Prof. Chris Gilliard
When should we talk as if
Unwittingly or quite knowingly people have built systems of inequalities around race but people have also built identity, friendships, and college mates around it. Nevertheless, several people I recently interviewed never appeared to be certain when race was a good thing or when it was a bad thing to talk about, which in my mind leaves us all struggling with a particularly intimidating question: When should we talk as if race matters? The culture of the Snyder-Phillips dorm, in my observation, appears to be different where it concerns race relative to minorities. My analysis is in comparison to the atmosphere of Shaw Hall, which is where I presently reside. From my perspective, the treatment of minorities, mainly African Americans, isn’t appropriate compared to the way non-minorities are treated. I have witnessed African Americans in the Snyder-Phillips dorm being regularly avoided by Caucasian students while at the same time I have seen non-minority groups gravitate towards people who are similar to their social background. People tend to interact and interrelate with others who appear to be like them. This includes mannerisms, physical appearance, choice of clothing, and etc. What is interesting is how many people come to obtain these characteristics that historically separate people, although most would immediately assume that it is race related. However, I believe that there is a better explanation. A person’s behaviors and mannerisms are based on their social background and culture. For the most part, how someone is nurtured and exposed to a certain environment often forms the basis of their values, goals, and interests. In the case of the divergent communicative behavior in the two dorms, the racial implications are clearly perceivable. But, having stated this, most students still feel more comfortable in a structure...
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