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Additional Writings September 10, 2009

Reading Journal #5 Talking About Racism: How Our Dialogue Gets Short-Circuited By Paul L. Wachtel

In Wachtel’s entry he proves a lot of valid points that are concerns with American’s today and the word “racist”. It seems as though certain situations in our daily lives are being interpreted as being racist even though the intentions may not be at all. One example he gave was that a white person may cross the street to avoid a group of black men that are walking toward him/her. This situation reminds me a lot of when my roommate and I are walking around. Because of the area that we are in it isn’t really safe to be walking around as two little “white girls” past a group of black men. Sometimes we do cross the street, and even in those instances they will yell across to us and say stuff to us. We don’t always cross the street we don’t run from every black person we see, we just are use to being followed by black men and would just rather try to skip going through the whole ordeal of getting hit on and followed. Neither of us have problems with black people, I have a lot of black friends, and black cousins, however people take us crossing the street to get away from black people as being racist. Fact is if there were creepy white people we would cross the street too.

One quote that I found really interesting was when Wachtel was finding the definition of racism. He said, several blacks claimed that they cannot be racist “by definition” because they believed that the word racism means discrimination by the majority against an oppressed minority. White people however believe that racism is a discrimination against a certain race. Its this difference in ideas that is really scary to think about because if as a “United” Nation, we can’t even agree on what is or what isn’t racism then we have overused the words racism and racist to the point where we are no longer able to overcome racial divisions.

Another point that Wachtel brought up was that using the word racist really stops all communication between people. If there are some issues of disagreement on a topic, calling someone a racist ceases the conversation and the issue is not resolved.

There has also become a fear in white people when they talk to black people, they feel like they have to chose their words carefully so that they don’t offend or make the black person think they are a racist.

Reading Journal Entry (#3) From Fly-Girls To Bitches And Hoes By Joan Morgan

Joan Morgan’s ideas about black women and men in our society are backed up with facts and evidence that supports her claims. It was an initial shock to read that a black woman was talking about feminism and sexism, majority of the time people only hear about those kind of topics from white women. Morgan however, can really relate to this subject. It was shocking to hear some of the facts she stated, some of which I had never really thought about before. She talks about how black-on-black love has decreased through the years, somewhere from what use to by 74 percent is down to 48 percent. She states that the leading cause of death among black men ages 15-24 is homicide by other black men.

One story Morgan told really stuck in my mind. She talked about how she met a lady who was having her 50th wedding anniversary, Morgan had told the lady that she was only 27 and still hasn’t settled down with anyone. The lady tells Morgan, “I feel sorry for your generation. You don’t know how to have relationships.” This statement stuck in my brain. I look around and even though I’m in a healthy relationship over 2 years strong I see many around me not experiencing the same things. I see more and more people looking for random hook-ups, and not wanting to make any sort of commitment to another person.  Thinking even more deeply on this I believe it has to do with a person’s background, my parents are still together, never divorced, been married for 20 so years now. However, a ton of my friends have divorced parents, I feel as though divorced parents children have more of a tendency to not want to be in committed relationships. Maybe because they aren’t trusting in others and don’t want to get hurt like their parents did. Maybe they think also that if there are problems in a relationship they won’t work through them and will just give up on it all together, like they don’t want to put the effort into a relationship.

Reader Response “Food For Thought”

In the beginning of this story the reader can tell that Caitlin is obsessed with her image of herself. She says, ” I could  see my ribs gorge out past my stomach. I proceeded to the treadmill to continue my daily routine. Thirteen hundred calories later I could leave the gym.”  Its shocking to hear that even at age 11 she was self conscious about her body. Throughout the story the narrator becomes more and more obsessed, becoming a vegetarian by age 12, running miles and miles to burn way more calories than she consumed, and up to the point of becoming bulimic.  Her first warning was ignored, she says,

“One Tuesday afternoon, a girl I had grown up with confronted me, ‘Cate, is it true that you’re anorexic?’ I stood there dumbfounded! I snapped back, ‘ No…What the hell are you talking about?’ In a very snobby manner she told me, ‘Well people have been noticing that you don’t ever eat lunch…and you are looking really thin, so there are rumors going around that you have an eating disorder.’ I just ran out of the lunchroom into the restroom, and cried. The salty tears poured down my face into my lap, as I sat in a tiny stall.”

Caitlin had been approached by a girl at school but this really just seemed to make Caitlin mad and upset, thinking that the girl was just being mean to her. Caitlin had no idea that something was wrong with her. It wasn’t till a teacher, someone she respected and idolized told her she had something wrong with her, that it clearly hit Caitlin.  The reader is aware that Caitlin has fully learned her situation and needs help when Caitlin tells her mother everything. This is the sign that Caitlin is understanding that there is a problem and is willing to get it fixed. The final scene at the slumber party shows that Caitlin is over her weight issues, she is able to hang out with her friends and be normal. She jumps right up in the line to eat some pizza and doesn’t care about calories or how much exercise she needs to do to burn off this pizza.

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