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?

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

  1. The significance of this episode title, “The Story We Tell” is the story America tells about our history and race. The title has the two words “We Tell” which I think means what America decided to tell the younger generation. That’s why some of the histories of the Phillipenes was not taught to me in my “social studies” class back in elementary, middle and high school. The story plays major parts in the function of America. Therese created race, wealth, social class and separation of humans based on their skin color and hair texture. This function separated the UNITED States of America, America is still not united.
    The stories I tell is the only story I learned as a child. How America was the land for Native American until the white settlers came and then once they settled in and kicked Native American out, they bought Africans and enslaved them. I never learned about the Phillipenes, the exhibition of pictures of real humans they had on display as if the people in the picture were some kind of animals and unknown creatures.
    The film definitely changed my opinions about those stories. From this film, I’ve learned the secrets behind those stories and the storytellers and the hypocrites. Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men are created equally, yet he owned hundreds od slaves. He also wanted to “civilize” the Native Americans but not the blacks. why? Also, why did being civilized meant being able to farm, own land and be Christian? There are so many things we were not taught about The story of America. I think it’s because now America is ashamed of its past.

  2. The significance of the title “The Story We Tell” is I believe America’s view of race and the history and events surrounding what happened to the Indians and blacks. The title could also signify what the nation went through and the dark history that they try to hide. The function that the story played in the US is that it shows how the country was formed, the people deemed inferior and not worthy to be apart of society, it shows that the American way is the way to go and that if you want to be apart of society you must fit the mold. More and more I don’t know how much I like the word race, just the idea of just putting people in that one box when there is so much more about a person than that, the stories about race that I tell is even though I am from a minority group I can achieve the highest level in life if I want to, I feel empowered because I am getting an education to better myself, The more I watch these films the more motivated I am to continue to attain all the best that life has to offer. It is almost me sticking out my tongue at those that thought that blacks would have always been inferior and one step behind. even though we are at the bottom end in most areas an being a black female is not easy in society, my story is that none of that limits me, if my thinking is not limited then I am not limited. The stories that I have heard is that America is rich and powerful and the land of the great, the filmed changed the way I think because of the way they went about acquiring all eg. forcefully taking the land away from the Indians, after freeing the blacks not granting them citizenship, and the way the put them on exhibition as if they were some kind of extinct specie at a museum.

  3. The significance of episode two’s title is that race is not a scientific reality but a myth. In other words, race is a social invention and not a scientific product. The story tells us how the idea of race came into existence and who were behind the creation of the idea. The story emphasizes how minorities (Black, Indians, Mexicans…) were discriminated and deemed inferior by whites. The function the story has played in the U.S. was to create some sort of division between groups of people and to promote the idea of social and economic status. The film didn’t really change the way I thought about these stories; however, it made me reflect on how the idea of race really came into existence and emerged.

  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 significant of the story we tell is that American history is often retold without mentioning how terribly nonwhites were treated in this land. American expansion was built on genocide of the American Indians. For instance, your girlfriend is out of town for the weekend, so you call up an old girlfriend, go to the movies and party the whole weekend with her. When your girlfriend came back and asked what you did over the weekend, you say, “Oh, I saw The Simpsons. It was pretty good.” In other words he had left out the fact in the story intentionally.
    In addition, the story explains how race relations really has come across and who created it. The people were first being discriminated were black followed by the Indians and Mexicans since the whites tried to conquer their lands. “The Story We Tell” has clarified how these minorities were mistreated by whites, even they defeated them whenever they wanted to. As a matter of fact, the movie told the historical aspects of how white people made themselves dominant, such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Trail of Tears. The function which has had played is that race is still exist in US. I recalled the movie in which The Declaration of Independence, where the founding fathers wrote “All men are created equal” but how is that possible when whites were viewed as superior to people of color. Nobody was able to live near white’s people community. Their kids wouldn’t go to the same school where black, Indians and Mexicans kids attended.
    I would like to tell one of the stories about race, which involved my workplace. There was a guy who was from the same country as my manager. He used to give me so much hard time deliberately, and always lied to the manager about me. He wanted me to get fired from that place so he could have more hours. Also, my manager used to listen to him whether he was right or wrong. Then she used to scold me for no valid reason even if I hadn’t done anything. I felt like I was discriminated against by them. It really hurt to have my boss treat me like that. The film hasn’t changed the way I think about those stories, but it did make me consider on how the construction of race really appeared.

