Category Archives: Ethnicity

Ethnic Group

Stereotypes are all around us. If a person is considered “ethnic,” then a stereotype is bound to be associated with their “group.” But before we even discuss ethnicity, it is good do define just what it means.  According to Cambridge Dictionary, to be ethnic means “relating to or characteristic of a large group of people who have the same national, racial, or cultural origins, and who usually speak the same language.” In reading this definition, it would seem to be a relative term, because just “who” are these groups compared to in order to be considered a large group? Coming from a father who is 100% Italian and a mother who is 100% Lebanese, am I then a part of a “sub-ethnic” group? I do not know many large groups of Lebanese-Italian people. With that said, stereotypes are bound to be associated with what some deem as “different.” Again, different from who? Well, we all know stereotypes exist. We all know that living in the United States, if you are not a White-Anglo Saxon Protestant, then you are considered a minority/different/ethnic/other….

Yes, I am one of those ethnic people, who comes from a big, diverse, family, who can out laugh and out eat just about any of their neighborhood pals. When my friends come to my house, the first thing they would do is ask is “what did your mom cook today?” Yes, my mom is an awesome cook, who can make the best Lebanese or Italian dishes on any given night…Or “hey, is your dad home, he scares the *&#$ out of me!” Yes, my dad is a big Italian man, with lots of “family connections,” reaching back to Naples, Italy.  It’s a funny thing to be considered ethnic, because, I don’t see myself or my family as different, because I can’t imagine us being any other way. But, I know firsthand that being an “ethnic” person does come with its share of xenophobic encounters.

My Lebanese grandparents came to the U.S. in 1970, and they have genuinely lost count of how many times their home has been egged or toilet papered. Especially after the 9/11 attacks, suddenly my grandparent’s neighbors became slowly distant, erecting fencing all around their homes. Yes, on both sides of their house! But, these acts of pure hatred, just because we are considered “different,” do not fuel hatred in the hearts of my family, rather, it invokes a sense of pity upon those who carry out deeds of idiocy due to needless fear of the unknown. Above and beyond all of these issues, ethnicity will always vary from family to family. To have one pure ethnic group is rather impossible and borders on “Hitler-esque” insanity. Finally, to be considered “ethnic” is an okay thing and it will always exist as long as people are considered to be different from the established societal norm. “Be proud of who you are and where you came from,” my grandmother always told me, “or else, we would live in a very boring and lonely world.”

— Dario

 

Racism

As we are raised, we are taught to either accept certain people for who they are or we are taught to judge by race. In some cultures, diversity is huge; you may have diversity in your schools, offices, and neighborhoods. This makes growing up with race differences not that big of a deal. If you grow up with something you usually get used to it, and it doesn’t bother you. You mostly never even notice it. If you are raised in a primary white community, racial difference might feel strange to you and even uncomfortable. Your parents and peers also have a huge part in racism. As you grow up if you are told that black or white people are bad people and you are also told this by your friends and their families you will believe it yourself.

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan which is a very diverse community. There were African America, Caucasian, Italian, Mexican, and other ethnic children that went to my elementary school. I had tons of friends of different ethnicities and never had any issues. I was raised to find the good in people and give everyone a chance, not to judge them by their skin color or the way they talk.

Racism has to deal with people discriminating against minority groups that have a different racial background. It can be people discriminating against a racial group or ethnic group. Not all people fully understand why they can be racist but just know that’s what they were taught. There are tons of movies and shows that represent racism at its finest. A movie called Remember The Titans, about a segregated football team is a perfect example of racism. It shows you the difficulty of changing your ways if you were raised to believe a certain thing. There are two young men in the movie, one Caucasian, one African American, and they both struggle to deal with even talking to each other. They don’t like talking to each other, playing football with each other or even looking at each other because they were raised to believe that because of this person’s race they are a bad person.

A lot of racism causes people to lose jobs, potential friends, and even their lives. People start fights all over just because of the judgment that comes along with racism. I believe if everyone looks more at whom someone is and not just what they look like, then the world would be in such better care and we could live amongst each so much more easily. Not a lot of people realize how much racism affects our world still today, but it happens way more than we think. People still see the color of one’s skin and automatically judge them for being the race that comes along with, without even knowing them. I think it’s sad that after so much time of fighting racism we still drown in it. It’s up to us, to not judge someone because of their race but because of who they are as a person.

— Anna