21 votes

If you come from a historically/actively oppressed racial/ethnic group, how has that affected you?

Admittedly this would be better under the panel setting of Kfwyre here but alas, I'm asking this question because I don't know about what happens to people under racism and organizing a discussion for people grouped by a plight you don't know about and have never experienced is probably a bad idea. Also IIRC "race" isn't really scientific. And please, correct me if needed. I know nothing about this.

Either way, this is a pretty open-ended thread, the only 2 requirements I can imagine are the one in the title and that you state what 'race'/ethnicity you are and where you are (i.e black, US or Black, South Africa or Roma, most European countries and especially Balkan ones).

13 comments

  1. [4]
    beanie
    Link
    I can't say I'm actively oppressed due solely due to my race/ethnic background, but the fact that I'm a minority (or "Other") has affected my life. I'm a Jewish-Iranian female (who has mental...
    • Exemplary

    I can't say I'm actively oppressed due solely due to my race/ethnic background, but the fact that I'm a minority (or "Other") has affected my life.

    I'm a Jewish-Iranian female (who has mental health issues - but that's a different conversation) working in the STEM field.

    Getting "Randomly Checked" at TSA is a normal thing for me that my husband playfully says "Random Check" is my middle name. It's no harm really. So what, I spend an extra couple of minutes at the security line. I think what bothers me most is the fact that the majority *doesn't believe me when I say I'm looked at/treated differently.

    I've been told to my face by more than 1 employer that they were surprised to know that I spoke English well. In one instance, my supervisor stated that when the company was looking at resumes, they were surprised to find that me and my coworker spoke English well. (Side note: my coworker's first/last name is Arabic, my last name is Arabic. Second side note: Iranians speak Farsi, my family just weirdly changed our last name to an Arabic one). I told my supervisor that we both were born, lived and were brought up in the United States, why would we have a problem with English? It could be seen in my cover letter that I'm fluent in English. He avoided the question/ brushed it off with "idk".

    It makes me wonder if their were other opportunities that I wasn't considered for based on my last name. My significant other asked me to try and submit my resume with a different last name (like that one social experiment where the person sent in his resume under different names). I told my significant other that I didn't want to start off a working relationship like that.

    I remember during an interview I asked about there diversity of female engineers in the company (specifically in the engineering/construction department). The interviewer grumbled! And quickly said "50/50!". I did not get a second interview.

    Again, these things are weird. So hard to actually prove. Maybe I didn't get a second interview because I wasn't a strong candidate. That's totally plausible.

    Socially, brownish/beige women aren't really seen as "attractive" by the majority (just look at the "Popular" page on Pornhub - no one looks like me). Or we're seen as "good girls" or "conservative". It affects how people treat me/ invite me (or not invite me) to social gatherings. Or they apologize for cursing in front of me... I curse like a sailor (no offense to sailors), why would I care if you curse? I mean, again, I get it, I need to give the benefit of the doubt. But that's the thing, I feel like I'm giving the benefit of the doubt a lot! And no one really gives me the benefit of the doubt.

    So, yeah, nothing of major consequence from outside the culture.

    Sometimes their are issues within the culture. While I was getting my bachelors degree, I received a lot of backlash from people of my own background as to why I was studying engineering. My best friends father would ask me nearly every time I came over their house what I was studying/pursuing as a career. I repeated "civil/environmental engineering" with a smile every time he asked. The last time he asked, he aggressively responded with "you're so stubborn!".

    When I was nearly done with my bachelors degree, my cousin asked me, "are you sure you don't want to be a nurse?" (Side note: nursing is seen as a more appropriate career choice for a female by my culture).

    I have been ostracized by my culture for my promiscuous tendencies and "liberal"/"western" ideals. I have been ostracized by my culture/family for dating someone outside the culture.

    I've not been allowed freedoms that my brother had while growing up solely because I was a female. I needed to be home by a certain time, I couldn't play sports with the boys, etc. I still did though. Lots and lots of rebellion. But if I put it in perspective, my mom was not allowed to bicycle or swim because she was female. She still doesn't know how to do either. But as a kid, you don't really see big-picture stuff like that.

    Other gender roles in the culture include always having to look a certain way (physically pretty/dressed up - dad and mom have both asked me to get plastic surgery), always washing dishes, serving tea and food while men sit on the couch in the other room, the value of a woman increases when she has a husband to the point that finding a husband is your sole purpose in life, etc.

    I once heard my sister's ex-husband (when they were still married) tell my sister in front of guests that "men are talking" when she tried to give her input/opinion on a subject. I'm glad they divorced. But I'm only happy if my sister is happy, and she seems pretty happy.

