Monday, October 29, 2007

Frank Wu: Yellow

In regards to the quote from Wu, "As a member of a minority group everywhere in m country except among family or through the self-conscious effort to find other Asian Americans, I alternate between being conspicuous and vanishing, being stared at or looked through..." I can somewhat relate to him being a minority myself. Stereotypes is really something that destroys people's will to actually get to want to know a person. People I believe are too afraid to try to look outside of the box and instead they only compare or relate people to what they think they know.

Comic Book Cover No. 25 Rangers Comics: Doctor Death from Tokyo

I chose this comic book cover because I continue to find it interesting how the white women were portrayed as being helpless against minorities. This cover showcases a Japanese man getting ready to cut off the head of a white woman. The white woman is bond by her ankles and wrist to a wheel mechanism of some sort over a pit of fire. Then in the distance there is a white man who is there to rescue the damsel in distress. The man has some kind of rope with balls on the end which he has wrapped around the Japanese’s knife to prevent him from cutting the woman. Also, it seems as though the white man is holding a gun and is getting ready to use it if he needs to against the Japanese. The white woman is showed as looking to be very clean and dressed very nicely. Her hair is perfect with no strand out of place and she has the lovely golden blonde hair that many white women are infamous for. The Japanese man looks somewhat deranged and scary. In this comic cover, the Japanese man favors a gorilla or ape by the face. The white man looks to be just an average Joe but in the uniform. He doesn’t appear to be any type of superhuman with powers.

The damsel in distress reminds me of things we have discussed in class. During the video of Ethic Notions they showed a snippet of Birth of a Nation where a black man was chasing a white woman. The white woman felt that it would be better to just end her own life than to fall in the heads of the black man. So in the movie she jumped from the cliff as the black man got closer. This comic book cover relates in the aspect that after they white men of the country found out what happened to the white woman it caused a war against the black men and white men. The above comic showcases the same thing with the exception of it being a black man. Instead this shows that white women are in danger of all minorities. The Japanese is also looked upon as being an animal like that of the black man. As I mentioned before, his facial features are similar to those of an ape or gorilla. Also, this comic cover goes against the initial views of how Americans viewed the Japanese. In chapter 10 of Takaki, he mentions that the Japanese were thought to be the “model minority” but just like during their times of work in Hawaii with their protests they proved otherwise. This comic cover shows them in a different light as well. It shows they are not the quiet, passive people that don’t start trouble.

In my opinion, I feel as though this comic cover amazes me. I never knew comics books also were a source of advertising racism. I find this to be very saddening because the minds of children were being polluted with things the “man” wanted them to feel and see. I think being surrounded by racism and hate would be enough but to pollute the minds of innocence and not give them the chance to feel how they want is wrong. I think it is wrong that Americans, even today, label a group of people for the actions done by only some. We have to look through the eyes of our “enemy” understand why they are the way they are, how they view us, and what makes them the different and the same as us. We need to stop fearing each other and start to enjoy each others company because no one is going anywhere anytime soon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How Jews Became White Folks and What that Says about Race in America

The thesis for How Jews Became White Folks and What that Says about Race in America by Karen Brodkin, to be “I tell this story to show the institutional nature of racism and the centrality of state policies to creating and changing races.” (39) Brodkin is stating that it took for policies to be created and some races to be outcaste in order for other races to gain superiority as well as certain privileges over other races.

