Author: Serhiy Pomayda

Communication

Sakshi has brought up an awesome point in her blog post. The whole concept of people saying “I don’t see color” is pointless. The only thing that is happening is people are avoiding the issue all together. We can all pretend that racism doesn’t exist but what good will that do? It won’t fix the issue at hand – it will just keep happening. Talking about an issue is what’s going to fix it.

I am a supplemental instructor for organic chemistry and recently I was learning the most effective ways of teaching or tutoring students. One of the worst things you can possibly do as a tutor is giving the students an answer to a practice question. It is important to talk through the question and help them reach the answer on their own. One of my favorite lines to use when someone asks me a question that I know they should be able to answer using basic knowledge of the material is “I don’t know, you tell me.” It might be annoying at first and students hate it but it makes them tell me their thought process. As we go through the thought process, we adjust it so that they could solve a similar problem in the future. So my point is avoiding talking about an issue or just saying its bad is like giving a student the answer without explaining it. They get absolutely nothing from it.

Communication is very important when it comes to analyzing and fixing a problem. Earlier this semester we read in Medical Apartheid about doctors who only communicated with like-minded people and prevented African American doctors to work in hospitals. “Until three or four decades ago, these researchers were speaking only to their like-minded peers – other whites, usually male and rarely of the lower classes.” (Washington, 10)  They also prevented communication with the world and only other doctors were able to understand the recordings. “The medical jargon in which such research papers are couched is often impenetrable even to well-educated nonmedical people.” (Washington, 12) This causes a sense of skepticism within the African American community. Doctors were no longer trusted which hurt African American health in general. There was also no one who was able to be a voice of reason for these doctors. Doctors are very intelligent but even they make poor decisions as Avery talked about in her post.

I believe communication could fix majority of the problems. The key is to be open minded and listen to the perspective of others. Every person has developed their standing on an issue based on facts and experiences they have encountered in their lives. Hearing out ideas of others could lead to middle ground solution to a problem at hand. Also talking over issues with children would build a solid foundation for dealing with major issues in their future.

Shaping children’s mind

There is always the debate about nature vs. nurture. Is a person born evil or have there been events that caused them to become evil. The one thing we do know is that children are very good at learning. If a child is constantly told they are stupid by their parent, who is pretty much guiding them through life while they still can’t reason on their own, that is what they will believe. Alice in the book Zulus by Percival Everett is constantly reminded that she is fat. Her mother died while Alice was very young and her father later committed suicide. Her grandmother blames her father’s suicide on her. “Alice Achitophel hadn’t liked her grandmother; the old woman had blamed her for son’s death, claiming that her obesity had embarrassed him and driven him to suicide.” pg. 40. Although Alice knew the real reason her father killed himself, I think it still gave her a sense of insecurity and low self-esteem. Hearing some tell me that my parent killed themselves because they were embarrassed by me would definitely destroy my self-esteem.  Also in Home by Chloe Ardelia Wofford, Frank’s sister Cee was always put down by her grandmother while her parents were away at work. “Being born in the street–or the gutter, as she usually put it–was prelude to a sinful, worthless life.” Pg 43. This constant reminder of being worthless prevented Cee from reaching her full potential. It was not until she went through a traumatizing experience and learned from the women that helped her heal, that she was able to become strong and independent.

This also got me thinking how exposing a child to racism at a young age could shape their whole future of how they look at people. I personally never had a very diverse community so I never knew about racism. However Avery replied to my first post and said the community she grew up in was very diverse but she was also never exposed to racism (Link). We grew up on totally different environments and never considered racism. “So where does this hate or though that someone is less valued based on their looks come from?” I think it is just based on what children are exposed to from a young age. Teaching a child that someone is worse than them will most likely stick with them for majority of their life. Of course maybe not their whole life, at least until they are able to reason it for themselves but even then there will be some form of bias. Just like anything that we learn wrong for the first time, it is much harder to learn it the right way the second time around.  It feels like racism almost becomes heritable. That is why proper parenting is so important. Children need to learn confidence and love for others at a young age because it will shape their whole life.

My experience with the term race

The first 10 years of my life I lived in a small town in Ukraine. Considering that everyone is white, I never learned what race really meant. I saw people of color on TV but I never put much thought into how their lives differed from mine. However, most of all, I never considered them to be inferior to me. I just considered them to be different than me but that’s as far as that thought went. I then moved to America at the age of 10 and spoke absolutely no English. I was put into an English Second Language to learn English. The diversity of people in the class was enormous. There were people from all over the world and we all looked different. You would think that there would be some sort of culture shock but there wasn’t any at all. We all got along very well and became really good friends even though we could barely speak the same language. Read more