  5. Q.1 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 significant of the story we tell is that American history is often retold without mentioning how terribly nonwhites were treated in this land. American expansion was built on genocide of the American Indians. For instance, your girlfriend is out of town for the weekend, so you call up an old girlfriend, go to the movies and party the whole weekend with her. When your girlfriend came back and asked what you did over the weekend, you say, “Oh, I saw The Simpsons. It was pretty good.” In other words he had left out the fact in the story intentionally.
    In addition, the story explains how race relations really has come across and who created it. The people were first being discriminated were black followed by the Indians and Mexicans since the whites tried to conquer their lands. “The Story We Tell” has clarified how these minorities were mistreated by whites, even they defeated them whenever they wanted to. As a matter of fact, the movie told the historical aspects of how white people made themselves dominant, such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Trail of Tears. The function which has had played is that race is still exist in US. I recalled the movie in which The Declaration of Independence, where the founding fathers wrote “All men are created equal” but how is that possible when whites were viewed as superior to people of color. Nobody was able to live near white’s people community. Their kids wouldn’t go to the same school where black, Indians and Mexicans kids attended.
    I would like to tell one of the stories about race, which involved my workplace. There was a guy who was from the same country as my manager. He used to give me so much hard time deliberately, and always lied to the manager about me. He wanted me to get fired from that place so he could have more hours. Also, my manager used to listen to him whether he was right or wrong. Then she used to scold me for no valid reason even if I hadn’t done anything. I felt like I was discriminated against by them. It really hurt to have my boss treat me like that. The film hasn’t changed the way I think about those stories, but it did make me consider on how the construction of race really appeared.

  6. The significance of the title “The Story We Tell” focuses on race and slavery. It shows us also what the Africans had to suffer through during a different time period, where being black meant being treated not even as a human being and being shunned from society. Basically, if you were not considered white then you had no level of importance in society. However, let us not forget the American Indians who actually inhabited the United States. They too were faced with rejection and unfavorable treatment. The story created such a dynamic environment because we are left believing that whites are the most dominant and indestructible race and should have all control over non-white individuals, including the American Indians. Many Africans had accepted the roles of living in an inferior society, however others did not see it that way and were willing to fight for equality. This brings great attention to race in to the U.S. with the hope of change and equality in the near future. We know that our society is evolving, but is it evolving for the good or is it just getting worse. I bring this up because what I notice in today’s society is not much different than what was happening back then when the whites had overwhelming control over everyone. An example I liked to use is when you have two individuals going to the bank. Both are seeking to borrow a loan. The difference here is one is a white individual and the other is a black individual. One is more likely to get approved than the other one. It’s the white individual, a no brainer. Things like this still happen to minorities. Racism has brought us many stories, such as how one race is treated with less dignity than another. In every class of people there are different levels of abilities, and for that reason I view race as nothing more than physical traits. After viewing the film, I felt I was demanding in asking for equality for every human being. It was surprising for me to see that black people were not the only people who were abused by the whites. The American Indians also suffered under the whites. I believe the whites were just a bunch of bullies who were afraid to lose their power through equality.

  7. I believe the significance of the title, “The Story We Tell” is that there is a story told to us the citizens and then the true story. I believe that we are taught what certain people want us to know. It is like the phrase, “There are three versions of the story, story A, story B, and the truth”. I have been taught many things were done for our benefit, to protect ourselves, but I was never taught that this was all done at the expense of others lives, freedom, and liberty. The function this story played was to show us how race really came about, why minorities are treated a certain way, and why it is important to question. I was never really interested in knowing our history until taking this class. Growing up my parents always told me that there will be people that will try to bring me down because of my Mexican background but to never let that affect me. I remember waiting for the train in a crowed station along with my boyfriend, and a lady in front of us glared at my boyfriend and hugged her purse. This got him so angry he tapped her on the shoulder and said “I have my own job and money and can buy my own things.” This lady turned red from embarrassment and anger because everyone noticed so she walked away. This has stuck in my mind ever since then because she glared at a guy with a darker complexion, someone who was minding his own business, and quickly assumed he wanted to steal from her. I have seen the views people have about race, no one needed to teach it to me. Despite the history lessons I was taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school I always knew that there was a deeper reason as to why race was such a big issue. This movie only further defended what I thought about the issue of race. I have heard so much stories about race and most of it is all based on stereotypes.

