I have since grown intellectually and shifted my attention from the individual level to the institutional and cultural levels; at least pondering how to address racist or simply race-related behavior on the institutional and cultural levels puts my feelings in perspective and helps me to understand that one cannot choose the setting which he or she is born into and whether he or she is exposed to different races and cultures as a result.
Ultimately, although I felt that I was more knowledgeable than many of my white classmates about race, I neglected the notion that I still had plenty of room to learn more and, perhaps more importantly, that I could be wrong in some of my judgments or ideas about race.
It would include how race inevitably includes stereotypes and is often used, albeit subconsciously, as a tool to create a hierarchy. I'm not sure of the integrity of these various institutions, but I do firmly believe that racial diversity ought to be embraced and celebrated, not reduced to only focus on negative stereotypes and hierarchical rankings that preserve some sort of hegemony of power and white privilege.
Unfortunately, when defining race, it is equally important to be aware that racial minorities are oppressed and oppression overshadows the richness and value of culture.
To explore my growth over the semester it is important to consider my beliefs at the beginning of the semester.
When I was asked to define race on the first day of class I wrote down, “how one defines oneself based on ones ethnic background.” While I do not completely disagree with that definition now, if I were asked to define race again my response would be different. It serves to help us separate groups that have been defined by `race' into superior and inferior categories” (p. Schools, corporations, and organizations across America often claim the value of diversity, referring to racial diversity, and how it is important to them for several reasons.I mentioned in my racial identity exploration that I've spent years learning about Hitler, Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, white people in the 1960's, Martin Luther King jr., the civil rights movement, and some about the women's rights movement, but little to nothing about Latinos. I suppose it's expected that if you are not Black or white, then you can learn about your history at home or in your `ghetto' community.What if there is a Latino who does not happen to live in a community of other Latinos and Latinas?Although the civil rights of African Americans has improved over the last few decades and America now has an African American president racism still has a strong presence.A common modern trend in America is incidental racism, which is giving other races equal opportunity and using other elements to justify racist behavior.After a couple of years of being surprised that some white people could be so ignorant about issues of race and sharing my perspective with them, my frustrations developed and festered.At that point I interpreted the answer to this question of who should be held accountable to be that white people ought to get informed and wake up to some of the issues that plague our country or at least its affects on our campus; hence, I placed the blame on white people.Early in the semester, having read Tatum and some other texts and articles related to racial identity development theories, I was uncomfortable with identifying with any of them.I believed that I was an individual and saw identifying with a preset racial identity development as putting myself into a box that would limit and restrict my personality.I concluded that my academic experience omitted Latino culture from elementary school straight through college.I could always learn the Spanish language, but not about Latino-American history.