Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Race and Outliers
The epilogue at first appears to be the final presentation of a randomly selected and researched outlier. But we soon learn that the closing outlier narrative is in fact a narrative about the author, Malcolm Gladwell. We learn, perhaps not surprisingly at this point, that Gladwell’s own success emerges from the hidden advantages and multiple opportunities that his parents and grandparents received.
Among other important issues, Gladwell explains how light skin color allowed his otherwise disadvantaged black relatives to excel in ways that their fellow dark-skinned Jamaicans did not. Having an ancestor who had “a little bit of whiteness” or having one who got a chance at meaningful work became an “extraordinary advantage.” It was an advantage not simply based on working hard but rather on arbitrary yet powerful cultural and structural factors.
What stood out to you most concerning Gladwell’s discussions of skin color and advantage (or disadvantage)? Why?
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What stood out most to me concerning the discussion of skin color was how just one shade was distinguished from another. One shade meant all the difference. It was the difference between being a slave and having an all around better life. In today's world, we are socialized to accept people. It's still an uphill battle in many areas. But, at that point in time one shade made all the difference.
This section of the book especially hit home with me. I am a mexican arabian with suprisingly light skin. Most of my relatives show hints of there ethnicity while I generally am assumed to be caucasian by most who meet me. I consider myself almost to have the best of both worlds. I am in touch with my culture, yet I am rarely judged by race. I have found that people are more likely to be receptive to my diversity and are willing to listen to my perspective because of my assimilated appearance.
What stood out the most to me was that in those times a person's worth was innately predetermined by their skin color and not their own personal attributes and qualities.
What stood out the most to me was the prejudice against ones own family members, just because of skin color. It's sad to see that whites and blacks could not get along, but for there to be conflict within the black community over races is uncalled for. The whole "black vs. white" and "light-skinned vs. dark-skinned" battle has gone on for entirely too long. At the end of the day, we are all human.
What stood out to me the most was the reference to the sociologist Fernando Henriques. He stated that the darker members of the family are kept out of the way when the lighter skin family members have company over. I come from an interacial family an this idea seems absurd. My stepmom is Japanese so our family's skin goes from light to dark shade by shade and we all are treated fairly.
What caught my attention the most was the fact that the at the top of the success chain were those that were had some sort of caucasian relation. Blacks that had been diluted by whites and therefore had lighter skin had it better off than a darker skinned black. This mindset has changed as of recent but not by a whole lot. Ive experienced this first hand because my last job was in a predominantly white area. When customers needed assistance and the options were between asking me a, medium to light skinned african american, and asking a darker skinned african american they would come to me. There is still a mild perference in todays world for those with lighter skin. This reading brought this fact to light for me.
I found this part of the book interesting. I am a "light skinned" african american, but I grew up in a predominately white area. I would always get comments on how "pretty my skin color is". I always felt weird whenever I got this compliment. Would they feel differently about me if my skin was any darker?
That section surprised me merely because people are still being judged by the color of their skin. It really makes no sense that people felt he should be given an advantage because his skin was closer to a European tone. At the same time I somewhat understand because my name is derived from a Japanese flower, when I fill out applications I'm sure I get looked at more than someone with Bon'Quisha as their name. Certain things in our society really needs to be eliminated especially since Race is a socially constructed category.
What stood out most to me was how important skin color can really be. It definitely hits home for me. I am Native American but at first glance, no one would guess this. While my aunt has darker skin and long thick dark hair, I have very fair skin. In my opinion, the way you look does not truly tell how in touch you are with your culture. I am very in touch with my culture and am extremely proud to have a Native American background.
What stood out most to me was how skin color could determine your success. How can being light skinned or dark skined determine your worth. Every individual has the right to be accepted and treated fairly.
What I thought about after reading this section was, this happens everyday to the poitn where people feel that are at an disadvantage to other people just because of there appearance. So they limit themselves to being less.
It is really hard to believe that skin color played such a big role in determining one's chances in life. That is how it used to be though. I am glad to know that is today's world people of all skin colors have an equal chance at everything.
What stood out the most to me was the fact that your skin color predetermined what type of individual you were labeled as. It's sad to know that you were looked down upon because you were of a different shade than the next person. We know that you cannot change all people but as a society we need to come to an understanding that it is just a color.
what stood out to me the most about gladwell's discussion of skin color was the fact that skin tone can give you an advantage or disadvantage. i have actually experienced this, although not involving success, but within the view of the society. people usually tend to overlook darker skin tones as compared to lighter ones.
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