White Side: Stereotypes and ignorance I am a white male. I have experienced something a lot of other white males have never experienced. Racism. Living on the east side of Salinas is manageable, being white on the east side is down right hard. The middle school I attended was 95% Hispanic, I was the minority. Everyday I would be called names like snowflakes, powder and whitey, but it was not the words, it was the way I was treated. Everyone thought I was rich because I was white. Bullies would assume I always had money. No one would treat me normal, I would get picked on for having white skin. The thing was though I was just like them, except I was white. I was a victim of a stereotype. Everyday stereotypes occur and it seems as if now more and more people are unaware of the facts behind them, we need to know the origins of stereotypes to better understand each other and to stop the ignorance that comes with a stereotype.
Growing up I would always judge people on what they look like or by the clothes they wear. For some reason I always thought anyone that wore a beanie was in a gang or anyone with tattoos was mean. Of course that was when I was younger and I did not know its wrong to judge. However, as I got older I realized that I was the one being judged all the time, I hated it. It made me feel unwelcome. When people judge me I always think "You don't know me, how can you judge me". Mary Crow Dog would probably agree with me. She is an Indian woman who is the author of two books and knows what it is like to be judged and oppressed by other people. It is not being judged that is her main problem, it is trying to hold on to life, to live. She states, "It is not the big, dramatic things that get us down, but just being Indians, trying to hang on to our way of life, language, and valuesÃ¢ÂÂ¦"( Crow Dog 309). Because she is born as an Indian she is faced with a harder life. It is hard to live for her because she is always being targeted to racism because she is Indian. Mary Crow Dog is an extreme example of what ignorance and stereotypes can lead to.
After 9/11 there was controversy over Muslim Americans and how any of them could be terrorist. They were stereotyped as "terrorist" and treated wrong because of their race and what they believed in. Moreover, people were concerned about finding terrorist in their own country rather than trying to stop the stereotypes on Arabs. We judged them and continue too. Glenn C. Loury, a professor and writer, would agree with this statement: We should judge people on who they are not what they are. Also, race should not matter just being human should make us equal. He states, "The most important challenges and opportunities that confront me derive me not from my racial condition but rather from my human condition" (Loury 330). He is saying his ethnicity has a little role in his life but it is being human that shapes who he is. We should look at the Arab community as people, Americans and most importantly humans. Break down the stereotypes and just let them live like humans.
Crow Dog and Loury discuss the underlying effect of stereotypes and how they affect peoples identity. Crow dog focus is on how she is oppressed as an Indian woman and how she believes that your skin color helps determine your identity where as Loury believes it is the people you grow and life with that help shape your identity.
In Crow Dog's essay she asserts how hard it is just being an Indian woman and ,through her hardships, she formed her identity. Laury would find it hard to believe that and individual could shape themselves, rather he believes that through family and friends people can form identities free of race.
The reason racial understanding is needed, is to help bring society together, further our culture and become less ignorant. However, for society to work we must break down the stereotypes, contain them and resolve them. G. E. Zuriff, a professor of psychology, believes that in order to achieve racial understandings we must acquire skills, such as the ability to study issues and understand another's view. He explains, "Many of the key skills however are interpersonal, including the abilities to negotiate, compromise, build alliances, control destructive emotions, persuade, lead, and maintain respect for the other side" (Zuriff PP18). Knowing these skills is the first step to overcoming the ignorance that comes with a stereotype.
Now are the times to stop and realize we are all one people. There should not be any stereotypes if we are all one people, we are all the same color inside so why do we hate on each other so much? I believe it is the lack of knowledge, if we learn about what we judge we can break down the stereotypes. Knowing where Mary Crow Dog came from can help us better understand each other. Knowing the reasons why people think the way they do can also help break down stereotypes. If we all work as one, and stop the ignorance, I could be white on the east side and live a life of joy. Until then, I think ill move.
Works Cited Crow Dog, Mary. "A Woman From He-Dog". Dialogues: An Argument Rhetoric and Reader. Ed. Gary Goshgarian. New York ; Longmen, 2000. 307-313.
Loury, C. Glenn. "Free at Last? A Personal Perspective on Race and Identity in America". Dialogues: An Argument Rhetoric and Reader. Ed. Gary Goshgarian. New York ; Longmen, 2000. 325-333.
Zuriff, G. E. "Is Racial and Ethnic Diversity Educationally Beneficial?" World & I Aug. 2002: 8. EBSCOhost MasterFILE Premier .19 Nov. 2002 .