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STUDENT’S JOURNAL ENTRY As I progressed in this class I tried applying what I was learning to the world around me and open my eyes to things I do not see or take for granted. I never really considered myself part of the dominant group as I felt separate from it growing up homeschooled in a Romanian immigrant community. Looking back in retrospection I now that I have benefited from being white in ways I never even realized. By learning how others have struggled to gain access to treatment I never had to think twice about was eye opening. I look white and have no accent, therefore there is nothing to set me apart from the dominant white culture around me. I never realized I was no different from them in their perspective but also from the perspective of other immigrants and minorities. I can relate to the struggle to fit in and find a place in society because in my childhood we were different. We had an accent, dressed differently, and were poor. However, I could not relate to how difficult it is for others to assimilate because as we lost our accents and entered the middle class the dominant group practically invited us in with open arms. I have opened my eyes to things I’ve never seen and see how much further we have to go to create a truly open and fair society. There is so much injustice around us that I have never seen before and I feel ashamed for my lack of empathy for those around me. Just to illustrate how blind I was to racism I have a little story. I have a Hispanic girlfriend, she is a Mexican immigrant in fact. Before taking this class she would occasionally express frustration with how she and her family were treated by hospital and school officials in her neighborhood. At the time I processed this as just people having a misunderstanding and that my girlfriend was probably overreacting. However as I started learning what racism in America really looks like, and that its not just hillbillies in pointy hats I began to notice things I never thought about. I could see how my girlfriend would sometimes get different service in a negative way that was racially motivated. I finally understood why she wanted me to go with her to certain places like the DMV or car dealerships. She has been talked down to by others because see is a Mexican immigrant. As my eyes opened to her plight I saw how different her immigration story was to mine. I asked her about the time she spent in Texas where she said her family was the most mistreated by whites. I understood why she had angst towards the idea of visiting my family in Tennessee because she is somewhat traumatized by her childhood experience of crossing into a new land and being mistreated and seen as a second class person because she was different. In hindsight I even noticed while taking this class that my treatment has changed because of her. Looking back at dates I have had in previous relationships I would occasionally receive sloppy service but always just assumed it was an overworked waiter, or just a grumpy one. Looking back at my current relationship there has definitely been considerable spike in bad service. I noticed more events where we would receive less attention that I was normally accustomed too. I do not want to over exaggerate, this is not a constant occurrence, however when comparing past relationships to this one there is a real tangible increase in bad service and in the number of times a waiter or waitress would pay less attention to my table than I was use too. The funny thing is that when I brought this up to my girlfriend she said that unlike me she noticed a considerable increase in her level of service since we started dating. I never noticed this because I thought when people were racist against interracial couples that it would be more vocal and vulgar. I assumed it would be blatant because that is what I thought racism looked like. Now I see that the prejudice that leads to racism is much more intricate and subtle in most people. I think most people casually discriminate in a passive way. That is why most people cannot identify it when it happens all around them. I think in general we need to be more tolerant and understanding. I think we culturally lack compassion and blind ourselves to the plight of others because we assume everyone has the same opportunities we do. I now see that is not the case, and I am glad to be able to apply what I have learned to see the things that used to be unseen by my eyes. I hope to keep these eyes open and hopefully do my part to build the type of society I’d want to live in. One that is as open and fair as can be made, where every person has equal opportunities to build their dreams.