The Story We Tell: Post-viewing Activity

Following our viewing of Episode Two: The Story We Tell, please respond to the following question:

> What is the significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”? What function has that story played in the U.S.? What are the stories about race that you tell? What are the stories you have heard? Did the film change the way you think about those stories? If so, how?

25 thoughts on “The Story We Tell: Post-viewing Activity

  1. I continue enjoying this movie (i mean in my case, reading the transcript), the second part this time. So thoughtful!
    To claim, “all men are created equal” (by Thomas Jefferson) and then to divide the population into race, and measure skulls and declare other people (not Whites) “inferior race” (Blacks, Indians for example) and justify the slavery, reservations, and inequality…..it was not fair, more than unfair, it was inhuman. And this race prejudice and status inequality are still existed. In my opinion, this movie is the eye-opener and bias-breakener 🙂 it’s very good. I think, everybody needs to watch it.

  2. The purpose of the title, “The Story We Tell,” is because it is a tale that opens the eyes of social inequalities. It is traces the origins of Europeans and also the American slave system. It gives the viewer or reader an opportunity to see from a different perspective. It shows the different races of how they survived in their different habitats and how they interacted with others of different races. I have heard a lot about different races, depending on color of skin as well as culture. A lot of perceptions have been put in my head that the darker your skin, the more likely for that person to get into trouble. After reading the transcript for this film, it states that “all men are created equal,” and for this statement it becomes a controversy because even though it says were equal, we still are different from one another. And one example of this is race.

  3. The significance of episode two was to create a general understanding of how/where race was fabricated. Race has functioned as classifications of the different roles we were given/deceived to believe we amount to based on who is more civilized to better the society we live in and further grow the United States/White America.

    Any stories of race I’ve heard come from what was taught in school. The history books and films I’ve watched as a kid. My perception has changed and those stories became more questionable as I grew and met others with different ideas of race my belief became blurred. After seeing this film I feel as if the way things are will never change, it will take a massive event Because the achievements blacks have had that contributed to society were overlooked and go without recognition. I wonder if the Africans were able to resist the Europeans how things might have changed. Maybe the European idea of inferiority became subjective and the idea that we all are equal becomes the norm.

  4. What is the significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”? What function has that story played in the U.S.? What are the stories about race that you tell? What are the stories you have heard? Did the film change the way you think about those stories? If so, how?

    The tittle “the story we tell” basically just says we don’t really know the true story behind race and slavery and the film proved this. Growing up we hear the same slavery stories and celebrate Christopher Columbus but this film shows that’s its not all what it sums up to be. We all know that slavery existed but what we don’t understand is why does racism still live on. This film explains that its because instead of just taking power from African Americans, throughout history it was embedded that African Americans were naturally “inferior”. So although slavery was abolished the fairytale of black African Americans still lived on.

  5. This film is very enlightening, since it sheds more light into things that were just briefly went over in high school. While it was enlightening, it is also depressing at the same time.
    There has always been some controversy with Thomas Jefferson, since he proclaims “All men are created equal” but yet he owns slaves. Almost like saying “All life is sacred and you mustn’t kill” yet you eat vegetables which is a plant, which is also life, so that point is moot.
    I always played devil’s advocate when viewing history. They may say one thing, but might do another because their definition of what they say is skewed a bit. I kind of not that surprised with the way they used media to further a lot of points that are deemed racist, since they were trying to get the public to sign up for fighting in other lands, or how they try to assimilate Native Americans just because they didn’t like their culture and so they deem it “savage” to force a point.

  6. “The Story we Tell” is an interesting episode that I would recommend everyone to watch. It shows you the racial idea of the American slavery system. This episode shows where all the slaves shared similar traits and common ancestry. I don’t think i have encountered racism towards me but I have seen many documentary and TV shows that give examples of racism. Weather it is at work, school or transportation, racism is faced everywhere you go. After viewing this video I believe racism will never change. Generally society tend to judge a whole racial group by one person act within that group. In my opinion i think that is not justice.

