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Pelayo 1

Denise Pelayo
Jennifer Rodrick
English 115
October 15, 2016
Space makes You, You
People in society categorize others on the way they look dress, behave, skin color,
and many other aspects of how people look. I am a guilty for doing this and a victim.
According to people that hardly know me, I am a serious, white or "guerra", shy and rude
person that cannot speak Spanish fluently or at all, even though by my appearance it is
more than clear that I am Hispanic. These are labels that I have been given by ignorant
people that like to judge instead of getting to know someone. Being a certain race means
that in society you will only be welcomed in environments that identify with who you are
and what you look like. Occasionally, people conform to the space they engage in, for
example, assimilating a choice that is not a choice. By nature humans tend to act a certain
ways to avoid catching people's attention or to avoid getting judged. People avoid using
slang that they use in their normal day to day life because in many spaces it is viewed as
informal. They dress accordingly to the space that they're going be in. People tend to not
act like themselves because most of the time it is viewed as inappropriate. Many people
may never guess that looking at someone a certain way or by trying to avoid eye contact
with them could result in offending them or possibly hurting them in the long run. By not
saying a word to someone, but by simply avoiding a conversation with them can damage
a person because they will start to view themselves differently. Space constructs people's
identity because of stereo types, psychological trauma, and dehumanization.

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(Figure 1)

Everyone comes from different backgrounds which makes everyone unique

whether it be how they dress, their skin color, the way they act, etc. The reality is that not
everyone walks around with an open mind to try to accept other's for whom they are;
instead everyone goes around putting labels on others. Not many try to take a chance to
get to know who a stranger is or why they act is certain ways. "Racism is a cruel practice
that can affect someone mentally, emotionally, and physically" (Wings 48). As many say
that we shouldnt judge a book by its cover well it's is true. Judging someone by the way
they look isn't something positive because no one choses to be born with dark brown
skin, with white skin, to be albino, to have blonde hair, to be poor, etc. One thing is to be
curious about someone and why they look the way they do and another is to look at them
and deteriorate who they are by judging every aspect of them. Judging without taking
into consideration someone's feeling is something that can potentially affect a person in
the long run. The person that you just judged for dressing a certain way is now going to
go through their whole day being insecure of who they are not only physically, but
mentally as well. Racism is something that affects people in every space they enter. It

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determines whether they will be judged in a positive or negative way. This is all do to
society and its social levels.
"Racial structures maintain their shape and power throughout the decades
because they continue to benefit the dominant group. These structures ensure that
racial inequality cannot be opposed. The frame of each space continues because it
works for those in power, and has been embedded into everyone" (Wings 50).
The author Rotter is stating that each space is affiliated with each race, emphasizing that
each race has its roll in each space. Having the mindset to judge someone when they are
in the wrong space is normal because the way that society is set up, that if you aren't in
the space that society expects you to be then you should be judged. On the other hand we
werent born racist, the way we view racism has to do with the way we were raised.
You are raised in a not so very well off neighborhood, but in your neighborhood
you are seen as a good person that doesnt do any harm to others. You go your whole life
trying to avoid conflicts or drama between others yet to one day you move out of this
place and are started to get viewed as the bad person. In the article Black Men and
Public Space by Brent Staples he speaks about a young African American guy that was
a good guy; he never tried to harm anyone but seemed that everywhere he would go he
would get judge based on his physical appearance. He could be walking down the road
and he would get labeled with very harsh names. "To her, the youngish black man-a
broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the
pockets of a bulky military jacket seemed menacingly close" (Norton Reader 141).
Being that he is a certain race that is classified as being criminals this young guy was
being viewed as someone that was about to hurt someone when all he was doing was

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walking down the street. He was seen as a criminal mainly because he was in a
neighborhood that was predominately white. He meant no harm yet the white lady was
taught otherwise that his kind meant harm, so you should stay away from these types of
people. The constant judgements from everyone became a day to day thing; he went from
being the nice guy to someone that became filled with rage. Over the years, I learned to
smother the rage I felt at so often being taken for a criminal. Not to do so would surely
have led to madness (Norton Reader 143). Stapler states that the young man had to
change who he was because the space that he was in didnt accept him for who he was, he
had to conform to his surroundings. In doing so he change who he actually was and
wasnt allowed to be himself because if he did he would most likely have gotten killed or
put into jail since his kind are criminals.

(Figure 2)
Throughout history there is a pattern within the races. Being a white person is
way more dominating than being a colored person. Throughout time there has been
something called white privilege in which white people have a priority and more
opportunities than any other races. In the article Is Donald Trump a Racist that was
published on The New York Times, they speak about one of the current candidates that are
running to be president, Donald Trump, and his history of being a racist. He is a white

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man that was raised by a racist father, therefore making him a racist as well. The author
Nicholas Kristof talks about the topic of him prioritizing the white race over the colored
To prove the discrimination, blacks were repeatedly dispatched as testers
to Trump apartment buildings to inquire about vacancies, and white testers were
sent soon after. Repeatedly, the black person was told that nothing was available,
while the white tester was shown apartments for immediate rental (Kristof P4).

Donald Trump was dehumanizing everyone that wasnt white. He would

discriminate them for being people of color. I will most likely never understand
how the color of ones skin has to do with who you are. Everyone is made up of
the same types of material; bone, skin, veins, etc. Looking back in history, the
division between races is more than noticeable. The borders were created to
divide races. Once you cross into a different territory you have to conform into
the way they are in order to fit in, your race will also determine whether you will
standout or even be welcomed into the space. Each country is a space that is
being run how the primary race wants it to be. Therefore Donald Trump being a
white person, he wants white people to be prioritized and the people that arent
white shouldnt have much opportunity in anything.

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(Figure 3)
All in all, space affects us mentally, emotionally, and physically. It defines how
we will be viewed by others. The space that you come from plays a big factor on who you
are. Race determines whether you are seen as a good or bad person. Where ever you go
you will have to conform to the space and play a certain roll in order to fit in. Some races
are above others and this will never change because that is how history has made it out to
be. No one is born a racist. Racism is something that is taught to a person, whether it is
for good or bad. Unlike most people if something is taught to you and you dont see it as
something that is good you should change that. Dont judge a person for what they look
like physically, get to know them first.

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Works Cited
Staples, Brent. Black Men and Public Space
The Norton Reader: Shorter Fourteenth Edition, edited by Goldthwaite, Melissa
New York London, W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 2016
Rotter, Max. The Genesis of Racism
Wings: Distinguished Student Essays, 23rd Edition, McNeil, Hayden.
United States of America, 2017
Kristof, Nicholas. Is Donald Trump a Racist? Sunday Review
2016, The New York Times

Figure 1- https://www.pinterest.com/joneaharris/stereotypes/
Figure 2- http://www.citypages.com/arts/leslie-barlows-mixed-race-identityher-to-paint-underrepresented-people-8411372
Figure 3- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86gbVJV1p2M


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