Saturday, April 23, 2011


Recalling America's obsession with naming, I've become curious to know what happens when people are falsely claimed as something that they are not. For instance, I believe one finds it insulting to be called a Mexican when they might be Latino or Hispanic because they speak Spanish, or even when Japanese, Philippines, and Koreans are mistaken for Chinese because of there tight eyes. I remember in high school I would be corrected all the time for assuming my classmates were Chinese when they were Korean or Japanese. And often times, but rarely, I mistake Native Americans for Asians. And even when African Americans are taken as Black Americans. I assumed once that my friend Jew because of her nose, it turned out that her father was hardcore Jew before marrying his wife and converted to Christian. I even thought once that another friend was Hispanic because of her accent when she was white and Italian, and another who's Italian for her dark hair. My point is that yes, as we discussed America has a problem with trying to name and classify groups of people and often, because of stereotypes and ignorance we more often than not wrongfully assign cultural identities to people.


  1. I definitely think there is a problem in America with how we've been taught to classify other races. I went to an international boarding school in Boston that was 30% students from out of the country. Before, I had gone to a school in South Carolina that had 2 or 3 black people for every 300 or so white. Admittedly, when I first got to my high school, I hardly knew anything about other cultures. It was embarrassing how much more my Korean roommate knew about American history than I did. I think being the only superpower sometimes tends to serve as an excuse for people to remain ignorant of other countries, citing that "we're the best". Clearly, this is an incorrect notion.

  2. We always put people in the wrong identity, but what about people who are identified as "white" and they may have some greek background. Yes, this is very different, and its hard to push this as a challenging issue because we are of the "privileged." Is this the same in terms of stereotyping? Also if we stop calling people by what we call people's "ethnic" identities would we start to deconstruct the labels involved in race?

  3. Perhaps the fact that it has become more and more difficult to "name" people supports the idea/notion that religion may be taking the place of race in the 21st century. For example, one may introduce him/herself as being Hispanic while another may share that he/she is Jewish or Muslim.
    The "names" that people identify with are subjective, depending on what an individual values. While one may place significance on racial groups, another may place significance on religious affiliation. Both, however, seem to be products of one's cultural community. Therefore, both race and religion are socially constructed.


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