  7. “The Story We Tell” is a very documented film that tough us about how race is introduced in American. At first Thomas Jefferson stated ” all men are created equal” He sees that Indians has a brown skin color, He thinks that there’s no difference between white and brown skin color”. He also sees Indian are brave peoples that they are loyal to their land and also brave to protect their own land. However the Africans lost many war in their country and they were imported to other country as hard labor. American sees race so different because African is black skin and lost many war, so they treated them as lower statues people in society. American treated African with no right because they are weaker skin color people. In today society racism still live, people judge other people skin color as social class, the skin color that they have can determines the amount of education they had and their generation history.

  8. “The Story We Tell,” is an appropriate title to this video. The significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell” is about the story we tell later in life after we have been treated bad, felt the effects of stress or illness because of racial discrimination. The function the story played in the U.S. was to inform recipients of the effects of racial discrimination even still exist even today and how it affects our health. My stories are many but I always look at the bigger picture and from different points of view. I feel we have to be open minded when it comes to all issues in life. In this country, I have been treated with avoidance, played less attention or ignored. But depending on the situation, what country I’m from, my culture, my sex, tradition, religion or class, I am treated differently or less of a person. The stories I have heard are very sad even though we are more educated on many topics. But I know that we have gotten better, over the past years we have made history and elected an African American President Obama. Many races, including the white race have voted for him. We are making progress. It is good to speak and give our voice. We should continue to speak and give our voices because we are being heard. The film was very informative and I learned that the way that other people view and treat me increases my stress level to the point that it produces illness. Stress does have an impact on pregnant women and can cause a preterm delivery.

  9. This episode showed that the greed for power had a detrimental effect on racial equality. The white Americans had power in abundance over the American Indians and African Immigrants, so they were able bully the former for their lands and use the latter as servants. Before watching the film, I was not familiar with how Europeans were able to take over USA in such a short period of time in the 17th century and the effects that their takeover had on the Indian population. The so called civilization of American Indians was very unfair because they were free people who were made to suffer in their own country by others. Back in the days of Thomas Jefferson, racism was at its peak because the leaders of the country were at the forefront of everything. Jefferson said that all men were made equal, but he still owned over a hundred slaves and tried to apply science to prove that black people were inferior. This situation makes me wonder, why he uttered such words when deep down inside, he knew his words weren’t truthful. This story also helps to give a picture of what the people had to go through to make United States what it is today, because there was not much uniting taking place in the past. It also shows how far, the country has come because a couple of decades ago, no one would have expected a black man to be elected for president. In terms of having an effect on me, the story has motivated me to work harder each day and take nothing for granted, because my ancestors had to go through a lot for us to be free today.

  10. I believe that this episode is called “The Story We Tell” because it shows us how we learned to tell stories about race and how we even started to use race to classify people. In the US the story’s function was to start racism in everyone. As soon as there were racial bias and racial discrimination the story we tell started. Some stories of race that I can share are they way people discriminate people we dark tan skin. A lot have people have called me dirty in the past because I am partially Indian now i don’t know where that came from but it was one of the first times i experienced racial discrimination. I have heard plenty of stories from other people where they went through that same experience because of their skin color.
    The film did not really change the way I view those stories because as a person I accept everyone no matter what they look like and I learned to be like that after being discriminated.

