Receiving Benefits Because of Your Race

Posted on August 31, 2011 by

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While I was reading about mathematics learning and racism, I came across this quote that gave a twist on institutionalized, “hidden”, subtle racism:

Racism springs not from the hearts of “racists,” but from the fact that dominant actors in a racialized social system receive benefits at all levels (political, economic, social, and even psychological), whereas subordinate actors do not.  Racial outcomes then are not the product of individual “racists” but of the crystallization of racial domination into a racial structure:  a network of racialized practices and relationships that shapes the life chances of various races at all levels.  – E. Bonilla-Silva, A.E. Lewis, & D. Embrick “I did not get that job because of a black man…’ Storylines and Testimonies of Color Blind Racism.  Sociological Forum.

Briefly, here are the “benefits” I’ve gained as a result of being the son of Filipino immigrants in LA.

Political Benefits/Negatives to being Filipino:  Not sure about benefits, unless I lived in Carson, CA.  Mostly invisible otherwise.

Economic Benefits/Negatives to being Filipino:  Well, the US allowed my mom to move here because of employment.   My mom is a nurse, and for a very long time has supported a family of four.

However, my dad a talented artist, did graphic design for Asian newspapers for a few years, but has now just dabbled in sales.

Social Benefits/Negatives to being Filipino:  The child of immigrants without grandparents, uncles/aunts, cousins and my mom’s nursing friends, we kinda had the habit of staying in and keeping to ourselves.   My world was limited to church, school, and family parties.  Good and bad.  For the betterment of my academics and will to get things done, but probably to the determent of finding my way quickly to jobs, independent living.

Psychological Benefits/Negative to being Filipino:  Well, I know that I can always fall back onto either one of nursing, boxing, imitation singing or dancing. We are seen as cool and funny.  We are seen as pretty smart.  Yay, we can be your friend, black or white!

We are statistically some of the more educated Asians however, we aren’t really seen as leaders.  We don’t own businesses, we aren’t the type of Asian to dole out the perfect SAT scorers or own the Harvards, UCLAs, or ivy leagues.