activist” and how the students in the book used it. This discussion led to a debate between “slacktivism” and “activism”. Slacktivism, as defined by dictionary.com, is “actions taken to bring about political or social change but requiring only minimal commitment, effort, or risk”. The idea of slacktivism is especially interesting in our social-media obsessed culture, where posts about social movements are everywhere. How can we define “activism” with this in mind? Is someone who reposts things about social movements without actually going to rallies or volunteering an activist? Where do we draw the line between “slacktivism” and “activism”? Most of the class was opposed to the idea of people posting things on social media without actually participating in a movement. However, is doing something better than doing nothing? Despite how irritating it can be to see a hundred posts about the same topic on your social media, what if each post informs a single person? Isn’t that how movements grow? While the change brought about by posting something on social media is negligible, awareness is crucial, because being aware of what’s going on is a step in the right direction, a step toward action and serious change.

Weaponizing the White Space: Stop-and-Frisk Policing

Afton and I led a class discussion on the book No Place on the Corner, about the effects of stop-and-frisk policing on communities of color in the Bronx. This reading was extremely interesting, especially in the context of some of the other readings we’ve done, including Crook County and “The Inheritance of the Ghetto”. It was disturbing to see the system come full circle, from New Deal polices that marked primarily Black communities as liabilities, to White flight, to targeted and abusive policing, to corrupt courts. In addition, it shed a light on issues of policing often ignored in the news cycle, and provided context for tragic police shootings of young Black men.

After reading and having a class discussion on Algorithms of Oppression, I realized that COMP-STAT policing, based on computer software designed by former NYPD commissioner William Bratton, is important to consider in the context of biased algorithms. In Algorithms of Oppression, the author notes that no one is free of implicit bias, and computer programmers, knowingly or unknowingly code that bias into their programs. However, the public perceives these programs to be completely objective. This is indeed the case for the COMP-STAT software. Its creator, William Bratton, was recently accused of threatening an officer who had come forward saying he was ordered to arrest minorities (https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-bratton-bronx-quotas-roll-call-20191205-teuunpsiznecxlndk3n6htzxna-story.html) . This officer was assigned to the 40th precinct in the South Bronx, a precinct discussed in No Place on the Corner. There is potential that Bratton’s implicit bias may have made its way into the software he designed, which now is used to direct NYPD operations.

Regardless of Bratton’s influence, COMP-STAT software, compounded by “unofficial” summons quotas and broken-windows policing, reinforces police officer’s implicit biases. When officers are pushed to meet quotas, they often target minority communities, such as the ones discussed in the book. When unnecessary stops are made, officers put this data into the COMP-STAT system in order to “bloat their numbers”. The COMP-STAT system then makes it seem like some communities (typically minority communities) are committing more crimes than they actually are. Then, police officers use this skewed data to direct their future decision making when stopping people on the street, leading them to stop more people in already over-targeted communities of color. This process is summarized well in the USA Today article “When policing stats do more harm than good” by Joseph Giacalone and Alex Vitale; “All across the country, many of the complaints about excessive and heavy handed policing are driven by unnecessary and counterproductive over-policing in an attempt to ‘get the numbers up’”.

The idea that algorithms are perceived as objective yet inherently biased can be translated to other parts of society. How often do we see a statistic, or a news story, and immediately assume its true? How does this change how we see the world? We see arrest statistics and crime rates all the time, but rarely do we (as a society) question the social algorithms that skew the data. It’s easy to imagine that this is the case with policing in New York. It’s way too easy to look at an institution like a police department and immediately assume that they’re always right, and that they’ll always do the right thing. This assumption only serves to perpetuate racial stereotypes and further alienate and discriminate against communities of color.

Economic Opportunity and Racism

 In Willow Lung’s Trespassers? Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia, we explored ideas of the model minority and the school system in and around Silicon Valley in California. A model minority is defined as an ethnic group where individuals achieve socioeconomic success at a higher rate than the average population. The reading discussed school systems in terms of demographics and white flight in areas such as Fremont. White people moved out of neighborhoods at high rates because of an influx of Asian people into the community, until it reaches a point where the neighboorhood is almost entirely homogeneously Asian.

In our presentation, we discussed how Asian-American are being “whitened” using the idea of a model minority. We used three excerpts from the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Ithacan, to discuss how Asian Americans have been increasingly grouped in with the white population for purposes of “racial preferences.” Lung spoke profoundly of white flight in areas of Silicon Valley, but claimed there was a shift as Asian-Americans became model minorities. Whites were comfortable living with Asians so long as they followed the unspoken expectations set for them. We discussed how this diminishes the experiences of Asain-American people who are a societal disadvantage. We also argued that because white people are determining racial hierarchies, the black and brown people that are lower on the hierarchy and already have stereotypes mapped onto them, have these amplified. Furthermore, these are the people considered “bad minorities,” which has negative impacts on emotional health.

We also viewed school system demographics versus the most important aspects and expectations of a particular school. While white parents look for a liberal arts education for their kids, Asian parents look for strong STEM-focused schools. We discussed our personal experience with demographics versus the topics our high school stressed as the most important. We did this to connect with what Lung explained about the majority of high achieving high schools in the Silicon Valley area were predominately Asian. She attributed this to the culture of the school system in Asian countries. One major question that we asked during our presentation was why we thought that this pattern of schools becoming high achieving after reaching a specific racial majority is not true for black and Hispanic communities? 

We also looked at the racial breakdown of Bowdoin. At Bowdoin, we often hear that our student body is 39% of people of color, but we never see how many of the underrepresented groups made up that 39%. We discussed whether or not we felt that Bowdoin was doing enough to support certain groups that make up the breakdown. We also questioned the choice to include “Non-Resident Aliens” as a section of “students of color,” and if there was a way to make this descriptor clearer. Lastly, we discussed whether or not we felt that Bowdoin’s demographics would change within the next couple of years. 

I was left thinking about how this set up of this school system affects students. This treatment can hurt the emotional health of students of color. There is a reason why black and brown students are the smallest percentage of demographics in the majority of the private schools that we looked at in Trespassers. How would these demographics shift if these students had the same level of support?  Whose responsibility is it to diversify? I was also left thinking about how this relates to the school-to-prison pipeline, where marginalized youth are more likely to become incarcerated due to the poor school systems available to them. It also refers to a topic of the tokenistic fallacy of racism where white people believe that the presence of people of color in influential positions means the eradication of race-based obstacles. The perpetuation of stereotypes surrounding a student of a particular demographic can cause that student to feel an excess of negative pressure. The likelihood of their success then decreases in comparison to their counterparts.