  8. The title, “The Story We Tell,” signifies the underlying theme in America that pertains to race, social status, discrimination, among other subjects. The video shows the viewers the dated version of America, where white supremacy was concurrent and other groups of color were deemed inferior. During this period of time, it was told that groups of color, not only black, were not as intellectually capable as white people. There were “scientific discoveries” done showing that human skulls of white people were more inclined to have bigger brains, thus thought to be intellectually superior. It was believed people of color were placed on Earth to be servants.
    I don’t exactly tell a story about race; I tend to avoid that subject because it has a profound history and affects today’s society as well. However, even as a child, I wondered what was the significance of labeling one person Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or other if America promotes equality. I never thought it should really matter where you come from.
    I’ve heard many stories of race. The most important ones relating to the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks. Even while being in college, I learned of many American Literature that was neglected due to their nonconformity nature. One of which depicted the life of mulattos (people mixed of black and white ancestry). These people were mixed but passed for white in the exterior and chose to be labeled as white to make it far in society. It contrasted how society treated people differently based on how they chose to be labeled. Seeing this documentary really brought it all full circle and really explained in detail the thought process of America.
    The documentary did not change the way I think about race stories. I was aware of the harsh nature of America when it came to people of color, but it did inform me of methods I was unaware of, such as the human zoo and how they thought everyone that wasn’t white were all the same.

  9. The significance of the episode title ” The Story We Tell ” is I believe it shows the idea of race, its history of how it came to be and how America was built by the idea of race. The episode has a huge meaning because it shows the darkness the idea of race showed, especially towards Native Americans and Africans. Whites deemed themselves as superior and everyone else who looked different were inferior. Native Americans also were mistreated by the idea of race, they were force to give up the land and become “civilized” people by the whites yet when it came to Africans they were treated as salves. The function this story plays in U.S is showed how America the great was build by the idea of race. Because whites believed themselves as superior,everyone else was a minority( Africans, Native Americans and Mexicans) inferior, whites started to divide people into groups by their social and economic status. The idea of race was spreading all around United States and people actually started to believe that there was scientific reason that because you looked different, you were a different species and should be treated different because of your skin color. Stories I can tell about race, I remember when I smaller playing in park, all my friends wanted to play freeze tag, even a little white girl wanted to play also so we all said she can join. While were playing the white little girl mother, took her away and said to her” I don’t want you playing with those kids” I assume maybe because we were strangers to the girl, but in reality the face the mother made towards us said otherwise. We were discriminated because the color of our skin and we were from because of our race. From that day on I chose to live a life of not judging by color of skin, but by the character of the person. Stories that I have heard is some of my friends from this day still get follow around in groceries and question by cops as if they there were criminals which is wrong. The Film change the way I think about these stories, because a land that suppose to be ” All men are created equal” was built by the idea race, that society created in order to make sense that people were created differently, but inside we all the same. I learn things I did not know, I couldn’t believe how bad Native Americans were mistreated to even killed for land that was theirs to begin with. I learned a lot of our great leaders made us believe that America the great was equal but in reality wanted to make Native Americans “civilize” and Africans were made to be slaves. The story of America is a dark one, this episode made me realize that in order to make America great again since this lands does stands for freedom, We must put a stop to the idea of race and treated everyone equally because we are all the same on the inside.

  10. The significant of the story title “the story we tell” is about the white people who had hide a big portion of the invention of race in society. For many years, race it was not about how you look instead it was about how people assign a meaning how you look. Additionally, this great figure Thomas Jefferson wrote in the letter of independence of America “All men are created equally”. Base on that statement, he was not considering black people to be a men, but he was creating United Stated unequal. Thus black people were taking advantage by the white men. As white men were taking more power, black society was getting very weak. In my opinion, since I saw that video, I realize, when, how and who started creating giving a big meaning and a big consequence that black people will drag and carry on that past on them. The story that i have heard came from here United Stated. In my country is rare the time that people will discuss about that matter. I remember i used to watch movies that contains races. Besides, I saw how white people treat the black folks, very bad. However, during that time I was not aware so much about race. Since, I came to United Stated I become aware about this even more. Additionally, people talk about black folks in a very weird way. After I saw the movie of course I saw the invention of the word race, and who was the creator of such word that was carrying for so many years.