  11. The significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell” in my opinion is an ice breaker to elaborate or enlighten others about our past as people (different races) and how race came into play in the United States by formulating what was NOT into what became a phenomenon as RACE. This phenomena which is race has stories that have been played into history from generation to generation and have shown how one race is been subjected to experience the worst inhuman treatment for the benefit for those claiming supremacy over the other.
    In addition, it is visibly clear to see the functions these stories have played in the United States. Functions which have shown differences from politics, power, inequality, including racism, segregation, poor housing, poor healthcare, and so on to those who were and are considered inferior. However, because of these functions, many have come to realize the importance of educating others and finding ways to amending what was wrongfully inducted to the lives of blacks – including other division of races.
    Moreover, stories that I have told or heard regarding race are stories of what I have read, learned, and observed. To be more specific, stories of Africans who were taken, sold, or captured in Africa and taken to different part of the world – but stories more on Africans brought to the United States and how they were mistreated like animals, enslaved, killed, women raped – at the same time how they (Africans) showed their white masters how to grow crops and many things. Treatments beyond words compare to Europeans and other immigrants who were treated mildly because of their skin color before and after the Africans arrived; stories of how African Americans were left in ruined buildings or moved to buildings that became ghettos with poor living conditions, poor sanitation, and how they were refused grants and so many amenities or opportunities that would have better their lives and build their socioeconomic status on a solid foundation.
    Finally, the firm changed my perception and thinking of what I didn’t know about the stories told, and open my understanding to new things and how I personally would educate others and how I would elevate myself to the level I want to live in United States and don’t give in to the negative issues of race that would prevent me from reaching where I desire. It also opened my understanding that race is a social construct phenomena that has ruined innocent lives and put others in position in life were they never wanted to be.

  12. The tittle “The Story We Tell” explains how far we’ve taken the word race throughout the world and how we are planning to stop it. Race has gone from differential on social class and beliefs, to feeling inferior or superior among others that have a different skin tone that we do. Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created with equal rights, meaning that Africans had the right to be free and no to be treated differently. Although Jefferson believed in equality, he contradicted himself by owning slaves. The film made me realize that the thing or story we keep telling ourselves is that all men are born equal and have equal rights. The idea is that we should have equal opportunities and jet some people are still being criticized by the color of their skin. Sometimes when we hear the news that black or a Latino person has the probability to get the diseases than a white person we assume that is because it’s our color difference and because it has been said by scientist. Africans had been free for a long time from slavery in the U.S and jet they are still being treated differently, we can agree that now people can sit any place the bus they want without being judge but they are still being victims on stereotypes and on employment and education benefits.

  13. The second episode was interesting. It highlights some deeper facts about the history of racism and social inequalities. This episode reflects upon the origin of racial idea and the American system of slavery. All the slaves had same physical traits and common ancestry. It was not a coincidence that the apostle of freedom himself, Thomas Jefferson, also a slaveholder, was the first American public figure to articulate a theory speculating upon the “natural” inferiority of Africans. The episode is an eye-opening tale of how race served to rationalize, even justify, American social inequalities as “natural.”
    The tittle of the movie emphasizes on how our minds and thoughts have been controlled, especially in the US, to believe in a false construct and unfortunately, we are still practicing the same pattern now a days. Race was designed to divide us, by putting groups against each other by ascribing certain attributes to one particular ‘race’, thus making it less desirable to be members of the ‘inferior races’ and creating ‘racism’. They built laws and policies around these ideas. Unfortunately, we have inherited these toxic notions and people remain to be so much divided and are so easily conquered.

  14. After watching this video it helps me uncover the roots of the race concept it’s true that race has always been with us. Ancient peoples stigmatized “others” on the grounds of custom, class, instead they didn’t sort people according to physical differences.The history and evolution of the idea are deeply tied to the development of the US this film gave a clear confirmation that race is a social construct, created and continued by humans in society alone.
    The division of the world’s peoples into distinct groups red,black,white or yellow people’s. The history and evolution of the idea are deeply tied to the development of the U.S four centuries, race has become a powerful and enduring narratives.Moments America’s past reveal how this idea took hold and became the lens through which we view our world. could the whole thing have been prevented? Would they ever able to put an end into racism?