    But like I mentioned earlier. It's the fact that people don't believe me when I say I was/am treated differently based on my culture/background. They see it as those specific people/instances were "bad apples" or "bad places". They don't see the issue as systematically embedded in social norms/ mass media/ culture. That's what bothers me most. And I know it affects people from other backgrounds way more than it affects me. And it's even more obvious that the oppression is happening in those instances. And I boil with rage when people don't see it.

    26 votes
    1. georgebcrawford
      Link Parent
      From speaking with my female friends, that sums up their experience very well.

      But that's the thing, I feel like I'm giving the benefit of the doubt a lot! And no one really gives me the benefit of the doubt.

      From speaking with my female friends, that sums up their experience very well.

      8 votes
    2. [2]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      How do you think growing up in the US has shaped your views on other races? Have you ever had to remind yourself not to make assumptions of any other particular type of people in a similar way to...

      How do you think growing up in the US has shaped your views on other races? Have you ever had to remind yourself not to make assumptions of any other particular type of people in a similar way to how those above might have assumed of you?

      How well represented do you feel your background is in the larger debate about race in America?

      Socially, brownish/beige women aren't really seen as "attractive" by the majority

      How do you view the impact of colorism within the Iranian cultural context, if any? For both men and women.

      5 votes
      1. beanie
        Link Parent
        I like the diversity the US has, especially in the major cities. Because of my exposure to people of various races, I have been able to find that, although there are differences, there are so many...

        How do you think growing up in the US has shaped your views on other races?

        I like the diversity the US has, especially in the major cities. Because of my exposure to people of various races, I have been able to find that, although there are differences, there are so many similarities and it's so beautiful to share that experience and learn about all the different cultural norms and rituals.

        Have you ever had to remind yourself not to make assumptions of any other particular type of people in a similar way to how those above might have assumed of you?

        Sigh. I need to do this more often. I avoid making assumptions for minorities very well (or at least I think I do). I try my best to allow an individual tell me their individual views, opinions, likes and dislikes. However, and it has been brought to my attention, that I do not give the same respect to the majority (Caucasians). I recognize that this is true and I am trying my best to stop this. It usually manifests when something goes wrong, it could be something as minor as getting cut in line at the grocery store. I find myself quickly saying "oh, these white ppl". That's not okay and I recognize it's not okay and am actively changing.

        How well represented do you feel your background is in the larger debate about race in America?

        Hmm... I think we're well represented in the larger debate about race in America. However, I do feel that people from my background and culture need to work on having conversations about race and be better at contributing to the debate.

        How do you view the impact of colorism within the Iranian cultural context, if any? For both men and women.

        I can't say there is colorism within the Iranian culture. However, other western beauty standards, like having a small-swoopy nose or 2 eyebrows, have had an impact on both men and women in our culture.

        7 votes
  2. [2]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I am black, but light skinned. I also have a very serious, introverted and (seemingly) confident demeanor when outside. Sometimes I don’t even perceive racism, its below me and I’m not affected. I...

    I am black, but light skinned. I also have a very serious, introverted and (seemingly) confident demeanor when outside. Sometimes I don’t even perceive racism, its below me and I’m not affected. I find racists pitiful and ridiculous. Not worth my time.

    I also have the privilege of living in a very black city of Brazil, in which whites probably feel a greater need to hide their true colors, and the police is more gentle in my somewhat affluent neighborhood. I’m also big.

    I know people with my exact skin color that reports multiple racist episodes in their lives. I frequently think they’re mislabeling common situations and more complex conflicts as racism. I do believe racism exists, I just think it’s much less frequent than some believe (talking about my community).

    Honestly, the group that gives me more grief are other African Brazilians that think I should behave in certain ways that they consider adequate for someone of my ethnicity. I don’t practice African-Brazilian religion. I don’t care about the color of the artists I like, and most of them are white. I do like black music in general, but guys like Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne, and Robert Smith are the ones that make my heart pound stronger. Spike Lee is a genius, but I like Spielberg the most. I don’t dance samba—in fact I don’t dance at all. I’m just a black dude that loves pop culture and rock and roll. So leave me be!

    11 votes
    1. culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      Can you speak to the difference in the dynamics of race in Brazil vs. what you know of the US? e.g. preto/pardo etc. vs. US "Black"? I know this is a very broad topic but I'm not asking for a...

