Sep 9, 2003


I'm in a Cross Cultural Communications class this semester (lots of Cs), which I will refer to as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). It's a pretty interesting subject area. For that class, I am doing a practicum where I go to an elementary school and work basically one-on-one with an ESL (English as a Second Language) student. I went to set up my times today with the elementary teacher. I wound up staying and doing my first day, which I wasn't really expecting, but it turned out really good. I'm working with a 4th grader named Remo who is German. He's adorable! He's a pretty cool kid, too. He's really quite smart, too. Like today he was writing a paragraph (as was the rest of the class), and I could tell he was "sounding out" the words, although they were spelled incorrectly, because when I had him read the paragraph to me I realized he was spelling the words like he says them. His German accent is slight, but it still influences his pronunciation, and therefore his spelling, of words. He's way cool, and I'm really looking forward to the time I get to work with him. I don't know that you would care to know all that, but now you do anyway.

Along the same lines, I was reading for my ESOL class just a little while ago, and something really stood out to me. People of so-called "minority groups" in our nation are now called "people of color." I really have some severe problems with that term. I understand that they can no longer be called "minority groups" since their numbers are on a quick rise, but I do not care at all for the new term that has been chosen. First of all, I can't help but think of the pictures I've seen of segregated America, where one water fountain was labeled "white" and the other "colored." While we don't appear to be reverting to segregation, the terms are awefully similar. Secondly, I have a problem with the term "people of color" because it gives the impression that my skin tone is NOT a color. Furthermore, I have Hispanic and Filipino friends with skin colors nearly identical to mine, yet they are "people of color" and I am appearantly a "person without color." If that were true, would I not be clear instead of white? Third, I am not so pleased with the fact that our society has been divided into two portions, "white people" and "people of color," even though "people of color" is comprised of many various and distinct ethnic groups. (I'm wondering which catagory my German friends fall into. They all "look white"!) For some reason or another, I have done a lot of thinking about "race" lately -- another term that I do not particularly care for. In my "perfect world," there would be no such thing as race. Everybody would freely intermarry until races were eliminated. I'm not sure why this seems so important to me. I suppose it is because there is so much discrimination based on such an irrelevent issue. Hearts, minds, and souls are all made the same way, regardless of what your outside looks like or who your parents are. We all like to portray ourselves as free from racism (including myself), but the truth is that we all have some degree of it within us. Or at least everyone that I've ever met has had some degree of it. I think it's easy to be non-racist concerning individuals that we are friends with that are of another race, but on the grand scale, it's much harder. I guess it's the way we've been conditioned to think in our society. Being brainwashed stinks.

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