Heart of Whiteness

by grace_ocoin on September 26, 2016 - 10:49pm

I chose this article because, from the first paragraph, the writing style drew me in. I enjoyed the way the author began by telling an account of his own life. His point is to show that people are not born biased. He further explains that racism and discrimination is something that is instilled in us. It becomes natural to us. Without even thinking, whether or not it is intentional, we have certain biases and stereotypes. As an example of this, he talks about how one might arch an eyebrow toward a friend when a gay man makes a stereotypical gesture, or when a black person pronounces ask as "axe."

He makes a point to say that some things have never changed. As much as this country has progressed in the sense of racism, some aspects have not made such major steps. For example, different races and cultures raise their children separately from one another. Also, as much as we try to ignore stereotypes and pretend that this separation does not exist, it does. As much as we try to filter it and prevent our children from being aware of this, they will be affected by racial segregation. "We have settled into a comfortable relationship with a justice system that is palpably unjust." Tobias Wolff, 2014. Heart of Whiteness.

 

Although most of the article involves storytelling of personal experiences, the author backs up what he says with facts involving statistics of the crime and incarceration rates of both races. To conclude his article, the author uses an example. He talks about how his daughter would always describe her best friend to him and his wife. She raved about how nice and funny this girl was, but she failed to mention that she was black. This is because children are not focused on skin color. Rather, they pay attention to their character.  I really like the way he wrapped up this account. He said that this was what Martin Luther King intended. MLK Jr's dream is still a dream, and it will be until "we stop pretending that we have already attained it."

 

Link to article:

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/tobias-wolff-on-race

 

Comments

The title of this post “Heart of Whiteness” dragged my attention because it is an issue that concerns me a lot. I think it is true that our society thinks that racism significantly decreased towards years, however, many does not realize that racism is still very present in our everyday life.

I did not realize before that society in general, was comfortable with racial segregation within the justice system. People who are less targeted by racial segregation are less concerned by this injustice. It is very important that not only those who are targeted stand up for themselves, instead everybody should support them because they are just like everybody else, human beings.

When you said that racism and discrimination can occur whether is it intentional or not, it made me think of the definition of racism; It can be an implicit or explicit set of beliefs, assumptions and ideologies that are sometimes driven by stereotypes. This comes back to the main idea that we saw in our class and it is that race is a social construct because if it is socially accepted, it becomes really hard to destroy that fallacy. In the post, you referred to the author who talks about his daughter who keeps talking positively about her best friend and that she never mentioned that she was black. That being said, it demonstrates that racism is a social construct because a kid is not aware of all the stereotypes and beliefs that the society holds against “race” so they are able to be neutral and concentrate on the person itself instead of focusing on their physical appearance, beliefs, religion, etc.

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