      Can you speak to the difference in the dynamics of race in Brazil vs. what you know of the US? e.g. preto/pardo etc. vs. US "Black"? I know this is a very broad topic but I'm not asking for a dissertation. Whatever you've noticed or wondered about would be illuminating.

      5 votes
  3. [2]
    The-Toon
    Link
    I'm half white half Chinese who looks Chinese living in Southern California. As for how it has affected me, not much? My area is 27% Asian, so I've never been much of a minority here. Online, I've...

    I'm half white half Chinese who looks Chinese living in Southern California. As for how it has affected me, not much?

    My area is 27% Asian, so I've never been much of a minority here. Online, I've seen Asian American's called "Schrodinger's minority", which nicely sums up my status. On one hand, I'm a POC. On the other hand, I feel that I'm not really considered one. I do admit that I haven't faced many of the issues usually faced by minorities though. I also generally meet the model minority stereotype, for what it matters. For the record, I'm a high school student, so I haven't been exposed to a lot of things.

    Also, Asians are a very broad category, so I feel like I identify with East and South East Asians more than I identify with South Asians.

    10 votes
    1. culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      Do you have any experience living or at least traveling outside of Southern California? Do you have any idea how different the racial climate is there as compared to elsewhere? What kind of...

      Do you have any experience living or at least traveling outside of Southern California? Do you have any idea how different the racial climate is there as compared to elsewhere?

      What kind of knowledge do you have about the history of race relations in Southern Cali/your area? Do you think it affects people today in any way?

      Does your mixed heritage ever lead to odd interactions with either side of your family, or your wider community in general?

      Are you aware of any difficulties your parents may have had with regards to racial issues? Do you think your viewpoint on race is any different from theirs, or any other members of previous generations of your family?

      2 votes
  4. Kremor
    Link
    Not what you asked, but as someone from a working class family in a developing country I can't stop feeling a little bit jelous from people from developed countries that can travel the world as...

    Not what you asked, but as someone from a working class family in a developing country I can't stop feeling a little bit jelous from people from developed countries that can travel the world as they wish, is not just the traveling is also the job opportunities that they have because they were born in the right country.

    4 votes
  5. feigneddork
    Link
    I am a Pakistani male in the UK and the worst discrimination I ever experienced was after 9/11 where people would treat me very differently with either positive or negative discrimination. That...

    I am a Pakistani male in the UK and the worst discrimination I ever experienced was after 9/11 where people would treat me very differently with either positive or negative discrimination. That was in secondary school/high school, and eventually I found a group of nerds like myself who looked beyond my skin colour and appreciated my shenanigans, like getting WinZip installed on all the school computers so we could install and play Doom etc.

    In university (about 4 years after, when I was 18), I distinctly remember seeing people going into the train toilets while leaving their bags, despite the sign saying not to. Me thinking that the culture was somewhat relaxed, one time I left my bag behind while going to the toilet at a train station stop. I came back and found out someone essentially reported my bag for being "suspicious". All it contained was an organisation planner, a pencil case, a Japanese book, and my lunch. That was it.

    I've been stopped a few times at Gatwick Airport, even had my stuff searched. Once the police officers found nothing and/or confirmed I was genuinely doing nothing but trying to get to my train station in a hurry, they apologised but wrote one of those event things. I'd end up missing my train. This used to happen a lot more when I used to go to uni as I used to travel by train a lot. Now I go by car, and the only time I was pulled over was because the police officer looked at my rusty tin can of a car and (wrongly) assumed I didn't get MOT done, but I would probably chalk that under drivers in the UK rather than racial discrimination.

    Another time on the train, I was taking a PC tower case that the computer science department in uni was giving away - really crap PCs, but they were free, so I took it. While waiting at Gatwick, a uniformed and armed officer came over and asked for my driving license. He didn't find anything (because I didn't steal it), but boy was that guy incredibly suspicious of me.

    I rarely go out, but I remember one time I was staying with my secondary school/high school friends at one of their houses, and I was there until 11pm just watching TV and chatting - that was it. I remember I got many calls from my sister telling me to come home because one of the friends I was hanging around with was a woman and they automatically thought if these kids stay up together, they're obviously going to do it. Meanwhile we were just watching Family Guy and laughing, but because I picked up my other friend, I had to drop her off and come back home. It's stupid, but even now I tend to watch the clock a little bit just to avoid future drama, regardless of the friends I'm hanging out with.

    Now I'm in my thirties and I don't use the train that often, I don't really receive as much racial harrassment as much. The only thing I've noticed is that I'm now trying to get into dating and the biggest thing I've observed is that I'm far too westernised for South East Asian folks (more speicifically, they can't handle the fact I'm an Atheist) and too South East Asian for white people.

