Seeing and Being Seen
I was tokenized in my high school. I was in ASB and they wanted people to go to a City Council meeting to show that the school that I was at in Redondo Beach had diversity. They picked one white person, one black person, one arab person, one asian person and one hispanic person. The school wanted to be seen as diverse and show that they are doing it right–even though all of us knew that the school wasn’t truly diverse like this. I don’t think that I have been tokenized very often throughout my life but this moment is one that sticks out to me.
Whenever I ask my friends why they thought when they first meet me is that I am a ‘bitch’. They never give a good reason why but they always say that it’s because of the way I look. A lot of people are shocked to realize that I’m nice and a really likable person. At first when people would tell me this I would be taken back and low key hurt by it but I soon realized that theres nothing I can do about people assumptions about me and I learned to move on. However, when I go to the mid-west people are sometimes shocked about how educated I was and that I didn’t talk ‘ghetto’ like they thought I would. At first I was very hurt about how much stereotypes actually cloud people’s perspective of the world. But I learned that I can’t change everyone’s biases all at once so I try to ignore most peoples opinions of me.
Gebhard, Jerry G. (2010). What do international students think and feel? adapting to U.S. college life and culture. Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
Mack, Toni (1997, May). Culture shock. Forbes, 188, 188-90.
Simpson, Janice C. (2006, May 8). Chronicler of culture shock. Times, 156.
Wright, Randall (2005, March). Going to teach in prisons: culture shock. Journal of Correctional Education, 56, 19-38.
Brief Audio Essay Pitch
Being biracial you think you’d have the best of both worlds. You’d be welcome to so much culture that you couldn’t handle it sometimes. You’d be exposed to all types of food, music, dancing, and different cultural activities. However growing up in a community where being mixed was not common, caused a lot of people to group me in with what they saw fit who I was without accepting the entirety of me. As I was growing up, I lived in a predominately white and asian community so, many of them were confused when I they found out that I was mixed. I look like a black woman, yet my last name is Spanish but I only speak English. This confused a lot of people and being young, kids tend to ask more questions or not having a filter to what they were saying to me. While growing up I did not necessarily feel welcomed by the black community because I don’t “talk like a black person” or “my name isn’t black enough” or “you’re too privileged to be black”. But, the Latino community did not make me feel anymore accepted…. to be continued…
Essay 1: Free-write
Even though we’ve been talking about doing this audio essay for a week now, I still have no idea what I want to talk about. It’s suppose to be non-fiction and something that I’ve done or I’ve experienced but, I hate talking about myself. I do not like telling people about myself because it just makes me feel uncomfortable. The only thing I can think of that I could potentially talk about is my struggle with my racial identity growing up. It’s not something people usually talk about but I feel like it may be interesting to others. I want to be able to add in different kinds of music because music was a huge part in growing up and people used to judge me for liking certain kinds of music because they didn’t think that it matched with my ethnicity. The only worry I have about talking about this is that I won’t be able to fit it in in 3 minutes or less.
Essay 1: Outline
- Topic: My racial identity
- being mixed
- other people’s attitudes towards me
- how I act
- how I speak
- my mom’s views
- the internal struggle with identifying with one group or the other
- not feeling accepted in either community
- We have to compose an essay about and a time/period/event that contributes to our identity
- Must focus on music or soundscape
- Reflect on your cultural, racial and language identity
Looking at this assignment right off the bat, I believe I will struggle with coming up with something that shows my experiences through life. I am black and Puerto Rican, however I do not believe I grew up with much culture. I didn’t grow up in a traditional Hispanic household and I didn’t grow up learning about black culture. To help me out with this challenge, I suppose I can think about times where I struggled with racial identity because I was listening to what other people were telling me who I am and, who I’m not. Something that I think will come easy to me throughout this essay process will be the music aspect. I love music and I feel like it will come naturally to me when it comes to picking music to match the words I am trying to convey. I believe this assignment is a cool way for the class to learn about people’s backgrounds and where they come from.
In Nicole Lianto’s summary of the readings, she expresses similar issues that I mentioned in mine. The differing behaviors that people acted towards Garnette Cardogen from when he was in Jamaica to when he was in America was drastically different solely because of one thing–his race. It’s sad to believe that people are racially profiled in 2018 because people think our nation has come such a long way from racism. However, racial bias is still very much apart of our culture and we need to stop being so shocked that it happens, and accept that it does. Once people accept that racial bias is an issue, that is when people are able to start getting others to change. I agree with Nicole when she said that we should not use stereotypes to swayed our opinion on someone. Not all blacks, whites, asians, latinos are the same and, we do not need to treat them with the racial bias that was imbedded in our minds at a young age.
Moreover, Nicole’s response of “Scenes and Un-Scenes: Class Dismissed”, explains how people tend to believe anything these days without looking up hard facts. Nicole explains that today, people are becoming more open with talking about different issues because of tv shows, music and ads. Although I agree with that, I think there is still a ton more people can do to add to the conversation. People become blind to issues that are happening all across the country when they hear it repetitively, and they begin to wonder whether or not these issues are really a problem. I believe that people do not like to discuss different topics, whether it comes to race, politics, LGBTQ+ issues etc. because they have a fear of being too controversial.
Meaning of Name Assignment
The origin of my full name is from all around the world. My first name, Tori, originates from Japan and it means “bird”. My middle name, Angelique, has a French origin and it means “like an angel”. My last name, Santiago, originates from Spain and it means “Saint James”. My first name was given to me because my mom wanted a child named after her, after they named my brother after my dad. However, in my dad’s family it’s tradition to keep the same first letter in every kids name–it was a “t”. So, my mother being named Lori, decided to name me Tori. My parents wanted to give me a middle name that meant angel so, they named me Angelique. I don’t know why they decided to go French but my mom always told me that she wanted to nickname me angel, but the way I was when I was growing up was far form angel-like so, it never caught on. My dad’s family is from Puerto Rico so, that is where I get my last name from. I have never been embarrassed by my name before. My parents always taught me to be proud of my name and I never wanted to change it. I’m actually dreading when I get married because, then I feel like I’ll be obligated to have to change my last name.
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