She starts off the article with stating her feelings about learning about the history of America and how even certain people within the white class was classified as being inferior to its own kind. She stated how her parents found this not to be much of a surprise because “they expect anti-Semitism to be part of the fabric of daily life….” (38) Brodkin did not believe that Jews got most of their success “due to [Jews] own efforts and abilities, reinforced by a culture that valued sticking together, hard work, education, and deferred gratification.” (38) Instead, she believed most of the success Jews obtained was to due to Affirmative Action. In other words, the privileges which one race was not able to obtain due to laws that were issued, entitled other races those privileges. In America everything was based on superiority and inferiority. In 1916, Madison Grant who was author of The Passing of the Great Race “popularized notions developed by William Z. Ripley and Daniel Brinton that there existed three of four major European races, ranging from the superior Nordics of northwestern Europe to the inferior southern and eastern races of the Alpines, Mediterraneans, and worst of all, Jews.” (40) Grant was saying that there is only one race which was superior to all other races and that was pure Nordics. Every other race was looked as to be inferior and lower class. Post World War II was when a lot of changes begun. New laws for housing and employment begun to surface but these laws applied to everyone of the white race which ultimately included Jews and other European immigrant groups which were once outcast as being inferior to upper class white. The newly created laws exile African Americans and caused them to have a much more difficult time obtaining housing as well as employment and sufficient education. Brodkin states how these new laws and programs which were created post World War II made it “that white men of northwest European ancestry and white men of southeastern European ancestry were treated equally in theory and in practice with regard to the benefits they received, was part of the larger postwar whitening of Jews and other eastern and southern Europeans.” (49) The benefits, laws, programs and privileges which were obtained by all whites including Jews brought them together more as a people. The privileges Jews obtained allowed them to further advance in America whereas the government only offered African Americans “cement boots of segregation, redlining, urban renewal, and discrimination.” (50) If it wasn’t for African Americans being discriminated against Jews might not have gotten their privileges so easily is what Brodkin felt.

Brodkin stated, “I want to suggest that Jewish success is a product not only of ability but also of the removal of powerful social barriers to its realization.” (39) I agree with Brodkin completely because throughout the entire article there was no mention of how Jews fought or protested against things they found to be unfair to their people. African Americans actually had to fight whether it was physical or verbal or non-violent to get the little “equality” we have today. Instead, Jews obtained much of their success due to upper-class Americans trying to keep African Americans from advancing and climbing the social, political, and economic ladders. Brodkin said that she and her brother now own their own homes whereas prior to World War II and all the privileges they obtained it would not have been possible. She said, “The truth is that affluence has been the exception and that real upward mobility has required massive affirmative action programs….” (50) In other words, someone has to be kept out of the circle in order for others to gain.

This article was interesting because it gave me the opportunity to learn about Jews. Upon reading this I realized that grade school, at least the one I attended, did not make much reference to Jews. I found myself doing a little more research about Jews and certain things Brodkin made reference to in this article so I could get a better understanding of what she was talking about. I found it interesting how Jews and other lower class European immigrants gained their acceptance in the United States by the government neglecting the same acceptance to African Americans.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch (Extra Credit)

Richard Wright’s thesis in The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch is, “My first lesson in how to lie as a Negro came when I was quite small.” (22) Wright is saying that he had to learn the dos and the don’ts, the rights and the wrongs when it came to being a black person in the south facing much segregation.

Wright starts off with telling how when he was a young kid he and his friends would have cinder battles. Where he stayed the grass was never green. Actually, according to Wright, nothing was green. The only green that could be found or seen was located at or near the homes of the white people. It wasn’t until he and his gang of friends were in war with the white children that he realized the advantages of having grass, trees, and hedges. During the war, Wright and his fellow comrades were being beaten. Their cinder alone was nothing compared to the broken bottles and objects the white children had. So they begun to retreat to the pillars of their homes but before Wright could make it back he was struck in the back of the head with broken milk bottle and had to get three stitches. Wright waited for his mother to return home from so he could tell her what happened. He knew she would help him figure out what to do next and she would understand. But instead, he received a whopping that caused him to get a fever of one hundred and two. It was doing this whopping that Wright’s mother instilled in him the “gems of Jim Crow wisdom.” (23) She told him to “never, never, under any conditions to fight white folks again.” (23) Also, she told him that he was lucky and should be thankful they didn’t kill him. As time went on, Wright encountered many other incidents which he had to be careful of what he said, did, and how he looked at white people. There were times even after his war he had with the young white kids when he was lucky to have been alive due to his actions. Most of the knowledge Wright obtained in regards to Jim Crow laws were gained while he was working for white people.

One question I had regarding this article was one in which Wright asked, “How do Negroes feel about the way they have to live?” (31) Wright answered this question by quoting a friend of his that ran an elevator, he said, “Lawd, man! Ef it wuzn’t fer them polices ‘n’ them ol’ lynch-mobs, there wouldn’t be nothin’ but uproar down here!” (31) It seems as though black people kind of content with the way things were. When Wright told his co-workers what had his bosses did to an old black woman while he was working as a porter in a clothing store all they said was, “Shucks! Man, she’s a lucky bitch!” (11) Then he took another bite of his hamburger. Even though stuff like this was things some black people were used to, it makes me wonder why no one stopped to say we have to do something about this. Even today, when injustice happens to someone of the black race we get together and state we don’t like what is going on. I know the times are different now but there were enough black people to fight back, at least in my opinion.