    But to be fair, right now I'm not much of a catch - I live at home with my parents, I can't really travel for dietary reasons (phenylketonuria/PKU), I'm not a foodie because of phenylketonuria, and I'm an atheist. A few of those things would probably be a dealbreaker, but altogether it is almost impossible. Oh well, things to work on in the future.

    4 votes
  6. [3]
    krg
    Link
    Well, it has effected me in the way that history compounds. That is, my forebears may have been subjected to discrimination that limited their ability to "succeed" (my maternal grandmother, for...

    Well, it has effected me in the way that history compounds. That is, my forebears may have been subjected to discrimination that limited their ability to "succeed" (my maternal grandmother, for example, went to a segregated school), which would have implications for their children (who also may have been subjected to discrimination) and their children's children, etc... eventually leading up to ME. By the power of compound interest, I could've been a trust-fund baby if my ancestors were allowed the chance to accumulate wealth!

    In my waking life, I can't say I've really ever felt negatively discriminated against. BUT, my waking life has consisted of my existing in a place where my ethnic background is the/a norm. Nationally, that may not be the case. Though, I think my skin is light enough and my features ambiguous enough to not draw negative attention from those who would discriminate.

    Hell, at this point based on virtue of my last name I might become a token diversity hire! The good kind of discrimination, and I'd take it..because I need a damn job.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      Are you still assumed to be a member of the local majority, then? Have you had any experiences of being misidentified, and possibly any resultant difference in treatment? Have you had any lessons...

      Though, I think my skin is light enough and my features ambiguous enough to not draw negative attention from those who would discriminate.

      Are you still assumed to be a member of the local majority, then? Have you had any experiences of being misidentified, and possibly any resultant difference in treatment?

      Have you had any lessons passed down to you from previous generations that shape how you think of your society when it comes to race?

      How diverse is your social circle, both within and beyond your immediate closest friends and family? Would you like to change it in any way? Any pros or cons you see to that?

      In what ways might being a light-skinned minority be better than darker-skinned, and what ways might it be worse? Both nationally and locally.

      2 votes
      1. krg
        Link Parent
        The local majority, growing up, was always some variation of "Hispanic." The only cases of being misidentified would be when I was assumed to speak fluent Spanish and, instead, I spoke nearly no...

        Are you still assumed to be a member of the local majority, then? Have you had any experiences of being misidentified, and possibly any resultant difference in treatment?

        The local majority, growing up, was always some variation of "Hispanic." The only cases of being misidentified would be when I was assumed to speak fluent Spanish and, instead, I spoke nearly no Spanish. And, there is a difference in treatment in that case, for sure!

        *Oh, actually... I've had a couple of occasions where I was hypothesized to be half Japanese/Korean. By Asian cohorts.

        Have you had any lessons passed down to you from previous generations that shape how you think of your society when it comes to race?

        No, not really. Or, none that were explicitly framed in a racial way. Though, I'm sure some "lessons" had an underlying racial component that even the "teacher" was unaware of.

        Well, my mother named me and my brother with the consideration of Latino-sounding names being a negative in society. So, our first names are very "Anglo", in spite of our very Latino last names.

        How diverse is your social circle, both within and beyond your immediate closest friends and family? Would you like to change it in any way? Any pros or cons you see to that?

        While the town I grew up in was mostly Latin-American, there was also a decent Asian-American contingent. A few white folk and black folk, but ~80% Latino, ~15% Asian. My social circle consisted of people from many different ethnic backgrounds (though, weighted somewhat in the makeup of the city). I don't recall it ever being something that came up. I'm lucky to have been exposed to many different cultures in a suburb(ish) of Los Angeles. Even in the low-income apartment complex I grew up in. I played with a few white kids, a few black kids, and Latino kids (I can't recall any Asian kids). The implications of ethnic baggage was never a factor. Hmm..why would I change it?

        Uh... my family is my family, so, naturally, they share pretty much the same ethnic makeup as me.

        In what ways might being a light-skinned minority be better than darker-skinned, and what ways might it be worse? Both nationally and locally.

        "Blackness" or, in this case, "darkness" has been a stigma for... quite a while, I believe. An unfortunate fact of life... but, light skin has generally been perceived universally as "better." I'm not pale-as-fuck, but I'm probably close enough to "white" to not draw negative attention from bigoted white folk. Though...I'd probably have to travel through majority white areas to really determine that.

        3 votes