  11. The significance of the title, “The Story we tell” is that the history that we are taught as we attend omits a lot of the racism and violence that was done to non-whites as we established this country. The function of doing this in the U.S is that when you go through school you are blind to all the things that make up your country. In Germany they acknowledge the Hitler Era and seek to be better to the world because of it. In the United States we sweep racism and all the harm that has come from it under the rug and attempt to tell the children of tomorrow that our country has done only great things and to get along with one another. One of the stories of race that really struck me as shocking was the story of Christopher Columbus. When you learn about the discovery of the Americas you are taught that through a small error this is how our nation came to be. What they neglect to tell you about the discover of the Americas is the unjust treatment of the Native Americans already here were never described. We go over the trail of tears but its described more like relocation rather than forcefully migrating Native Americans elsewhere. The film opened my eyes that there is more going on than Social studies covered when I was in elementary school. To think a founding father would want to bring racism to a scientific level or Andrew Jackson making it one of is missions to rip away land from the Natives when he himself was the president of their land. It shows why racism is still a part of our culture. It is due to racism being part of our nation’s foundation as we rose to power. Sure I believe in teaching the younger generations that we should all focus in coexisting but we should also not keep them ignorant of the past and why we need to move forward.

  12. “The Story We Tell” is about the beginning in history of how America started to define the meaning of race, dividing groups of people according to their physical appearance and origin, selecting socioeconomic statuses depending of race, and the pain and suffering minorities group went through for many years. The story played an important part in the U.S. history because it tell us how slavery existed for many years and the battle for equality. A story I can tell is, the majority of my friends are Hispanics. When I hang out with my friends to a Hispanic social event I would be the only Asian in that place, people will tend to stare as if I don’t belong to there. It was a bit uncomfortable in the beginning but then I just careless on who is staring and just keep having a good time with my friends. A year ago, I had to do a research paper of an autobiography of my choice, i chose Martin Luther King Jr. After reading about his life and his accomplishment it made me think how can a human being cause another human being pain and suffering because of differences in appearances. The film didn’t make me change the way I think about those stories because I learned a lot from Martin Luther King Jr. autobiography and from past history classes. However, I found shocking how Thomas Jefferson contradicted himself with the statement that “all men are created equal”

  13. The significance of the film title “The Story We Tell” is about the race and the history of Africans, Mexicans and other minority groups including Native Americans in term of slavery and discrimination. The film shows us how theses whites were dominant over the other minority groups. The function that this story has played in this film was how whites were superior over blacks and Native Americans. Any group that looked different than the whites were treated inferior. Where Native Americans had to give up their properties and become civilized; blacks were enslaved. In addition, it’s harsh to swallow the truth how whites were the only dominant group in America and treated the rest of the groups as inferior. That’s where the conception of race has come from. Whites started to see themselves as superior and treated others based on their skin color. Furthermore as Thomas Jefferson stated that “All men are created equally” but it was the other way around white men were the one had more power over blacks. Jefferson himself was a part of slavery. The story I would like to tell about a fire department in United States. According to the statistics of firefighter, more than 90 percent of New York firefighters are white males. By looking at the statistics we can tell that how racism and discrimination are still effected in United States. The story that I have heard would be the film I watched in class “When the Bough Breaks” As I was seeing the film I noticed that how African Americans have less opportunities than the white American in the US. I was stunned to see the insights of African Americans who despite the fact had a perfect record yet at the same time not getting as much as interviews for employment than the White Americans with felony record who might even now getting procured by the organizations and companies. It is sad to see that the racism still exist in our daily life. This film didn’t really change my thinking about those stories. Based on American history you can’t forget the word slavery. So I did have it in mind that it’s going to be about inequality between groups of people however, I didn’t know that Indian Americans, Mexicans and other minority groups were also a part of discrimination. Overall, watching this film been a knowledgeable experience for me.

  14. The significance of the episode’s titles is that there were many different stores told about Blacks slavery, Cherokees, about Indians. The titles is important because different stories were told to us throughout the part of this film. For Blacks slavery was told and how unfortunate they were that they were brought as slaves. They were treated unfairly and weren’t given enough rights. For Cherokees they embraced civilization policy but they weren’t assimilated into the society as well and they were forced to move to west and thrown out of their homes. For Indians, they were asked to move to West if they don’t assimilate into their society. The functions that story played in the U.S is that we have always been divided no matter what. The problem with this society is we can’t accept the way someone is. We always look for a change and manipulations rather than accepting them as they are. We have seen this in the film as a broader prospective. If we all come together as a nation and treat each other equally and believe that everyone deserves the same rights as the person next to me most of the problems will be solved. However, throughout history we saw that United States fought for more land extending and grabbing resources from people even stealing land from people. Betraying people rather than accepting people into their society. People were segregated according to their races. Blacks were slaves, Cherokees switched from being hunters to farmers, some even ran plantations and owned slaves because of civilization policy. Their children learned Christian religion and English. However, they were still thrown out at gun point. I think many people are discriminated according to their race or the way they look. I saw a report about racial discrimination where a mother didn’t let her child sit next to a brown guy in a hospital. She made her daughter change her seat. When the parents went inside the doctors room to ask if they found any organ donor for their daughter the doctor said yes that you are lucky today. I got a call that we have someone coming in today and he was the same brown guy. Those parents were disappointed to meet the brown guy whom they discriminated. They felt embarrassment that they showed such an insulting attitude and he was the only guy to come in and give the organ to save their daughter’s life. I think the film gave me a deeper understanding of where the race actually started from and a deeper understanding of many stories about America which I didn’t know before for example about Cherokees, Indians and Philippines.

