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Unformatted text preview: Nicole Barbour October 23, 2009 5.1 Daily Life Socially Structured Society The way in which society is structured often has a influence on the aspects of people’s everyday lives. Experiences with social positioning occur in a variety of ways and among different races, classes, and genders. Many essays from Part VI address what it is like to have events in your life make up what social class you fall into. The incidents people encounter are often telling to the types of attitudes and feelings they have as adults. The cultures and ethnicities of people are frequently overlooked, and instead they are replaced with pure emphasis on their social standing. In “Civilize Them with a Stick,” Mary Brave Bird (Crow Dog) with Richard Erdoes, portrays what it was like growing up in a religiously organized school and how social hierarchies were depicted. Brave Bird acknowledges that it might be “almost impossible to explain to a sympathetic white person what a typical old Indian boarding school was like” (403). The harsh punishment that children would endure because of seemingly small wrongdoings is a representation of how the administration saw themselves as having superiority over the kids. The teachers wanted to show that they were in control and what they were teaching was the only way that was right and must be followed. These demeaning experiences have led Brave Bird to claim that they “had such a bad effect upon me that I hated and mistrusted every white person on sight” (406). The events that occur in people’s lives do help to shape their outlook of individuals for many years to come. Brave Bird said it best when she stated that “[r]acism breeds racism in reverse” (406). Although people might have different incidences with how society is organized, each situation is important in examining how people view social hierarchies. In “Yellow,” by Frank Wu, this essay portrays how “[t]he lives of people of color are materially different than the lives of whites” (415). This article describes the racial stereotypes that occur within society and how if often doesn’t include people of every skin color. It addresses that “[w]e Americans believe in a heroic myth… whereby moving to the frontiers gives a person a new identity” (Wu 415). However, it is the opinion of many that this is frequently not the case with people of different skin colors. Wu wants people to realize that “[r]ace is more than black and white…[y]ellow belongs” (416). In Judith Ortiz Cofer’s essay she describes experiences that have happened in her life because of her race. One day when she was riding the bus a man starts singing a song from West Side Story . This occurrence was recognized by Cofer as “prime factor of my life: you can leave the Island, master the English language, and travel as far as you can, but if you are Latina…the Island travels with you” (418)....
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- Fall '09
- White people, Mary Brave Bird, Brave Bird