Twinkies, Oreos, Coconuts, Chocolate-Dippers, Bananas, Cookies. Think More Racist & You’ll Understand!

by aller1 on November 19, 2013 - 1:12am

     Growing up in a community where the majority of the people are a certain race—one not of your own—can be very difficult. In some scenarios, being a different race from the community isn’t really something pointed out, however in others, people sometimes make it known that your background is not the same as theirs. In the documentary Somewhere Between (Goldstein Knowlton, 2011), a film about four different girls and how their lives have been after being adopted in the U.S. because of China’s “One Child Policy”, being identified solely by your race in a neighborhood is pretty common. The documentary highlights many of the ways that race was the first, if not the only, thing some people saw when looking at an Asian girl in a White community. The girls explain that there have been countless times where they’ve had weird looks while with their adopted parents, been teased about being the only Chinese person in their school/community, and have had stereotypical remarks about being Asian.  Jenna is one of the girls in this film, and in one particular scene, Jenna’s mother even pointed out how evident it is that Jenna is the only Asian girl in their “white town,” so she strives to make it seem like she has everything under control. Another girl, Ann, talks about joining the color guard—known as a “reject sport” in their community for kids that don’t fit in with the crowd. She states joining this sport specifically because of her different race, and it’s not something unexpected by their school; in other words, all the stand-outs were on color guard. Sara and Jenna are sisters in the film that talk about how it is being the minority in their community, especially pointing out how easy it is to realize they they’re the only Asian ones when going out. Jenna also talks about the comfort that’s not there when not around their race, and talks about how comforting it feels to be in her Asian boyfriend’s house surrounded by his Asian relatives, stating that “there’s a sense of belonging and comfort” when having the same “external appearance” as his family. This documentary showed the many different ways these girls, living all over the United States, felt that same outcast as if they were all in one neighborhood.

            I can really connect with this thesis, as well as its supporting evidence in the documentary, and have personal experience of living in a community and not being of the majority race. I am half Filipino and half Puerto Rican—yet look more Hispanic. When around my family and cousins from my Filipino side, I was out-casted by my cousins a lot and was always called “The Boricua”, a term used to describe Puerto Ricans. When around my Hispanic family, I felt a lot more welcomed and felt like I belonged to this side of my heritage, therefore embracing it more. Although I know both Spanish and Tagalog at a basic level, I never felt comfortable speaking Tagalog because I don’t “look the part”; I feel people would look at me and wonder why does that Spanish girl speak this Asian language? My family also lived in Canarsie, Brooklyn—an area heavily populated by Haitians and Jamaicans. Growing up, I always felt in competition with everyone to prove I can dance, sing, and play sports just as well they can. It even felt weird walking into an Asian grocery store with my Filipino mom; nobody thought we were even related—let alone me being her daughter. This film portrayed great situations of how difficult it can be to live in a community and be part of the minority race.

 

 

 

Goldstein Knowlton, L. (Director/Co-Producer) & Verducci, P. (Co-Producer). (2011). Somewhere Between [DVD]. United States. Long Shot Factory and Ladylike Films.

Comments

I find your article really interesting – and well-written, by the way. The topic of racism is never really far from our minds – us, Quebecers – since assimilation and cultural diversity have always been an important part of our history. As we form the only French-speaking population in North America, Quebec people (at least, a considerable part of them) tend to look to protect their identity and culture. Over the years, it led to clashes with different linguistic and ethnic groups – notably, the Anglophones. In fact, Quebecers have even been called, in some occasions, racists and/or xenophobes.

Personally, I don’t think these “distinct, weird looks” as you describe them, are necessarily the result of racism. For sure, racism is present in our society; it would be utopic to deny it. However, I believe this outcast is also caused by our tendency for “labelling”. We always need to classify – that is, label – things (and people, obviously) in our clean, ordered minds and lives. Without making the situation better or of less importance, I think of this as comforting. I ought to believe that there’s no hate (well, not always – not in all cases) beneath these “weird looks”, that these simply are the result of stereotypes, which we ought to break collectively, as a society.

On a sidenote, I ought to encourage minorities to “assume” themselves. There’s no shame in being who you are – and that, whoever and wherever you are. In fact, I would suggest that there’s pride to be taken in your distinct identity.

I chose to comment on this because I started reading the title and when I got to the end I try to figure out what all these references were. Some of them I was able to get alone but others I had to ask people if they know what they were referring to. I find it sad that in the world that we live in be start to label children that have been adopted. People will label other people and there nothing we can do to stop it. But when children start to feel unwelcome and reject for the people in the town there is a limit. The child did not choose to be adopted nor did they choose where they would live and with whom. It is unfair for them to be part of the discrimination that is happening to them.

