Episode 3 Blog

What is the social meaning of race? This is a loaded question that I am learning how to answer more effectively each episode we watch. All the episodes thus far have offered powerful messages and informed me about details about the history of race that are unfathomable to me. Episode 3, though, was the most powerful episode I have watched so far. It discussed what it meant to be white vs colored and how the difference in experience for these races was more than just an unfair dynamic, it was a dynamic that left people in danger and in a position where they could lose their lives. More specifically, to quote the episode, “Biology was destiny. Which side of the racial fence you fell on could be the difference between life and death.” During this time, the skin color you inherited could put you in danger of losing your life. Skin color trumped what your morals and intentions were. At the end of the day, inheriting colored skin said something about you that is uncontrollable. The way they talked about this concept in the episode was both disturbing and eye opening to me. It is hard to face the reality that as humans this is part of our history. That is what I struggle to swallow. I struggle to swallow the idea that people were treated so extremely unfairly and there was minimal effort to break this “norm”. For example, the living communities that were dominated by whites vs the living spaces that were dominated by blacks. Yes, at some point these spaces were free to be integrated, but was that really going to happen? Not very likely. Because of social contruct and the opportunity (or lack there of) that each race had, living communities typically remained segregated; whites living in desirable living conditions and blacks living in undesirable spaces.

I could go on and on about how upsetting this episode was. I hate to se how marginalized our society was (and still is in many ways). Overall, this episode taught me a lot about what it meant to be white during this time and what it meant to be non white. White was not a color; it was power, citizenship and status.

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