The text I selected for this text review assignment is a book by Sarah J. Maas called A Court of Thorns and Roses. This is book is a fantasy romance novel and involves humans and faeries, which are described as being immortal people that live north of a magical wall in the lands of Prythian. The main difference between humans and Fae is that humans lack magic. In this book, a human girl, Feyre, falls in love with a very powerful Faerie and sacrifices herself for him and other faeries to break a deadly curse.
Within this book, the main character, Feyre, is trying to find her true self, one that she is happy with. Feyre went from being a poor human girl who single handedly kept her family alive due to her hunting skills, to a High Fae with strong powers and then became a strong, independent woman. This book focuses on her finding herself and then being content with the self that she builds.
Power is a topic in this book that is constantly talked about. Each Fae character has their own magical powers, but this book also touches on the conflict of power between each court. Each court wants to be the most powerful and led by the most powerful leaders, High Fae. This conflict of power leads to destruction among the seven courts, all power hungry.
I think that the author wants us to question the importance of power: is it more important than love? Why does Feyre choose love over power when every other person she surrounds herself with would have chosen power over love? I think the Sarah J. Maas wants us to think about the implications of being too power hungry can do to a person. I also think she wants us to think about how important it is for a person to find their true self and purpose and then be happy with it. Comparing this text to our class material, I think that the humans would be considered the Other in this situation. Humans are viewed as either slaves or useless; Faeries wanted to separate themselves from humans so much that they created an entire wall from magic just so they could not come into contact with humans, furthering the Other concept.
Picture credit: Zimmerli, Rachel. “The Pros and Cons of Reading Acotar.” Web. 25 Apr. 2021.
Hi everyone, I’m Rachel Kirby, and I’m Victoria Wittig. Welcome to this week’s edition of yo is this racist. We got a comment from a high school student in Nebraska, asking about what systemic racism actually is.
And kind of dive in a little deeper and hat and address its prominence in today’s society.
So just to start off, make sure we’re all on the same page. We’re going to jump right in and define some words for you, some terms ,so we’re first going to define racism, what is it? This definition is pulled from Oxford languages, and it is “prejudice discrimination or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority, or marginalized.
The next time we’re going to describe define is systemic racism and this definition is pulled from the New York Times, and systemic racism is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within a society or organization. It can lead to such as issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, healthcare political power and education among many, many other issues. So, that is what we’re going to touch on today.
Dive a little deeper into it systemic racism can occur through many different ways and kind of
Um come in many different forms. It could be something you see through text, an advertisement, a commercial, your actions, something like a situation you’re observing which is what makes it so so versatile, which I think makes it a lot harder to kind of pinpoint like oh this type of thing is systemic racism.
Anyway, a lot of these instances seem to occur subconsciously and therefore more of like a habit, and you don’t, you’re not called out on it you don’t maybe immediately realize it’s wrong what you said or what you did or how you acted so it’s important.
Yeah, Rachel I completely agree. I think it comes in so many versatile ways. And I think like what you said like sometimes like people like don’t, they don’t realize what systemic racism is, and they might like completely miss it, or, you know, sometimes it could be intentional like with different laws and the federal government and different regulations that they, you know, impose on minorities or people of color. Um I think sometimes it could be intentional, but I think everyone has like has a different point of view on that. And an example that you guys might not be as familiar with is systemic racism, systemic racism in real estate.
This documentary was called a matter of place, and it gave an inside look on this issue of systemic racism in real estate. Connected past struggles for fair housing to contemporary incidents of housing bias, based on race, sexual orientation disability a source of income, and it presented three stories of people who faced housing discrimination in present day in New York City.
That kind of reminds me of an article that I read about real estate and it was actually from February of this year, which is very shocking.
Um so this story was about a young black couple that lived in the Bay Area of San Francisco and if you’re not familiar with that it’s a really nice area to live, bigger houses, it’s just a really nice area.
So yeah, this couple added and an addition to their house in addition was 1000, square feet. So a big addition. And they also made like other really expensive renovations and they just updated their home.
So, a older white woman came to appraise their home value and when she did, she said that they that their home’s value only increased by $100,000. But this family had spent more than $400,000 in renovations. So clearly something’s not adding up there.
So, after hearing this like super disappointing number, they decided to get like a little creative with this, and they asked their white friends to pretend to be them, and placed all their family photos on their walls with photos of white families, and they had another like person come in and appraise their house, and it was appraised for $500,000 more than just a few weeks prior.
So, it just shows how, like you were saying how systemic racism is in real estate and like agencies and stuff like that, like, clearly that woman that was appraising this family had some sort of biases towards like black families, and I I don’t know the reasoning why she would phrase it like that but it’s really unfortunate to hear.