I don't understand how come this is still happening today. Labeling people by their origin is stupid in my point of view. People shouldn't do that, it is mean. I've never had this issue, but I feel so mad for those who does. People who do judge should know better by know that it is incorrect. It is incorrect to reject people and make them feel unwelcome just because of their origins, but sadly racism and labeling will always be present anywhere. And as in the movie, these girls are being made fun of because they are the only Asians girls or people look a them weird when their with their mother, and I don't understand why people do that. I have a best friend that is an adopted Asian and it changes absolutely nothing to me weither she is adopted or not. In your story you told that one girl even felt good while being with her Asian boyfriend, and felt accepted in his family. It is sad that she fells this way only at her house or at her boyfriend's house. This is a feeling nobody should feel.

I don't understand how come this is still happening today. Labeling people by their origin is stupid in my point of view. People shouldn't do that, it is mean. I've never had this issue, but I feel so mad for those who does. People who do judge should know better by know that it is incorrect. It is incorrect to reject people and make them feel unwelcome just because of their origins, but sadly racism and labeling will always be present anywhere. And as in the movie, these girls are being made fun of because they are the only Asians girls or people look a them weird when their with their mother, and I don't understand why people do that. I have a best friend that is an adopted Asian and it changes absolutely nothing to me weither she is adopted or not. In your story you told that one girl even felt good while being with her Asian boyfriend, and felt accepted in his family. It is sad that she fells this way only at her house or at her boyfriend's house. This is a feeling nobody should feel.

I thought this was a great post! It was very interesting because you gave a really good summary of the film you chose and then you connected it to your own personal experiences. I come from a small town outside of Syracuse, NY that is populated mostly by white people. There were few black, hispanic, or puerto rican people in my high school. It was definitely obvious that there was no much diversity however it was never an issue. I personally never experienced any racism through out high school however i'm sure it was present. I like the way you connected your experiences in life with the movie because it gives the whole summary a more personal feel. Good job!

Having watched the documentary Somewhere Between I completely agree that the film did a great job of portraying what it’s like to be part of a minority group in a community. Although I cannot relate to the situation personally I do feel empathy towards it. I’ve grown up in a predominantly white town where there are only a few different races where the minorities are not heavily populated. I have an understanding of how the girls in the documentary feel, and I’m sure the members of my community that are part of the minority group can relate even more to the situation. This post has made me think more about how the people in my town that are minorities must feel. It’s not as though I look at these people and think that they are different, but I’m sure at times they feel that they don’t fit in because they are surrounded by more white people than they are their own race. This is a great post to get people thinking, and all them to become more informed.

First off, this is a very well-written blog. Secondly, I thought this was a good description of the movie. When you mentioned about how they are Asians living in a white community it reminded me of my home town. I actually had an incident 2 years ago that involved racial slurs and sexism (although the situation was indeed blow out of proportion. Every year for the past 10+ years, the Friday before Thanksgiving, ¼ of my school would go to lunch at our local Chinese restaurant. The students threw soy sauce packets at any student that walked in. the big controversy, however, was about the sign on the door that read: “Chinksgiving.” This was seen as offensive and racist. I only mentioned this story for the racist aspect. The difference between a Chinese baby being adopted to an American family and a white baby being adopted into an American family is that you can clearly tell the Chinese baby is adopted which makes people give weird looks. On another personal level, I understand what you mean about being in a community where you are not the “majority race.” I have been to the Bahamas and to the Dominican Republic (Republica Dominicana.) I am a white, middle class American and traveling to these countries made me no longer part of the majority race. I can speak a basic level of Spanish but I looked and sounded funny when I would try to communicate with the townspeople so I understand how you feel.

The title of this article caught my attention, making me want to read more which has led me to comment on it. It is unsettling that these names get thrown around so often simply due to ones culture. Although I cannot personally relate to being subjected to racism, I do have a friend that has. My friend, who was adopted has experienced a lot of harsh name calling which has left her feeling very insecure and isolated. I live in a growing town in Rochester, New York that does have a wide variety of cultures within it. Although we have an assortment of backgrounds and races there is still racism floating around the halls of our high schools. I can’t imagine having to live day to day being scared of what name I would be called or what kind of treatment I would be experiencing due to race, which ultimately is uncontrollable. This documentary and article has opened my eyes a bit. Even though I haven’t been subjected to these experiences there are many people who do, and a good majority of it is happening right in front of me. As for the documentary itself, it is concerning that Jenna only feels comfortable at her boyfriend’s house due to their similarity in race. It is even more concerning that we as a society have made it that way. I really enjoyed this documentary overall, and your post hits a good point home. Hopefully someday race won’t be so much of an issue and people can live happily and feel comfortable with themselves, and where they are no matter their nationality.

You have made some great points in your reflection on the movie . The feeling of being left out or feeling like an outcast is expressed fully in the movie Somewhere Between when the girls talk about their personal experiences with being adopted and not fitting in with the rest of the people surrounding them. It is unfortunate that in the United States, people are still feeling like this. This country is full of diverse people and consists of many different cultures coming together. Sharing your personal information and connecting it to the movie helps to express that this is a common feeling for many people living in the United States. However, I come from a small town outside of Buffalo, NY where there is not a lot of mixed races. The majority of my town and students that attended my high school were Caucasian. The feeling of being a minority was felt by only a handful of students in my school. This is very unfortunate that people have such strong and diverse feelings toward each other. Children who are adopted or of a different race should not feel like they do not belong or feel discriminated against. Labeling people because of their race or their origin is awful. All people should feel comfortable in their surroundings and feel accepted as a member of society. I cannot imagine the feeling that people experience every day, due to the negativity that is presented towards people of a different race. This is an unfair situation and hopefully sometime soon the issue will be resolved and discrimination between races will be abolished.

