Olivia Herring

ENGL 101

Thursday, September 12th


During the first few class periods we have read and talked about a lot of different topics. We have talked about race, discrimination, knowledge, both/and, epistemology, and even more. All the things that we have talked about are very important yet most of it I have never even thought about or discussed. I think taking this class as a freshman and this being one of my first classes here at college will really help my understanding of the world. It will help me think about a lot of the things that I have never even discussed before. I am already learning so much because of this class. 

In what we have discussed in class and learned these first few periods I really started to think more about race. We discussed and watched a video on race that really got me thinking more about the topic. Nothing that people have said about race is scientifically proven. There is no scientific basis for race. After we watched this video I wanted to learn more about it so I read into it more. A doctor by the name of Samuel Morton believed that whites were the most intelligent of the races and at the very top. Going from greatest to least, it was Whites, East Asians, Native Americans, and then Blacks. His ideas were believed by the people who supported slavery. Come to find out, his ideas were not correct at all. There was no scientific evidence that suggests this is correct. (There’s No Scientific Basis For Race, Elizabeth Kolbert)

Many people believe, like Morton, that race is somehow connected to athletic ability and intelligence. People think that somehow athletic ability and intelligence is in your genes. But, there is no genetic evidence to prove this. People use biology as an excuse for social differences. All humans are actually very similar. In the video we watched they talked about how penguins that look almost identical are more different from each other than humans are. Humans can look completely different. Different skin color, hair color, hair texture, eye color, etc. Yet penguins that look exactly the same are more different than we are. Learning this fact sort of blew my mind. I never would have expected this at all. 

In the video we watched during class, they looked at the DNA of all the different people in the class. Each assumed their DNA would be the closest to someone of the same race as themselves. The African American man assumed he would be closest to the other African 

American and the latino assumed she would be closest to another latino in the class. Their assumptions of who they would be closest to was very wrong. All of the people in the class were wrong and I would say quite shocked that they were wrong about this. Your DNA can be closest to someone who looks absolutely nothing like you and someone you would never expect. This shows me how genetically similar humans really are. Even the people you would never expect to be so closely the same as you are. In my opinion it really is crazy to think about and it is absolutely amazing learning about this.

Seeing how similar humans really are, and realizing that there is no scientific evidence to support the claims that have been made, you can come to say that race is really just an illusion that organizes peoples’ lives. Race is just an excuse that people use instead of facing the real concrete evidence that people have spent their whole lives researching. These people have spent their whole lives researching this because race has had such a huge impact on our society. Race always comes back. Everyone fights it, but it always finds a way back out of the grave and raises to life again and causes problems. Police brutality, it is such a sensitive topic so I will not be going into it but that is a huge popular issue happening in our society today and it has so much to do with race. People blame it on race.

I think going forward in this course I can really improve and set many goals for myself. After we watched the video in class, I looked up more information about what I learned in the video. In high school, this is not something I would have done. In high school I just learned the information that was given to me and that was it. But the stuff I am learning in this class is real world stuff. This is the kind of knowledge I would like to have as I grow into an adult. An adult would look more into something like this and dig deeper to widen their understanding of the topic and get as much information as possible so that they can form their own opinion of the topic. This is something I did and something I will continue to do throughout the semester because I know this will help me during class and as well as helping me throughout life in the future.

Some goals I want to set for the rest of the semester would definitely be to make sure I read everything assigned to me and then to go even deeper and read more than just the assigned reading. I also want to set another goal for myself, making sure that while I am reading something I understand it before I move on to something different. I sometimes struggle with this and I will read something and then not actually fully understand it and move on anyway. This does not help me learn at all so that is why I am setting this goal for myself. I am not sure if I am the only person who will be setting a goal like this or if other people find they also struggle with this, but I think it is a super important part of my learning skills that needs to be fixed.

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