Yeah, and it’s it’s honestly really sad to the family knew like, I mean it’s good that they knew this wasn’t fair like at least they didn’t you know doubt themselves but it’s sad that they said, Okay, I know we’re probably being discriminated against because of our color, let’s bring in reinforcements and went to the extremes of not just having like a white family pretend to be them but taking down their pictures and replacing them. That just seems like so like dehumanizing like it just, it’s really sad to hear and I feel like for them to know like okay this is what we can do and then for it to be reinforced with it, working and getting what they actually deserved is a really upsetting thing and you know they’re definitely not the only family and it’s even crazier that this is occurring in a very like affluent area and neighborhood.
Well, like in that same article, I had like actually read and this is like a direct quote from it that “Black applicants are rejected from mortgage loans at rates, three times higher than white applicants.” So, it is just, I mean there’s so many examples of systemic racism in real estate, and I think you were telling me about an Act earlier, do you want to loop back and tell us about that.
Yeah. So, I mean, and that fact you gave about how mortgages are treated differently based off of the color of your skin like brings me to talk about the Fair Housing Act which was passed in 1968. It protects people from discrimination when they’re renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing related activities.
And it prohibits the discrimination in housing because of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability. It’s covering like a whole realm of things pretty much like if you could be discriminated based off of this, we’re going to put that in that legislation so you can’t be, which is great, awesome that this has all been passed, but realtors are still continuing to discriminate. And it’s difficult to handle because they are obeying the laws for from like a legal standpoint. I’m just because-
We just talked about, like how this stuff is happening but like how are real estate agents and agencies still going about this? Like they’re obviously being discreet. So, what, how are they doing it?
So, with the documentary that I’ve previously watched it seems that there’s kind of an unspoken agreement between realtors and, this isn’t all of them I don’t want to generalize, but at least with the documentary that I watched that what realtors tend to do is if they have a white family that they’re showing properties to, they will show them properties in a predominantly white neighborhood. And the people living in that neighborhood, the other whites are okay with that. They want that. But if these realtors, have a black family or a couple or just single person single parent whatever and they’re showing them neighbor, they’re going to show them neighborhoods that are predominantly black, and it’s not necessarily to make them feel more comfortable, because it’s not like these families requested I want to be showing houses where my neighbors are going to be African Americans. They’re showing them other black neighborhoods to like in efforts to keep them out of the white neighborhoods. And the reason they do that is because when.
This isn’t always, but if this my family were to move into a predominantly white neighborhood, they probably will face some acts of racism, Just be disrespected like, probably, they’re not going to enjoy living there most likely their neighbors are not going to enjoy them living there, but then sometimes that drives out the white, the white families that are already living there. And that’s no fault of the new family but that’s just-
Excuse me, there-
That’s just how some people view other races.
Yeah. They are just like I don’t want to live with these people. And because the realtors are aware of that they tried to abide by these people and a lot of these people have a lot of money and are very wealthy, so they have the ability to-
Sort of influence.
Yeah, influence. And it’s like money is powerful, and I feel like it’s probably not hard for these families to just say like, I don’t want this type of person living in my neighborhood and with the power and money and influence they have they can kind of make that happen.
So do you think that real estate agents think that they are doing the family a favor, like, if a real estate agent was showing a black family only houses in black communities, predominately black communities, do you think that real estate agents think that they’re doing them like a favor doing that or do you think that they are working in a white community’s interest to keep black families or individuals out of that community?
Yeah. I think it depends. Because normally when I feel like when you take on a client. You say, Well, “what are you looking for?” Do you want to be in the city? Do you want to be in the suburbs? Do you want a big house? Do you want a lot of land? Whatever, yes and all that stuff and I don’t think you explicitly asked them, do you want to have white neighbors or black neighbors? Like that that’s just not something that happens. And so, you know, there may be some realtors who just, they’re not going to ask that question because I feel like it can come off harsh and unnecessary and just like a little rude.
Um and so maybe you would show them houses, you know with black families as white families and kind of see where they lie like how they respond to him and kind of go from there. However, that kind of assumes that most neighborhoods are leaning on one way or leaning on another way like nothing’s integrated. And so I think that forms like a bigger issue of. If these practices keep happening. We’re not really going to be able to break them with how like strong they have become, you know what I mean? Like feel like you’re not going to want to have.
I don’t know I feel like I don’t want to make assumptions, but I feel like no one likes to be the first have something in an uncomfortable situation. So like I feel like there may not want to be a black family like okay we’re going to be the first ones to enter a white neighborhood. And we’re going to define stereotypes like we’re gonna make it more integrated you know like it’s complicated, I think, not every realtor is out and trying to.
I don’t think every realtor is out there trying to, you know, be racist in this sense.
But just to sort of wrap it up where, where do we go from here, what are your thoughts, I am interested about that.
