Currently in our society, it seems almost taboo to bring up any conversation relating to race. Why is that? It is an important topic that shapes the individuals of many different societies. Yet people feel uneasy and avoid talking about it for fear they might say something that will portray them as being racist. This is something I want to talk about. The New York Times’ youtube channel has a series of short documentary videos titled “Conversations with…On Race”. In these videos, they bring in people of all race and ask for their experience and opinion on race.
In the youtube video titled “Conversations with Black Women On Race” a group of African American Women from different backgrounds are brought in to share their experience with race. They shared stories of unfair racial profiling, bullying, and crushed opportunities that resulted because of their race. One women shared the story of how she wanted to sing and dance on a stage, but was told her hair and the way she dressed wasn’t “suitable” for performing with the other dancers who were all white. We can see through these experiences how the social construction of African American women being viewed as undesirable or “unwomanly” has affected the lives of these women. The one thing all these African American women in the video shared is how race played a big role in their lives. Some women where abused and beaten by others because of their race, while others were ridiculed for it. Race became a big influence in the growth of these women.
In another video titled “Conversations with Asians On Race”, we hear about the experiences of how race influenced the lives of Asian Americans in this country. One Asian American shared how her parents would teach her to become more “American”, which she translated it to become more like white people. We hear how many Asian Americans gave up their identities and cultures in order to achieve becoming more “Americanized”. As an Asian American myself, I am guilty for having abandon my origin to become more American. For me, the way I saw it as a ten year old kid was that my origin and culture caused nothing but trouble for me. I was made fun of and beaten as a kid because I wasn’t very fluent in English and for how I looked and dressed. And so I decided at an early age if my origin and identity did nothing but cause trouble for me, why should I protect it? It would be much easier to live as an American in this country. This very basis of thought is shared among many Asian Americans in the video.
These videos are very powerful because they show how the social construct of race has influenced the lives of many Americans. Through these videos, viewers are shown how regular people of society are affected by the toxics of social construction of race; how people are mocked and denied opportunities because of their skin color and how it influences others to throw away their identities to avoid trouble. Although it is a topic many pretend no longer exists, it is very much alive and still present in our present society.
TheNewYorkTimes. “A Conversation With Asians on Race | Op-Docs | The New York Times.” YouTube. YouTube, 06 Apr. 2016. Web. 02 July 2016.
TheNewYorkTimes. “A Conversation With Black Women on Race | Op-Docs | The New York Times.” YouTube. YouTube, 03 Dec. 2015. Web. 02 July 2016.