I attended the talk titled “The Implications of Recognizing and Discussing Racial Bias” by Dr. Sylvia Perry on October 13th. Dr. Perry conducted studies on bias awareness on adults and how this can influence their children and their biases as well. Dr. Perry’s study found that when adults were aware of their own biases, they were more likely to accept feedback and learn how to grow from their biases through diversity. To me, people show understanding when they can admit to their own faults. They are able to see their mistake, showing they are able to understand where they went wrong and can learn to fix the error. Hence, participants in Dr. Perry’s study were probably more likely to accept feedback when they were able to admit their faults. Dr. Perry also conducted another study about white parents, their children and bias. Her study found that parents with a higher awareness were less likely to deny racism, and more likely to show their children examples of racism. Parents with low levels of bias awareness were more likely to downplay prejudice examples. Parents with high levels were more confident non-verbally and had less hesitation when talking to their children or seeing examples of racism. The study concluded that kids’ bias awareness correlated with their parents as the study went on. This study showed me that bias awareness is most likely learned rather than developed by one’s own self at an early age. Our biases as children, specifically towards race, will most likely be influenced by our guardians’ own reactions and biases to race. Children tend to have a “monkey see, monkey do” attitude when they are younger, which leads to this bias being imprinted onto them from their parents. This further proves the idea that the body is an archive. It holds feelings that are unspoken and can reveal them while also imprinting onto other bodies as well. This illuminates more on the idea of the body as an archive and the body’s adaptability.
Slacks and Commentary
Feelings stay within
The body cages itself
Dragged down into the abyss.
This haiku emphasizes the body as a living archive when it becomes a jail for emotions. The haiku post I made was supposed to stress the bottling of emotions, and how harmful it can be to the body both physically and mentally. When we decide to keep our feelings to ourselves, we must control our bodies from further exposing these feelings. The body then “cages” itself, locking the feelings inside of it and “wardoning” them from coming out. It is a stressful and harmful process on the body, as it naturally wants to convey and express feelings and emotions. However, due to societal expectations and stigma against mental health and expression on certain emotions (mostly the negative ones), people will force their emotions to remain inside, fearing judgement and rejection. They are caging their own bodies from being free and naturally conveying inwards feelings and needs. This “abyss”- a dark, never ending void- can represent many things. It could represent depression, confusion, loss of self, loss of touch within oneself, loss of touch with reality and what’s around us, despair, etc. All we have is us as we get dragged down, our bodies imprisoning our feelings and our stories. The body purposely becomes an archive, putting an end to feelings and emotions before they are revealed, rather than becoming an archive after events happen or emotions are expressed.
Fanon’s “The Fact of Blackness” bridges an understanding between Omari’s struggles and being a young black man in today’s society. Within Fanon’s text, he discusses that the world is built for whites, and many black people try to conform into those ideas/stereotypes so that they can survive. Many black people are forced into these stereotypes or ideas as well and suffer emotional damage due to this. However, you cannot mold another human being- their own person with their own stories, thoughts, emotions, bodies- into a different one. For example: taking a square and trying to forcefully fit it into a circle. The harder someone pushes that square into the circle, the sooner the square will shatter. Pipeline demonstrates the two different options the “square” (black people) will have when being pushed into the mold- shatter or conform. Omari, tired of being forced into one single idea, story, BODY, shattered in class with his teacher, who was forcing him into that “circular” mold, which Omari has faced all his life. However, some of these squares will fit in the mold, yet they have to risk parts of them to fit. Xavier lost parts of himself (most importantly family, love, and morals) to fit into this mold, destroying his relationship with Omari and himself. However, the body shows that a person cannot hide everything about them. While Omari and Xavier were trying and trying not to fit into these societal views, their bodies portray them for how they are- two black men living in America. From an outsider who understands, their bodies tell enough: they are forced into white societal views, they face racism and oppression, they face harmful stereotypes. No matter how much they fabricate to fit into societal views like Xavier, it is obvious they have faced some of the previously noted struggles within America. On the other hand, the body may also succumb to loss of control. In Omari’s case, after being shattered from the pressures to conform, he loses control on his anger, lashing out and pushing people away.
Black Venus is a young slave woman who was beaten to death on a slave ship, yet she also is a symbol. Black Venus symbolizes all the black women- throughout thousands of years – who have been beaten to death and sexualized. Their bodies are archives of the abuse and mistreatment they have gone through, rather than their own words. This is because it’s so hard to tell Black Venuses stories since their stories are never spoken of orally. There is no care to learn or pay attention- nobody on the slave boat cared to watch Black Venus when she was killed, let alone to barely acknowledge her existence on the boat. Her story ends with her death and has no in-between. The same happens for the other Black Venuses around the world. Nobody cares enough to watch and tell the story of what happened to them. Black women in society are the least cared for, yet they have arguably struggled the most and worked the hardest (and still do). The author realizes that they cannot tell Black Venus’ story and make up parts to console their own self in what Black Venus had to endure. It is almost impossible to tell her story, since there was none detailed enough to make one, however, the author mentions that they can write about what WOULD have happened. Bodies archival functions are extremely important here. They carry stories that are forgotten- stories that cannot be fabricated or lied about. Bodies are factual archives; they are unbiased and portray only the truth.
I thoroughly enjoyed this reading. In the beginning, Socrates is talking to Glaucon about visuals. He asks about what a prisoner, who can only face a wall and stare at it, would think of the shadows of people behind them. Socrates is trying to demonstrate that our environment has a massive effect on our learning abilities. However, humans are adaptive, and Socrates says that with slow exposure, humans can start to push the limits on things their environment holds them to. The body can adapt to its environment to change how it functions within it. However, without this exposure and without the willingness to strive through the obstacles to obtain knowledge, people will remain to live in the bliss of their ignorance, bound to what their bodies know best. If this is threatened, they will become hostile- a natural defense of the body. This reminded me of a majority of dystopian novels: 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Slaughterhouse-Five, etc. Through these books, we believe this type of dystopian society is fiction. However, Plato’s piece argues that human nature can govern over others who challenge it, not just an oppressive government. Humans can stifle one another’s own fight to gain knowledge and push the boundaries of societal “norms”.