Feb. 21, 2018

Week 5: Day 1- Seeing and Being Seen

When people first meet me, I think the first assumption they make is I am young and some kind of Asian. That is what people tell me they usually see, but by looking at me. I can understand their inference. I am a small person, who probably looks like 15 or 16 years old at most. I definitely look Asian so I can also see why they make the conclusion that I am. Being seen as younger than I actually am sometimes is not fun, especially when you go to a restaurant and they still hand you the kids menu. But for the most part, it does not really phase me as much as my race being mistaken. Yes I am Asian, but I am not Filipino as many would assume I am. I am Chinese Mexican. It does not bother me to the point that it angers me, I sometimes find it quite amusing to ask people what they think my race is. Maybe 80% of time, people will say I look Filipino. Again, understandable. These perceptions do not define me; although people might make the same mistake multiple times, it does not change who I truly am. Some people get very angered or bothered when their appearances lead people to make incorrect assumptions and I totally understand why.

This just shows that the people of our society are uneducated. This tells us that some thing needs to change in the way that we are taught to view other people. It is wrong for someone to make a typical guess on who a person is based on their appearances. In some cases, it is understandable and logical to make an assumption based on appearances, but you have to be able to do it in a non-racist/non-suggestive way, which can be tricky. A situation in which connecting the dots incorrectly would be to say that one person is a bad person or that one person is good/bad at something just based on their appearance. It is wrong how some people think it is so simple to judge someone in this close-minded manner. Like the typical saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” This same idea applies to this general topic. Just because I may look young or Filipino, does not mean that I am. Where it is important to realize that you are wrongfully judging a person’s identity, it is also important to realize that sometimes people are just uneducated or unaware, and you can help change their close-minded ways. It is not helpful to just complain that “people always think I look Filipino, but I’m not;” instead, tell the person that you cannot label all darker asians to be Filipino. It is also not helpful for those people to reject their uneducated-ness and to continue to insult the wrongfully identified people. Looks can be a helpful, determining tool, but appearances can also be misleading.

Feb. 12, 2018

Audio Essay Script

My story will be about how my grandparents meeting influenced the way I identify myself. Where others may identify strongly with religion, their sexuality, gender, professions, personally, I identify greatly with my race. This is because I feel that it most represents me; it both represents my family as a whole and me individually. The story begins with my grandpa being born in China and my grandma being born in Mexico. As a teenager, my grandpa moved from China to Mexico and my grandma had began to work at a little restaurant. Coincidentally, this small restaurant that my grandma began to work at was my grandpa’s uncle’s restaurant. My grandpa had come to Mexico to work for his uncle at this same restaurant. This is where they met, this is essentially the beginning of our biracial family. Because I greatly identify myself with my race, I decided to talk about this story. They sacrificed so much to support and grow as a family. My family is a large component of both my race and my identity.

Feb. 9, 2018

In-Class Blog Writing

For this audio essay, the main idea is addressing issues that I have faced with identity, cultural background, or stereotypes. I think I have an idea on what I will talk about, something about how people assuming the races of others based on physical characteristics. This topic might be a little vague, but it is something that I definitely can talk about and something I feel strongly about. What I am thinking is to write about the ignorance present within everyone around us. There are so many different combinations of races that one can have that it is almost impossible to assume someone’s race. Although physical characteristics can lead to the correct race, we still cannot assume. For example, a lot of people do not guess my race correctly on the first try, which is totally understandable. I do not find it offensive nor am I complaining about it. I do not find it offensive when people ask me; I think I prefer it because then they know the truth rather than just assume a false assumption. I simply just want to address the fact that the human race is so uneducated when it comes to correctly identifying people by their race or even just being able to recognize that not everyone who looks hispanic is mexican, not everyone who looks asian is chinese, or saying that a white person is “just white.” Race is a part of someone’s identity and although I do not take offense when people make a mistake, others can really take it to heart. But don’t get me wrong. I am not perfect, I can’t tell you what race each person is in this room and that is exactly my point. People, including me, fail to recognize the diversity of our race. With being able to recognize different races will also come the elimination of a stereotype. I understand that sometimes stereotypes can be funny and sometimes can be true, but there are so many different people both outside and within a one race that it is wrong to label someone or peg a certain trait to a race. Some stereotypes can be so offensive and culturally disrespectful that I think our society sometimes does not realize the reality behind it because of the comedy that comes with a stereotype. I feel that it is important for us to become more educated. This could be a step forward in ending discrimination, stereotypes, hate crimes, bullying, gentrification, and much more.

