Pave the Walk

by Jisu Song

Jisu Song is a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia not decided in major but minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). She has been involved with the Race & Racism Project since 2019 and is currently serving in the Oral History Team. As a student, she is an executive member in WILL*, member of Sirens, and a peer advisors and mentors. She hopes to work for global audiences.

During my time in interview to join Race & Racism Project, only thing that I was certain was the passion to learn more about subtle racism and to spread information to people around me. Although my passion in working for anti-racism work, I was still uncertain how to convince people. I understood people’s controversial about racism. I always had a debate with my family, how our racism stereotypes are created by society but also embedded in our self as well. I was not sure how we will be able to approach these racial stereotypes because many people could easily say that their acquaintances also could act the same ways as the racial stereotypes. Through this summer research and interviews, my uncertainty changed to very strong belief: societal stereotypes are very dangerous and can create people’s expectation, societal norms, and racist views that could change as normal. “New Racism” is very subtle and exist as norm in the everyday life. Through interviews, I realized how this could affect students of color or people of color.

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Shirley Plantation: Most Old Plantation in Virginia

by Jisu Song

Jisu Song is a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia not decided in major but minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). She has been involved with the Race & Racism Project since 2019 and is currently serving in the Oral History Team. As a student, she is an executive member in WILL*, member of Sirens, and a peer advisors and mentors. She hopes to work for global audiences.

I decided to go to Shirley Plantation because I wanted to see how big the plantation was and how the plantation is described toward tourist. During the general research about the plantation, I read many high ratings that complimented the site. Some of the comments mentioned that the site is very pretty, historically informed, and worth the price. From this research, before I arrived in the site, my expectation was very high about the tour and site. I expected the tour to be mostly talked about enslavement and how owner thoughts about enslavement. My expectation for Shirley Plantation was very high. However, my site visit did not fulfill my interest in learning more about how people were living in the past.

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Maggie Walker and Arthur Ashe’s Monuments

by Jisu Song

Jisu Song is a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia not decided in major but minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). She has been involved with the Race & Racism Project since 2019 and is currently serving in the Oral History Team. As a student, she is an executive member in WILL*, member of Sirens, and a peer advisors and mentors. She hopes to work for global audiences.

On a Monday afternoon, after the intense discussion about how many historical ideas are geared towards western culture, I visited different monuments and statue in the city of Richmond, we were assigned to visit the Black historical figure’s statues. As a resident of Richmond for 5 years, I realized that I have never visited these sites, in fact, I did not hear Arthur Ashe’s name before I visited the statue. I was aware of Maggie Walker from the Governor School’s name. However, I was not able to fully know what she had accomplished during her lifetime. I was not familiar with both of their achievement and work that they have done in this city. To learn more about the great historical figures who born in Richmond and worked for a better world, I researched and visited the sites.

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Preparing for Oral Histories

by Jisu Song

Jisu Song is a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia not decided in major but minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). She has been involved with the Race & Racism Project since 2019 and is currently serving in the Oral History Team. As a student, she is an executive member in WILL*, member of Sirens, and a peer advisors and mentors. She hopes to work for global audiences.

As we moved into third week, Team Oral History started to prepare for interviews. As I meet more people who supports this project and articles that explain the importance of the Oral Histories and Archive, my passion towards this project increased even more. As I talk about this project to my acquaintances; I had many negative reactions. I heard some say that “racism is a joke” because everyone is treated equally. While I respect those opinions, our society holds racism in many forms. Eduardo Bonilla Silva, a sociology professor at Duke University, explains that new racism has formed after the Jim Crow Era. New racism shows that society itself has a racism by without using the word. It is very subtle, institutional that uses the nonracial mechanism. No one acknowledges that they are racist, but students of color still feel oppressed by many people, new racism is very real yet subtle. Free Egunfemi, the founder of Untold RVA, told us that we need to hold three characteristics: self-determination, resistance, and intersectionality. She explained that self-determination is doing what you are called to do no matter the situation, resistance is to find a new way to improve the world, and intersectionality is to gather diverse perspective into the topic. I truly believe that Race & Racism Project will allow all three characteristics to be existed not only for students but also for alumni.

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Still Shares the Same Feelings as Students of Color who Attended in 1981

by Jisu Song

Jisu Song is a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia not decided in major but minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). She has been involved with the Race & Racism Project since 2019 and is currently serving in the Oral History Team. As a student, she is an executive member in WILL*, member of Sirens, and a peer advisors and mentors. She hopes to work for global audiences.

After I moved to the United States, I always looked for the space that I could express my pure self to the community. Moving to the United States, the very first feeling that I felt was about the necessity to fit into the predominantly white culture. I always lived in a predominantly white environment. I was privileged enough to live in a safe and studious environment, but I always found myself not fitting into the culture. I found myself not understanding people’s context, especially in the entertainment culture. For example, because I spend my childhood in Japan, I grew up watching Japanese animations, such as Ghibli, while many of my friends grew up with Disney Chanel, Nickelodeon, and more American TV shows. I found myself lost in the conversations and started to avoid conversations. Resulting from these practices led me to have two different personas.  I always thought that what I do at home and at school should be different because I present myself differently. I found myself losing my Asian identification in the public.

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