  15. In my opinion the episode’s title has a very important significance, it let us know that we are responsible for telling the stories about a certain topic, in this case race, to future generations and how we tell those stories matter.
    This story let us know how race came about and that the Europeans even thought that they found a link in science to support and justify the racism that went on. This filmed showed the treatment of native Americans and how they were separated from their land. Also that even poor white Americans benefited from racism because they were thought of as better than Africans Americans because of their complexion.
    The stories I was told about race when I was growing up were in school and I didn’t think much about it. Then as I became a teenager I saw how some of the stories and stereotypes about people were wrong. Not all people from a certain group behaves the same.
    The film gave me more information of what happened with African Americans, native Americans and even Mexicans but it didn’t change the way I view race now. My mind was changed long ago. Everyone should be treated equally. There shouldn’t be racism or discrimination.

  16. The title is perfect. “The story we tell”… everything we know about race is from stories that have been passed down from political leaders, grandparents, great grandparents, media outlets, newscasters, textbooks. All information we have about race that isn’t science based comes from a story. That story has made it difficult for everyone to be “one”. It makes it difficult for some people to see that we are all Human! Race is something that isn’t identified by your skin tone but what you and your family have been told you identify as. Growing up I had really long thick hair that my mom straightened chemically. Since I had really thick, long, straight healthy hair and I’m on the lighter side of the brown spectrum people used to tell me that I wasn’t black. They told me that I had to be mixed because of the type of hair I had and my skin tone. I was told oh you have nice hair for a black girl…. what does that even mean? I am the person that can mix in with different races if we’re gong based on looks. There are people who come up to me speaking Spanish, people who think I’m mixed with Indian, or Middle Eastern. If I look like all these different races based on the stereotypes and stories people have heard why is it so hard to believe that maybe just maybe those stories are wrong. Why does it matter what my race is and why can’t a black girl have long thick healthy hair? The truth is my mother’s family is from West Virginia. My ancestors on her side were slaves, could have been Native American even. My father’s family is mixed with Caribbean descent from Trinidad, I don’t tell people that because they always go “Oh that explains the hair”. When honestly my hair is most identifiable with my female cousins on my mother’s side and not my fathers. This just confirms that race is an illusion, a story that no one knows what the original really is. The movie helped confirm my thoughts about this theory. The idea of race hasn’t been around long and was used to make a set of people superior than others. It was used to justify horrendous acts of cruelty for political gain. I think more people should view this film and hopefully they’ll realize the correlation between the term race and slavery and realize at the end of the day race can’t be proven through biology but being HUMAN can.

  17. The significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell” is that stories that are told about the past are not always true and may stray apart from the full truth. The function that the story played in the U.S is that it showed how the U.S has progressed in terms of racism from the past till now. Slaves no long exist in the U.S., but racism still does. The film changed that way I look about stories overall because there can always be a hidden truth behind each one. Stories can always be misinterpreted and hide facts about it.

  18. In my opinion, the tittle “The story we tell” refers to how, over the past centuries, we have speculated about alleged genetic differences among us to justify the hierarchy of races that we believe in since the 1700’s. Sadly, those allegations about the existence of inferior races not only negatively affected the fate of large social groups in the past but also continue to affect them today.
    Growing up in Venezuela, the concept of race being something that you carry in your genes was not something that I ever heard or learned from my environment. However, I did believed in certain stereotypes associated with specific social and ethnic groups in my country. The films have changed me in such a way that, nowadays, I try to stay away from promoting stereotypes and I even share what I have learned in class with my friends and family whenever I can with the illusion of eliminating the idea of different biological races once and for all.

  19. Before watching, “The Story we tell,” I believed that race has always existed. It is interesting to see that race was created as a way to segregate people. To determine classification for human determination. It’s amazing how they felt that the uncivilized were inhuman and should be controlled because they couldn’t identify with their way of living.
    I always knew that race was used a declassification tool but I didn’t realize that it did not exist before slavery. I have always identified with my race because my family identified with race. I never really thought to denounce race. It makes me wonder when they ask race questions for “option survey” purpose, is it still being used as a tool to declassify other races.

