Race and Privilege: School Student’s Community

Social identity descriptors and daily experiences
My collection of social identity descriptors in my daily life include race, gender, and religion. Race is my major social identity descriptor that has a considerable impact on my daily experience. Having come from a racial minority group, I sometimes feel alienated from the social structure in the United States. While dealing with a group of white students, it is easy to have a distorted perception and develop an inferiority complex when I am in their presence. However, as noted by McIntosh, my perception when dealing with people of other races is largely influenced by how they treat me (189). When they are positive and exhibit respect, I tend to feel comfortable and accommodated.

My experience is relatively different from the student community that I relate to within the school because of our racial and cultural difference. As noted by Lingras, the action of different racial groups is largely influenced by what they learn or experience from an early age (11). Therefore, in the American setting, I have learnt that there are different forms of treatment among different people based on their race. For instance, as noted by McIntosh, whites are more likely to enjoy major benefits in society compared to people of color (189). For instance, whites are likely to rise in the socioeconomy, gain employment, and enjoy an advantage in the criminal justice setting.

Community collaboration experiences
In my community collaboration experience, I have realized that white-privilege is clear based on how whites are treated in society. As a member of a minority group, I realized that there are some treatment practices that whites get that people of the minority group are unlikely to experience. One of the aspects that I realized about my community of white students is that they had the advantage of living anywhere they want in the community without any questioning. As an African American, moving to a new neighborhood can be challenging even when I can afford it. As noted by McIntosh, white people are portrayed in a positive light that makes many people less judgmental of their character (191). Through the engagement, I realized that whites are positively portrayed in the media compared to African Americans. For instance, African Americans get an unearned disadvantage in the media whereby they are likely to be tagged as criminals, beggars, or gang members. On the other hand, whites are associated with positive news such as engaging in aid work or community service or participating in climate change programs.

While the whites are not likely to notice the privileges, they tend to see how other racial groups are disadvantaged. The white people benefit from the experience they have from childhood, which is not similar to the people of minority groups. Through the collaboration, I realized the cultural difference between people of different cultural groups. For instance, unlike the whites, I realized that African Americans are used to hardship, and exposed to discrimination and media influence from an early age (Bowman, Comer, and Johns 17). For instance, from an early age, children of minority groups are forced to align with the beauty standards that emphasize the features of white people. This difference is likely to impact an African American to develop self-hate and low self-esteem. However, through the interaction with the community, I realized that lack of cultural understanding promotes and propagates negative perception among different races.

Personal biases
Having grown in a predominantly black community, I held the perception that all whites dislike black people or people of color. I also believed that whites are likely to exhibit hostility against the blacks in society. Therefore, even when I engaged in a community partnership for 8-weeks, I already had a biased image of the white people in the society. I used to view white people as having all the power and in a position to make a decision with little restriction (Lingras et a., 6). However, after the interaction, I realized that privilege was not embraced by all white people. In fact, some white people did not even realize that they had the advantage that was perceived by other racial groups.

Treatment by the community partners
Therefore, when I found myself in a group of mostly white students for eight weeks, it really opened my mind with regard to the subject of race. Firstly, all the community members were very nice to me, so much so that I thought they were faking, and that it was a matter of time before they started picking on me. However, as time went by, I realized that racial discrimination was largely influenced by personal experiences and what we are taught from an early age (Bahler 370). Therefore, throughout the entire time, I was very comfortable being part of the team, and we developed strong bonds combined with the respect that helped us to work together.

The nice treatment by community partners impacted my perception of people of other races. However, as noted by IIIich, even with acting nicely, I realized that there was a need for collaborative effort to counter the systemic racism that has been ailing the country for many years (318). While some whites are not cognizant of the white privilege, the minorities experience disadvantages in everyday life. However, my engagement with other parties helped me realize that the negative misconception can be countered through interaction and understanding of different cultures.

Driving factors of the high school community
The main factor that drives my life is the understanding that skin color and other subjective parameters do not define the character of a person. With this understanding, our high school community is anchored on trusted and judging people based on their character rather than the color of their skin (McIntosh 189). Through our engagement, we have realized that, as young people, we have common desires of growing our careers and developing our talents. Therefore, our focus is to support each other to achieve our personal goals, while countering the negative racial perception that has been shaped in society over the years.

The positive experience of working with students of other racial backgrounds was an eye-opener on the need to promote racial understanding and tolerance. Different social groups should collaborate and work together rather than engage in divisive engagement that only destabilizes society. The engagement with the community of students enhanced my understanding of how to engineer a society that upholds tolerance, and peaceful co-existence (Struebig et al. 5). Illich notes that the aspect promoting hierarchy based on race creates animosity among different social groups (317). In my view, I should focus on enhancing collaboration, and eliminate the idea of superiority among people of different racial groups. This means, my effort is to uphold human values because they are not defined by race or skin color. Additionally, the interaction with the people of different social groups creates an understanding of cultural diversity. In this regard, my perception of society is the need to promote the learning of different cultural understanding.
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Works Cited
Bahler, B. “How Levinas Can (and Cannot) Help Us with Political Apology in the Context of Systemic Racism.” Religions, vol. 9, no. 11, 2018, pp. 370.
Bowman, Barbara T., James P. Comer, and David J. Johns. “Addressing the African American Achievement Gap: Three Leading Educators Issue a Call to Action.” YC Young Children, vol. 73, no. 2, 2018, pp. 14-23.
Illich, Ivan. “To Hell with Good Intentions.” Combining Service And Learning: A Resource Book for Community and Public Service 1 (1968): 314-320.
Lingras, Katherine A. “Talking With Children About Race and Racism.” Journal of Health Service Psychology 47.1 (2021): 9-16.
McIntosh, Peggy. “White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack.” Race, class, and gender in the United States: An integrated study 6 (2004): 188-192.
Struebig, M. J., Linkie, M., Deere, N. J., Martyr, D. J., Millyanawati, B., Faulkner, S. C., … & John, F. A. S. (2018). Addressing human-tiger conflict using socio-ecological information on tolerance and risk. Nature communications, 9(1), 1-9.