Yeah, I think it’s hard because you know it seems like at least with this, this is like only one instance of systemic racism, that we decided to focus on. And if you as a listener wanted to conquer that you know you could become a relative, like I’m going to do it my own way the right way, whatever. That’s great, but you know not everyone’s going to become a realtor. So I think it’s really just being aware and trying to open up, excuse me, your view of things.
Being aware of yourself, like how you act how other people act, and you like, like is this polite? Is it respectful? You know, some people are like, oh, was that like racist I not have said that or like there are a lot of things that are politically incorrect like if you just people set you learned like elementary school think before you speak I think a lot of people a lot of adults forget that. Yeah, and like something simple as that would, you know benefit, to get people to like think a little bit before they do something they might regret, you know?
Yeah I completely agree. And I think that we cover systemic racism in a great way. So I just want to thank all our listeners for tuning in today. Um if you have any questions or if there is another topic you want to talk about, feel free to drop it below and we can try to touch on it next week.
And we have the documentary and the article that were referenced below if you guys want to check it out and our comments are open.
An example of systemic injustice that I read about in the news was the federal execution of Brandon Bernard. Mr. Bernard was sentenced to death in 1999 for his part in a carjacking and the murders of a couple. In 2018, evidence was discovered by the police that proved he did not commit the murders, however he did burn the bodies, an attempt to cover up the crime (McCullough, J). After this evidence was presented to the courts, multiple jurors changed their mind about his death sentence (McCullough, J). Leading up to his execution, thousands of people called, emailed, and tweeted support for the Supreme Court and former President Trump to reverse the decision of Mr. Bernard’s execution. Here is a twitter thread that educated and raised awareness to tens of thousands of people on Twitter: https://twitter.com/wilsonality/status/1336344699561521153?s=12
His death was an example of how the death penalty disproportionately affects the poor and minorities. The United States is among a list of countries that uses the death penalty to punish the poor and minorities. People who are poor have a more difficult time affording a good lawyer, making it more likely that they will be receive a death sentence (Penal Reform International). Minorities have endured this systemic injustice for many, many years. In the year 2000, 18 prisoners were to be federally executed; of the 18 prisoners, 16 of them were either Asian, Hispanic, or African American (ACLU). This is systemic because both minorities and the poor are not receiving as fair of a sentence as White people or people with a higher SES. This systemic injustice can relate to what we learned in class about the Master and the Slave. In this situation, the Judicial/Prison System is the master and the minorities, and the poor are the slaves. To change this wrong to be righted, we as a society need to demand prison reform and aim to abolish for-profit private prisons. We also need to demand fair trials for everyone regardless of a person’s gender(s), sexuality, race, and ethnicity.
ACLU. (n.d.). Race and the death penalty. Retrieved February 07, 2021, from https://www.aclu.org/other/race-and-death-penalty
McCullough, J. (2020, December 10). In rush of FEDERAL executions, Brandon Bernard and ALFRED Bourgeois were put to death for Texas murders. Retrieved February 07, 2021, from https://www.texastribune.org/2020/12/10/brandon-bernard-alfred-bourgeois-executions/
Penal Reform International. (2015, November 19). The death penalty: Myths & realities. Retrieved February 07, 2021, from https://www.penalreform.org/resource/the-death-penalty-myths-realities/
This movie is based off the book Persepolis written by Marjane Satrapi. While the book was used to describe her childhood as in Tehran, the movie focuses more on the lives of the civilians during this difficult time (1980s). Marji’s parents are described as modern and avant-garde, while considering herself to be religious and the next prophet of the galaxy. Marji is encouraged by her parents to be strong and independent, like her mother. During this period many civilians, including her parents, took to the streets to start a revolution in opposition of Emperor Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
Shah wanted to make the city modern but attempted to accomplish this in a cruel way. He tried to change the conservative rural society into a industrial and urban society, with a focus on westernization. However, he had failed to complete his promises because of corruption. In the movie, we see soldiers with gas masks and tanks rolling into the city and a martyr being carried through the streets by civilians after being shot dead by the Shah’s force. The Shah’s regime is known for widespread imprisonment and torture. The Tehran civilians revolted by protesting in the streets and pulling down statues of the Shah. It is estimated that 60,000 civilians were murdered during the revolution (Constituate, 1989). This mass dissatisfaction led to the Shah resigning and the country was forced to rely on nationalism and religion to stay strong.
Throughout this movie, Marji’s individualism, religious views, and safety was all at stake. At school Marji’s teachers were telling her positive things about the ‘god appointed’ Shah, however at home she was learning the truth about how dangerous he was. She lost a lot of friends and family members from the war, which resulted in her having a negative perception of her God and impacted how safe she felt in her own home.
Constituate. (1989). Iran (Islamic REPUBLIC of)’s Constitution of 1979 with … Retrieved February 25, 2021, from https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Iran_1989.pdf
Satrapi, M. (2003). Persepolis. Paris: L’Association.
Satrapi, M., & Winshluss (Directors). (n.d.). Persepolis [Video file].