Reading Reflection #2: Implicit Bias and Race

Based on your reading of “Trouble in Mind: To Be Black Is Blue in America” by IBé

  1. What was your emotional response when you read about IBé’s experiences as a Black man in St. Cloud? What personal experiences of your own can you connect or compare to those he describes?
    • When reading Trouble in Mind, it opened my mind to see what its really like to view and experience the world though different eyes. Emotionally, I felt hurt and ashamed. I was hurting because of the hurt he was experiencing and felt ashamed, as a white person, of what other whites were doing to him. I am from St. Cloud and I hate to say that this happens daily. I personally don’t understand how people can be so mean to others no matter the race, gender, age, etc. I haven’t experienced anything similar to IBe but I have witnessed people who have been treated differently because of their skin color, or so I suppose. I was at the grocery store and a man was being ignored by a store clerk when he asked where something was. The store employee helped a white middle-aged woman find her salad dressing and when he passed the man he said rudely, “move” and mentioned something else under his voice. After helping the lady, the black man asked if he could point him in the direction of the taco seasoning and the employee ignored him completely. After the man asked again the employee rudely mocked what he asked for and said, “I don’t need to help you with anything and walked away.”
  2. On page 74, IBé shares his thought process when he encounters microaggressions or discrimination. He then quotes James Baldwin as saying, “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” IBé adds, “Even if you are not raging mad, you may be losing your mind. In other words, trouble in mind.” What do you think he means by this?
    • I think he is talking about how the color of your skin is how people see you. No matter how kind or rude a person may be, people will judge you by the color of your skin before they even speak to you. People have assumptions based on what they hear or see that will be the first thing they think of when seeing people different than themselves. Many people don’t think this relates to them, but I believe that we all have these assumptions weather they are good or bad based on past experiences or what we have seen.

Based on your viewing of Microaggressions in the Classroom

  1. Describe a time you witnessed or experienced a microaggression, in the classroom or within another group experience. What happened? How was it addressed (or not addressed)? How did people react? How did it make you feel?
    • A few examples that I have seen in classroom are: 1. Setting lower expectations from particular groups. 2. Calling on certain people and disregarding others based on race. 3. Making assumptions on students’ backgrounds, family lifestyle, or other personal comments. Many times, the students who are being targeted feel less of themselves and it makes the class harder for them and a less welcoming environment. People’s reactions differ, sometimes people notice it right away but will keep to themselves, and others will speak up. When put into a situation like those above, I tend to keep quiet the first time but once it becomes repetitive, I do speak up. Personally I feel bad for the people who are being targeted and put down, especially by people who are supposed to be role models.
  2. How important do you think it is for students to feel a sense of belonging within the classroom and within the university? How can feeling like you belong and are welcome affect one’s ability to do well and succeed?
    • I think it is important for people to feel a sense of belonging no matter where they are. The feeling of belonging is considered a basic human need and is necessary for individuals. When feeling like you belong, individuals feel more motivated, relaxed, and part of a community.  Feeling a sense of belongness has a direct correlation to academic performance meaning the more welcomed or a part of something the better they do in class.

Based on your reading of “Do Conversations About Race Belong in the Classroom?,”

  1. How diverse was your high school? If you identify as white, how much did you talk or think about what it means to be white in the United States? If you didn’t talk or think about being white, do you think that was itself a privilege?
    • My high school was very diverse with whites slowly becoming the minority. In high school I found myself getting along with people of all and every different race. I liked having friends and wanted others to feel the support and encouragement of friends as well, so I was and wanted to be friends with everyone. I think being white in high school was an advantage by itself. Looking back, I do believe that being white in school was a privilege with certain teachers. Many teachers would call on white students to answer questions and would ask them to help with specific tasks.
  2. Do you think conversations about race should happen in school? Why or why not (please answer thoughtfully)?
    • Yes, I believe that race should be discussed in school to help students understand the importance of others and their individual differences. They should teach about all different races and what is specific to them. Especially in a world that is becoming more diverse, being familiar with other differences and knowing how to address them are important concepts that should be taught to students.