I found this article to being interesting because this was the actual trials and tribulations a person went through to survive during the times of Jim Crow. I would’ve never thought it would be as difficult as it was for Wright to survive post slavery. I mean in the sense that black people didn’t know what they could and couldn’t do during those times. I found it to be sad that even after slavery they had to still go through many injustices and unfair treatment. But I believe that it is because of these struggles black people had to face that make us such a strong race.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom

I found thesis in Zinn’s “Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom” to be, “It would take either a full-scale slave rebellion or a full-scale war to end such a deeply entrenched system.” What Zinn is saying here is that in order for slavery to come to an end, something which may have a big impact on the United States would have to occur in order for a change to come about.

Zinn speaks of many different aspects of slavery in this chapter. He begins of telling how many slaves and free blacks attempted to abolish slavery. Many of the incidents which occurred were of slaves uniting and rebelling against slave owners and masters a like. Many died to hands of whites for their participation in these rebellions. Whites of the Southern states tried hard to keep slavery the way it was but with the steady growing number of free educated blacks in the Northern states grew the desire for slaves to obtain the same. In the North, blacks were able to obtain an education, work as well as own their own stores. Eventually, Abraham Lincoln got into office and many Southern Whites believed he sided on the abolishment of slavery so they made their states separate from that of the Northern portion of the United States. Lincoln supported the Union, which were the Northern States which held free blacks, and gave the Confederate States an ultimatum to join back with the Union or war will begin. Thus, the Civil War begun and it was during this time which Lincoln issued the Emancipation of Proclamation and freed the slaves in the United States. “In July of 1862 Congress passed a Confiscation Act, which enabled the freeing of slaves of those fighting in the Union.” (142) This is stating that any black that fought with the Union became a free man. The Union used this as a way of recruiting more blacks to fight in order to better their chances of winning the war. Yet, after the Emancipation of Proclamation was issued “400,000 signatures asking legislation to end slavery had been gathered and sent to Congress, something unprecedented in the history of the country. That April, the Senate had adopted the Thirteenth Amendment, declaring an end to slavery, and in January 1865 the House of Representatives followed.” (143) This means based on the togetherness of the citizens of the United States, slavery came to end. Although, the battle was over recovering was just beginning. Blacks still were not treated equal to their white counterparts. Many laws were created then taken away offering equality to everyone despite color. This would be another long battle for Blacks.

Upon reading the information regarding Abraham Lincoln, I begun to question, why we have a memorial in his honor for ending slavery and issuing the Emancipation Proclamation? To honor such a man is almost wrong because technically he didn’t do anything. Lincoln’s choice to abolish slavery was not one made with slaves or rather African Americans in mind instead it was to benefit himself and his position. Lincoln’s reply to Horace Greenley, whom at the time was editor of the New York Tribune, was one which showed his disinterest in slavery. Lincoln stated, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it….” (142) It was later said that if slaves were not freed then the Union could’ve and more than likely would’ve lost the war. It just seems as though we shouldn’t celebrate or honor the life of a man who cared less about the outcome of slaves. Instead of having his memorial there in Washington, D.C. it should be one of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. These two were people who were assassinated for more of a just reason and cause than Lincoln.

I found this reading to be repetitive from previous readings. A lot of what was here in this article by Zinn was mentioned in the novel “Kindred” as well as previous article written by Zinn. This is not to say I didn’t find it informative because I did. I was really fascinated to learn of all the people who assisted to abolish slavery. It was good to learn of different names than those popular individuals we learn about in grade school. Also, I enjoyed learning that it was more than just blacks helping slaves; that white people assisted in the struggle as well.

Monday, October 8, 2007


The main objective of this novel was for a woman to make sure her ancestor would be born in order for her own existence. The woman must make sure that a plantation owner grows old enough for her slave ancestor and him to conceive. Also, the woman is to learn more about herself, her ancestors, and slavery. She has to learn the hardships of being a slave and also learn how to put your hate to the side in order to save the life of someone else. Human is human no matter the race or skin color.

