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How Skin Color Affects Students (Part 2)

Stephanie Martinez, Staff Writer

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Katrina Granados

Junior

Haywire: Have you ever had a dirty look by another person for not doing anything, and considered the thought that it was because of your skin color?

Katrina: I have never had a dirty look from another person and felt that it was because of my skin tone, but possibly [because] of my gender and being “weak”.

Q: At what age do you remember seeing and hearing about discrimination?

A: I recall hearing of discrimination from an early age, dating back to elementary school, due to the lessons of MLK, Jr. on his holiday. We watched videos learning about his movement and why he created a movement.

Q:  Do you have any specific memory about ever feeling discriminated against?

A: I do not ever recall getting discriminated against because of my culture, but because my skin is light toned, I have been excluded from my own culture, being Latina.

Q: What do you think can be a solution in today’s society that can help reduce discrimination?

A: A solution in our society that can help would be educating others in what discrimination is. The more people know, the less likely people are to do it without knowing.

Q: Have you seen someone get discriminated against and done nothing about it?

A: I have never seen anyone be discriminated against, but I have witnessed racism generally.

Q: Do you feel that one day racism will be gone?

A: I sadly believe racism will never leave us, as some people will never change their deep rooted hatred and ways of thinking.

Q: Do you feel that where you were born defines you as a person?

A: I do definitely think that because I was born in the Bay, I have been surrounded by diversity, and I have grown to love it unconditionally. It is all I know and any other situation would be obsolete to me.

Q: How do you feel about the spectrum of skin color?

A: The spectrum of skin color is nothing but a chart of melanin levels. All colors are beautiful, and we are all humans on this earth. Why do we have to be divided?

Q: Do you feel that your skin color has ever affected you?

A: The only way my skin color has ever affected me is when it comes to not fitting in with friends because I was usually the most white person around. Nothing compared to other ways people’s color affects them.

Q: Has your skin color ever been an obstacle you have had to overcome?

A: My skin color has simply led me to accept myself and know what my culture is regardless of how light I am.

Julian Johnson

Senior

Haywire: Have you ever had a dirty look by another person for not doing anything, and considered the thought that it was because of your skin color?

Julian: Yes, sometimes when you enter certain buildings or certain stores you kind of get the look from different people that might be a different skin tone from what you are.

Q: At what age do you remember seeing and hearing about discrimination?

A: I remember learning about it in elementary school, probably the fourth grade where we started learning about Doctor King and all the civil rights matters like Jim Crow and segregation.

Q: What do you think can be a solution in today’s society that can help reduce discrimination?

A: I think people just coming to the table and that actually understand other people’s viewpoints, and if different races and different people from different backgrounds actually take a chance to hear the other person’s story/side, then a lot of empathy can be shown on both sides of discrimination.

Q: Do you feel that one day racism will be gone?

A: I don’t know if racism will be gone. I think that racism is something we’re going to have to deal with because people are sometimes born into it. But it’ll be a beneficial thing if everyone widely rejects it rather than supports it.

Q: Do you feel that where you were born defines you as a person?

A: Yeah. Being born in Hayward, we’re kind of in a melting pot in the Bay Area, so that does define my outlook on different people and being tolerant toward religions and different races. So being born in the Bay Area does affect how you see other people.

Q: How do you feel about the spectrum of skin color?

A: I think it’s okay to identify people of different skin colors as long as you’re doing it in a way that will not prevent them from achieving the same thing that you would want [for yourself]. It’s okay to say someone’s black or white; as long as they have equal opportunity to do the same things, then I don’t think there is a problem with it.

Q: Do you feel that your skin color has ever affected you?

A: It’s definitely had me realize that being African-American there are not a lot of people that are in advanced classes or are kind of in the same place as you, so it does make me want to work harder to show people that that’s not what African-Americans all stand for. And the stereotypes put on us aren’t true, and so that does motivate me to achieve different things and stay as much of a role model as I can be.

Q: Has your skin color ever been an obstacle you have had to overcome?

A: I think there are stereotypes of being an African-American for sure. Not wanting to fulfill those stereotypes but knowing that you are more than those stereotypical roles: you’re not a criminal, you’re your own person and having to struggle to find my identity and understand that it’s okay to be black, it’s okay to be educated, and things of that nature was a struggle for me to overcome.

