Week 5 Analytical Post

After reading Pamela Perry’s article “White Means Never Having to Say You’re Ethnic” I can conclude that my high school was much like Clavey. I grew up in Troy, which claims to be one of the more diverse cities in Michigan. The demographics in Troy are what make it a place where people want to send their kids to school. The diversity is part of the learning experience. I grew up with many Asian, Indian, African American, and Middle Eastern friends so the cultural norm for me was one of diversity. I believe Perry was trying to see how diversity in schools influences the way that whiteness is considered the social norm. In a school where the majority of the student body is white, the culture that is associated with “whiteness” becomes the norm. If you do not fall into the category of white, you are a minority and your culture is different. When the whites are the minority in a school then the predominant race would then become the cultural norm. However, if the races are equally mixed in a school then no single race can claim to be the social norm. My high school was very diverse and although not all of the races were equal, not one was dominant. Whites and Asians were the majority, Afican Americans and Hispanics would have been considered minorities. Since there was not a single majority race like at Valley Groves we had a unique social norm that was one where everyone was considered the same, and that was our culture.

6 thoughts on “Week 5 Analytical Post

  1. Hi John,

    Your post was very well written, especially the part where you described your high school experience and how you believed that student diversity encouraged equality in your school. I completely agree with your view that the majority group always presumes itself to be the norm, while the minorities are considered as deviants from it. I attended high school in India, and even there we had students from diverse regional backgrounds who spoke different languages, and looked completely different from one another. However, the difference was that everyone was considered Indian, so there were no “races” present. It was nice to read that at your school, even though people from different geographical ancestries were attending classes together, there was no dominant culture and no particular group presumed that they were the “norm”. I believe that the more diversity we have in our surroundings, the more we learn about other cultures, and open our minds to and appreciate the cultural differences present around us.

    Great post!

  2. John,
    Your post is very similar to mine. I went to a Latino high school so obviously that was the predominant race. However it’s not to the point where Latino culture would be the unmarked dominant. Although it is the social norm in Puerto Rico we can still define our culture. We know what it is and we practice it in the food we eat, the traditions we keep and what we believe. If this study was done in my high school every single person would have been able to agree that we have a culture and that our culture is not “normal.” Our culture is not “normal” but in a fantastic way. We take pride in what we do and the traditions we keep from our immigrant Spanish, African American, and Native American ancestors. Rather than trying to become cultureless we seek to keep the culture alive in our community.

  3. I find it interesting that your high school had no easily discernible group that was considered to be the norm because I felt like my high school was somewhat similar. I went to a school that was predominantly middle eastern and white, with sizable black and Hispanic minorities. While whites were obviously treated better than the other groups, culturally speaking there was no real status quo. Most white students were aware of and embraced many Middle Eastern cultural features and vice versa. Rarely would any white student look down on a Middle Eastern person for partaking in a cultural practice that was unfamiliar in “whiteness.” However, like I said, just because Middle Eastern culture was embraced, that is not to say that each ethnic group was treated equally or fairly. I think that brings in the concept of cultural appropriation. Embracing the parts of a culture that benefit you while still oppressing the people who are natives to that culture is something that is not unfamiliar to white communities around the world.

  4. Hi John, great post! As I am sure you have come to appreciate, it is quite a blessing to be privy to such diversity in high school. I know I was shocked when I met students in my classes who had one African American family in their entire school! Diversity is definitely important when youth are building their concept of social norms. However I have to disagree with your position that when races are equally mixed no one race can claim to be the social norm. In the context of a micro-social environment one might be able to argue that whiteness is not the norm, especially when a non-white race is the majority. However when you step back and look at the macro-social environment, there is only one normal, and that normal is synonymous with whiteness. When you become the norm, you become in a sense culture-less, which gives a superiority over those with distinct ‘non-normal’ cultures. Although students personally may have felt everyone was equal and no one culture was marginalized, in the breadth of American society every non-white culture is marginalized.

  5. I think it’s so cool and interesting to go to a well diverse high school. You get to learn about different cultures and realize how different but same you guys are. Even though you were brought up differently you may find that a lot of your personal home stories might be the same and you might realize that you have some of the same struggles. I really enjoy learning about other cultures and comparing them to my own. I like how you mentioned that diversity encouraged diversity, I totally agree with that. Diversity helps make people accept others for who they are regardless of their race or culture. Like I mentioned previously, Diversity also can help us better understand others and learn more about other people cultures.

  6. Hey, great post. It is great that you got to experience all different cultures in your high school , and not one dominant norm. I like how you bring up how the school is trying to diversify instead of just the social norm of whiteness. I feel that you learn so much more in life by having multiple view points from different cultures. It prepares you for the real world. If a white person, went to an all white school per say, his whole life and then gets out into the real business world working with people of all cultures, odds are he is going to have a bit more trouble than someone who has grown up with multiple cultures in their life. Diversity within schools should increase, because it will help every down the line in all aspects of life.

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