The novel starts off with a black woman, Dana Franklin who lived in California with her husband a white man named Kevin Franklin during the year 1976. Dana and Kevin had just moved into their new home and was unpacking when Dana begun to feel faint. She passed out and found herself in some woods seeing a young boy in the water drowning. She rushes into the water to save him and rushes back to shore where she spots the boy’s mother. She brings the boy back to life only to turn around and have the boy’s father have a gun pointed directly in her face. Due to her fear she finds herself awaken in her home again with Kevin after only having been passed out for a few seconds. But when she awakens she finds that she is no longer in the same spot she was when she passed out. Dana later learns that the boy she saved was her great great grandfather and that wouldn’t be her last time seeing him. The young boy’s name was Rufus Weylin and he was at first the son of a slave owner. Rufus later becomes in charge of the plantation and become a slave master as his father once was due to his father’s death from a heart attack. Dana often time traveled between her time of 1976 and Rufus’ time of 1819 to save Rufus or rather show up whenever he was near death. Without his survival she wouldn’t had been able to exist. Her great great grandmother, Alice Greenwood, was a free woman like her mother when she was younger but as she got older she too became a slave like so many other blacks during that time. Alice hated Rufus because he attempted to rape her once and her husband beat him almost to death until Dana showed and prevented him from doing so. Alice and her husband ran away towards a freedom state but to no avail because they would eventually get caught and Rufus would go and buy Alice to make her his permanently. Although, Rufus loved Alice and didn’t really show it the way normal people would have she blamed him for her husband being beaten and sold away far from her. Eventually Rufus and Alice ended up having sexual relations by no choice of Alice and they had two children together. Dana eventually convinced Rufus of making his and Alice’s children, Joe and Hagar, free blacks because she felt he owed them that much since he drove Alice to commit suicide. Rufus tried to convince Dana not to leave and go back to her time but it was to no avail. Eventually she had to kill the monster which held a lot lives in the palm of its hands. She stabs Rufus a few times in the attic of his home with dying while still gripping her arm. When she returns back to her world she finds her arm stuck in wall as though it was grown from the in the exact spot where Rufus held her. Alice had the opportunity to better understand her family history, slavery, and she discovered things about herself she never knew was there until she was put into a certain situation.

While reading this novel, one question continuously kept popping up in my head. If many African Americans or just really any race for that matter had to endure the hardships that slaves had to would we be able to survive? I ask this in the sense that after we have become to luxuries we have today and it was all taken from us would be able to survive and make due with the little we had or the beatings that were giving? Honestly, I would have to say no. People now-a-days have become very lazy and I mean this for blacks, whites, Asians, Chicanos, Latinos, and just people in general. I think people have forgotten the true meaning of hard work. We complain about going to work to answer phones, or file papers, or even serve people with a smile and ask them “Good Afternoon, welcome to McDonald’s how may I help you?” As the years pass humans try to find more and more ways of inventing things or having machines do work we can do. Slaves were able to cook, work long hours without pay, help each other out during times of need and so forth on a day to day basis. No one helps anyone but their selves anymore and everyone only thinks of them instead of working together and accomplishing so much more. With that being said I do realize one thing we still have in common with the nineteenth century is that we still look at skin color as a way of determining who can benefit who. White people are very hesitant to hire Black people because they are thought of to be lazy and still thought of to be not as intelligent as White people so many. It has been said black people don’t take their jobs seriously and whites are a little too stiff and serious about their jobs. Also, Mexicans and other Spanish ethnicities will pretty much work for anything. This novel opened my eyes to things we take for granted everyday. Being half African American and half Puerto Rican, I realized the one thing we take for granted everyday and that is simply our freedom. We don’t have to any longer worry about answering to someone else and being punished for not obeying. We all need to open our eyes and appreciate what we have.

This novel was the best novel I have ever had to read for a class. I did not want to put the novel down but the only thing that caused me to do so were engagements I had back at home. I found this novel to be so informative and made me wonder “What if…?” quite a bit. I thought it was kind of strange at first how Dana was able to travel back and forth through time but eventually I got over it. I found myself having so many different emotions while reading this book. There was anger, happiness, sorrow, worry and so many more. I am glad everything worked out and I am glad Dana went through it because I feel it helped her learn about herself a lot more and to learn to appreciate her life as well as that of her ancestors.