The bolded text is what I think I will base my audio essay on. My race is a large portion of my identity. Since we have to talk about issues regarding our identities, I feel that this is a suitable topic.

Feb. 7, 2018

Audio Essay

The main expectations the assignment has are to write and record an audio essay that is 3 minutes long. This audio essay will be written about you and your life, specifically it will discuss personal experiences with facing issues about your identity, culture, and racial stereotypes. Music and background sounds can be used to support your story. Additionally, your voice will need to effectively tell your story with emotion. Any sources, such as music from an artist, will need to be sourced.

I think that in the audio essay, my strength will be writing about my personal experiences with the suggested topics. I think I have experiences that I can talk about, but on the contrary I am also not sure if I have enough to talk about. Going on weaknesses I will have during this assignment, I do not like  presenting in front of an audience. To address these weaknesses, I will need to first really think and brainstorm about an experience I can talk about and then also just accept the fact that the audience will be listening to my voice on a loud speaker.

I think this assignment is going to be interesting. I like the theme of this essay, but I am not excited for the audio part. I think it is an interesting twist to the standard RHET assignment because you do not usually hear an audio essay as an assignment; it is a good change from your standard essay, but some may prefer just a regular essay.

Feb. 5, 2018

Reading Response

In Katie’s response to the readings, she expressed the same feelings as I did when I read “Black and Blue” by Garnette Cadogan. She points out the comparison of Cadogan’s life in Jamaica versus the life he lives in America. She does a good job summarizing and comparing the most important parts of the essay, which was his experiences in both Jamaica and United States. She also added a significant quote which I also found interesting because it is Cadogan expressing that in Jamaica, he feels like himself and he feels that he can walk peacefully without a second thought in his head. Our responses are similar because we both highlight that it is wrong for people to be judged based on their race.

Jan. 29, 2018

Gender Identity Group Project: Laverne Cox

Meg, Katie, and Nicole

Laverne Cox is a well known transgender woman and actress who always knew she was destined to be a performer since a young age. She is originally from Mobile, Alabama and was a dance major at Indiana university, yet later transferred to Marymount Manhattan College. Discovering her passion for the arts, Cox also came to terms with who she is and underwent surgery to become a woman the year after graduating college. This propelled her acting career as she was mainly cast for transgender roles. Cox is a huge advocator for the LGBTQ community and continues to change gender stereotypes through her work as an actress.

Towards the beginning of her life, Laverne Cox did not feel comfortable with being open about her identity. Going through college she performed and participated in drag shows, even though she did not necessarily identify as a drag queen. She described this as “an outlet for my desire to perform.” She usually auditioned for trans roles and was most successful with these roles. Although she auditioned for these roles, she did not disclose that she was trans. At this point in her life, she still had shame around being trans, but this shame lifted in 2007 when Candis Cayne inspired to her. Candis Cayne, a transgender actor, was openly identifying as a transgender, all while being successful and thriving. At this moment, she believed that it was possible for one to be openly trans and have a career. Once she realized this, she began blossomed into a successful actress and she was truly comfortable with being transgender.

Today, Laverne Cox stays fighting for important social issues. She is an advocate for equal rights and carries the message of “looking beyond gender expectations to live more authentically”. Cox advocacy for social issues has won her Glamour magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, one of The Grio’s 100 Most Influential African Americans, one of the Top 50 Trans Icons by the Huffington Post, and the Courage Award from the Anti-Violence Project. Additionally, Cox is an Emmy nominated actress for her role in Orange Is The New Black. In this role Cox made history by being “the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show.” Moreover, Cox continues to be a leader in the transgender community, inspiring others to be their most authentic self.


“About Bio ⋆ Laverne Cox.” Laverne Cox, www.lavernecox.com/about/.

“Laverne Cox Interview: Orange Is the New Black Star On Being Trans.” Time, Time,


Jan. 26, 2018

Meaning of Name Assignment:

My name is Nicole Michelle Lianto. My parents named me Nicole simply because they were watching a movie with Nicole Kidman and they figured it was a nice name. Michelle is my mom’s first name; they gave me the middle name of Michelle because I was the first born child. My mom got her name from the Beatles song, Michelle. My grandpa was a big fan of theirs. Lianto is my dad’s last name. Lianto is not our true last name, but I don’t really know the story well enough to tell it. Technically my last name should be Lee. I have never been embarrassed of my name. I think it’s because my name is quite common and quite easy to say/pronounce. I have never changed my name or adopted a new name. I have had nicknames though, such as Nikki or Nik. I really only get called these names by family or close friends. I used to prefer Nikki, but as I got older, I began to like Nicole more.

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