Duyen Nguyen

Senior

Haywire: At what age do you remember seeing and hearing about discrimination?

Duyen: Pretty young actually. Like probably since I started school.

Q: Do you have any specific memory about ever feeling discriminated against?

A: Well, not necessarily in a bad way because I mean like when people say “Oh you’re Asian, you must be smart,” you know it sounds like a good thing, but it kind of down grades your hard work. It takes away that hard work you’ve worked for. It kind of sounds like a good serotype, but at the same time I’ve been working hard for this my whole life, but you are going to say it is only because I’m Asian.

Q: What do you think can be a solution in today’s society that can help reduce discrimination?

A: I don’t think so since there has been so many stereotypes that have been around for so long, and people have grown accustomed to it. So the thought is always going to be there, and I don’t think it can really change.

Q: Do you feel that one-day racism will be gone?

A: No, because there are always going to be the old white people who are all about white supremacy.

Q: Do you feel that where you were born defines you as a person?

A: Possibly. Well, I wasn’t born here; I was actually born in Vietnam, and I lived there for two years and then I came to the US. So basically I grew up here. I did all my learning here, how to talk here. So I wouldn’t say I am connected with my culture…where I’m from, so no.

Q: How do you feel about the spectrum of skin color?

A: I like the spectrum. I’m not judgmental or anything like that. I like you. If you are a good person, I like you. If you were a bad person, I wouldn’t like you no matter what your skin color is. If you don’t meet my expectations as a human being. But I don’t judge on skin color because I wouldn’t want people to judge me because I’m Asian. But being a minority you just want to judge because you know what it feels like.

Q: Do you feel that your skin color has ever affected you?

A: Not so much but I’m against the Asian stereotype because I’m not all that smart like other Asians but I’m here.

Blanca Martinez

Senior

Haywire:  Have you ever had a dirty look by another person for not doing anything, and considered the thought that it was because of your skin color?

Blanca: Yeah, when I was smaller, my mom, she doesn’t speak English really good. So whenever she’d go and ask for something at the store, people would look at us like funny, kind of like we were dumb and stuff. But I couldn’t help her because I was really small.

Q: At what age do you remember seeing and hearing about discrimination?

A: Ever since I started school, you really start to hear about it. My kindergarten teacher would tell us to love each other no matter what our skin color was.

Q: Do you have any specific memory about ever feeling discriminated against?

A: I don’t think any specific one because thankfully I’ve never been singled out, but I have definitely seen it around just everywhere but we’re lucky to live–at least here in the Bay Area– somewhere very diverse, so I feel like no one has really seen it as strongly as others do, like in the middle of the United States.

Q: What do you think can be a solution in today’s society that can help reduce discrimination?             

A: I don’t think there is a big solution because it’s kind of based on your own personal opinions, so I feel like kindness, you know, if we just love each other for who we are. Who cares about skin color, but not everyone has the same mindset, so it’s hard to get people [to] change it.

Q: Have you seen someone get discriminated against and done nothing about it?

A: Yeah definitely. I do see people getting made fun of and stuff, and I really do feel bad for not stepping in, but at the same time, I was like: no, what if they start making fun of me and stuff. But yeah, I wished I could have done something about it.

Q: Do you feel that one-day racism will be gone?

A: I don’t feel like racism will ever be gone because people who have hate in their hearts pass it on to little kids. And those little kids grow up with that; it’s like a chain reaction that is never going to end. And it is something that we are going to have to learn how to deal with and have the best attitude towards.

Q: Do you feel that where you were born defines you as a person?

A: I don’t think it defines me as a person, but it definitely makes me the kind of person I am. I wouldn’t just say because where I’m from I have to act a certain way, but it has a lot of motives that make who I am and how I express myself.

Q: How do you feel about the spectrum of skin color?

A: I think it is really good when we can all come together and share something that we all like, and different cultures. Just because you realize that there are so many people out there and they are so different and have different customs, it’s really beautiful.

Q: Do you feel that your skin color has ever affected you?

A: Yeah, but not in a bad way. It’s made me want to pass what everyone thinks of Latins: we just come here to mess things up, we don’t really want to do more. But I am a Latina and I want to do big things.

Q: Has your skin color ever been an obstacle you have had to overcome?

A: Yeah, because certain people have certain expectations for you and you want to show them differently, so it has but nothing major.

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How Skin Color Affects Students (Part 2)