The title of the post is what caught my attention. At first I didn’t quite understand what your article would be about, but by the time I read the entire title, I knew it was racism. Although I went to a high school where there were only two African Americans, and a very small number of other races, I do recognize some of these terms and even witnessed people being referred to as some of these. I think it’s sad that people get discriminated against like this and I was also confused as to why your family from the Filipino side didn’t accept you just because of the way you looked. I also thought the film was very interesting and I remembered the young girls saying they felt like they were white on the inside and Asian on the outside. To me, this showed that they could adapt to a different culture and accept themselves so I don’t understand why people still find it difficult to accept people of other cultures today.

The very original title to your post is what made me click on it and start to read it. I personally have never been in a situation where I was the only person in my town that was of a different cultural origin than everyone else. However, do to the fact that my town lacks much cultural diversity; there are some people that I’m sure feel this way. In my graduating class of 148 students, there was only one student of African descent. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go to a school where I didn't look like I fit in at all, or like in your case, feeling like you don’t fit in with your own family. It must be awful to feel like you don’t belong. The only reason that people even notice these differences at all is because we live in a society that is still a little prejudice toward physical differences that show you are different than someone else. I think that it is really cool that you chose a film that you can relate to so well and that you were able to share personal information like that in your film review.

The very original title to your post is what made me click on it and start to read it. I personally have never been in a situation where I was the only person in my town that was of a different cultural origin than everyone else. However, do to the fact that my town lacks much cultural diversity; there are some people that I’m sure feel this way. In my graduating class of 148 students, there was only one student of African descent. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go to a school where I didn't look like I fit in at all, or like in your case, feeling like you don’t fit in with your own family. It must be awful to feel like you don’t belong. The only reason that people even notice these differences at all is because we live in a society that is still a little prejudice toward physical differences that show you are different than someone else. I think that it is really cool that you chose a film that you can relate to so well and that you were able to share personal information like that in your film review.

Racism is a label in life it's self. All four girls in the documentary were being labeled as the "out casts" or "misfits". It is really unfortunate that American society does this to everyone who is not caucasian. It is not fair having to live your life feeling uncomfortable and forcing your self to fit in because nobody will accept you. In today's day and age, it is a little easier for asians to fit in, but not all the time. Our society is so judgmental, and puts a stereotype on almost all minorities, and they are usually negative. This gives society a bad idea about a certain culture making us dislike them all because that is what the media says. It is not fair, and you have pointed that out very well.

This is such an interesting and well written article. The title immediately caught my attention as I was looking through all of the posts. I agree with many of your arguments and I do not think it is right what so ever they many people get discriminated against and become an "outcast" in society just because of their race. Racism is such an important issue. Where I'm from, there isn't much diversity. Most people are generally white, so I have never experienced exactly how the girls in the movie feel. I personally think that it is unfair that people don't except them for who they are. America is a very diverse country so I feel that it shouldn't be a big issue that they aren't the same race as everyone else in the society they live in.

This is extremely relevant in today’s society no matter where it is, racial profiling is something people cannot avoid. I went to a school that was extremely diverse and still there were extreme social groups that were labelled as one thing or another and judged accordingly. Blacks were seen as “hood”, Hispanics were “dirty”, Whites were “wanna be’s”, and it seemed as if there was no escape from the stereotypes. It is only amplified as the scales are tipped in one direction or another. This argument was very important because society needs to see individuals not groups of races. The entire blog was on point and extremely effective given specific examples and the personal experience! Great job

The title of your piece was really intriguing and made me want to read your article and see what you had to say. As I was reading your article I could completely understand what you were trying to say. Throughout that movie I couldn’t help but think of all the people in the United States that do get treated differently because of their race. Throughout my high school I didn’t see a lot people being treated differently because of their race. I have never personally been treated differently by others because of my race but that is probably because I am a part of the majority race. Even though I am a part of the majority race it doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen other people in my town victimized because of their race. I personally know a family that adopted a young colored boy and I will see people give them a quick stare just because he’s not the same race as his parents. I know that this takes place all the time and sometimes I don’t even think people realize that they do it.

I can relate to your blog post a lot but in a different situation. instead of it being with my family it was with my elementary school. I went to a school that had both Haspanic and African American, which is what I am. However the majority of the school was Hispanic.Going to a dominitly Hispanic school made me feel like I didn't belong there. I had some African American friends but that was it. You was always able to see the separtion between the two races even when we got to the 5th grade you could still see the separation between all of us. I felt that while in school i was an outcast but after school i felt more comfortable.