  20. The second part of the movie was interesting. It was interesting that when the founding fathers of United States were writing the constitution, they wrote “all men were created equal” but their actions contradicted it. Then I learned that Europeans didn’t considered black or colored people as a man or full/ equal person. The movie was very educational. It told the origin of racism in United States and the struggle people had to reach to the point they are today for equal rights. Most part of the film wasn’t new to me but it was a revision of information I learned in my history of United Stated class for bachelors program. But before that I wasn’t aware of the history, the origin, and the struggle of races in United States.

  21. What is the significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”? What function has that story played in the U.S.? What are the stories about race that you tell? What are the stories you have heard? Did the film change the way you think about those stories? If so, how?

    The significance behind the title “The Story We Tell” is that there has been many stories in regards to race that some people encounter whether they have experienced it or had a personal experience. I haven’t experienced racism myself but I have seen it in person and it bothers me. I work in retail, so stories like these I have experienced with my manager. Every time he sees an African American entering our store he tells me to ” keep an eye on them” because he assumes that theft is gonna occur. It’s just sad because he himself is African American and I don’t understand why he always tells me to be cautious when they enter when in reality anyone of any race can be stealing at any given time but he just targets that specific race in general.

  22. “The Story We Tell” is a documented film which exactly tells us a story from the past until now about racism and slavery. This title is exactly how the message has been interpreted and been delivered to the world. However, in context with the U.S the slavery does not exist any longer but the racism still continues at certain extents. There are not much stories i tell about race, but as mentioned in the reply above i face the same exact situation. My manager tells me the exact same thing , that i keep an eye whenever an African American enters our store. And also that i should double check the money he hands me in, because my manager thinks that they always bring the fake money. Having this heard many times I myself get alerted every time an African American enters our store. Not only that, having heard a lot of bad and sad stories about African American doing robberies and stealing in the subways, i am always cautious and alert while traveling in the trains.

  23. What is the significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”? What function has that story played in the U.S.? What are the stories about race that you tell? What are the stories you have heard? Did the film change the way you think about those stories? If so, how?

    The reason that I believe it’s called “The Story We Tell” is because it explains the origin of race from the history of the U.S. It’s interesting to see how important race is to the history of the United States, establishing significant racial oppression that are still difficult to overcome today. There were some aspect of the film that I didn’t know such as the worlds fair concept, that was something that was deeply disturbing to see that existed. I think the treatment of both the Native American and African American in American history is extremely significant because those pass action are still lingering and affecting our society today.

    The stories of race that I’ve heard usually come from my academical career and learning the history on oppression that the country express toward minorities. This film takes a deeper look on the topic of race, giving me a slightly different outlook, one of greater shame and disbelief that individuals were so intolerant of others.

  24. > What is the significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”? What function has that story played in the U.S.? What are the stories about race that you tell? What are the stories you have heard? Did the film change the way you think about those stories? If so, how?

    The significance of the title “The Story We Tell” is that many of the social injustices that go on even after so many years after they abolished slavery and why that is. For years the U.S have used excuses to justify why they use blacks as slaves. Many times i have herd that they try to use many forms of science as an excuse to define them as less than human but simply lie. I appreciate what one of the speakers said in the film. He stated “that if they would have said to begin with that they are slaves simply because we have the power to do so when they lost that power things would have bin completely different”. This is so true because society believed what they were being told and and once slavery ended they still had those views towards blacks. In many ways it still affects us today in the behaviors we practice daily. The film did not change my views on the stories because i did not believe them but it did educate me a bit more on history of the U.S.

  25. i believe the significance of the title “The Story We Tell” is that race is something that humans created and not something that is biological. the function of race that the story played was to categorize people in a system of hierarchy. i have never really heard anything about who or what created a race so the film surely did change the way i think period because i didnt have tho knowledge prior and will be able to dig deeper if i have any additional questions

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