  15. The significance of the title is that we have tried to misguide the world by saying that the blacks and Indians or other groups of people conquered during the colonial era are scientifically inferior than the whites. We created racism by dedicating so much of our time and energy into scientifically proving that white people are the best.I have heard that America played the biggest role in abolishing slavery but after watching the movie I realized that Americans were also the ones who created slavery in the first place.

  16. The significance of the episodes title, “The Story We Tell” is a reflection of our American history. In Americas past, the social problem of race was formed. At first the problem of race was viewed as a product of science. This episode shows what social problems really existed, such as if people were seen differently, they were treated as inferior. This started with Africans and Indians being seen as a different kind. This title saying “We”, could mean how us Americans see the story of race and racism. A lot of America is likely ashamed of this negativity outbreak of prejudice and discrimination. The stories about race that I tell, are that I treat everyone the same. I see every person as a person not a color, I was raised to treat people with respect. I honestly do not see any differences in people. Transitioning from high school into this college, I was looking to experience diversity. As a white person, I have never been discriminated against. Although, I have heard what possibly happens when a person of color walks into a store, they may be judged. There could be an assumption that this person will steal something. The film changed the way I thought of a story like this. After seeing how white Americans set the norms for race through domination, I concluded that they constructed this. I felt a little uncomfortable watching this. I am appalled how people could treat other people, and be okay with that.

  17. The significance of the episode title, “the story we tell” is how America views race and tells us about our history. Race was invented by people no scientific evidence is involved with the idea of race. The story tells us how minority ere inferior by the whites. Whites believed they had bigger brains and they believed people of color were meant to be servants.
    The stories I’ve heard of is the story of Rosa Parks. Blacks were thank you creative from the whites. They weren’t allowed to do anything together. Bus, trains, water fountains were separated. If a black person is sitting on the bus and a white person came in, they’re supposed to give up their seat. Rosa Parks being the first black woman to not give up her seat to a white person. She became known in history. A story everyone tells. A story I’ve been told since elementary school.
    The film did change my views about things. Thomas Jefferson known to be a great man is looked at as a hypocrite in my eyes. He, himself said all men were equal, so why did he own slaves himself? It doesn’t make sense. If he really did believe what he said he wouldn’t have owned any himself.

  18. Some things that shouldn’t be told are stories. There may be some truth here and there, seeded in between slight white lies or technicalities. “The Story We Tell” as a name is a huge indicator that stories don’t have to be completely true. Saying that ‘we tell’ means that you can also be covering some things up. The Story allows Americans to claim ‘all men are created equal’ even though that only applies to white males. They are allowed to leave out how the settlers had the mindset of ‘if they don’t believe what we believe, then surely there’s something wrong with them’, as seen with them and the Native Americans. I generally don’t tell stories about race, because I don’t see race as a defining feature of who people are. I didn’t realize that the textbooks I had during my elementary and middle school years left out a lot of things that are crucial to the truth. I did learn about how the white settlers thought the Native Americans to be savages and had to be ‘civilized’ then gave up while I was in high school, so nothing changed there, and how Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free all slaves.

  19. The significance of the episode “The Story We Tell”? Is that the dark past that Americans had done and gone through and how it affected society today. Functions that played in the U.S is that people view people that is different from them differently and treat them differently. Racism happens at least once to people that are really different from whites American people, something I witness was when I was in a store, I saw a black person being followed by the security and that black person don’t notice the security because the security was watching him stealthy. Also that security was a black man too. This showed me that racism not only happens to different race but also in the same group. Stories that I have heard is that one of my friend were taken to a room to be questioned in the airport because he looked like someone suspicious such and had like some type of drugs on him. The film made me think racism won’t be going away anytime soon even though it has been on for a long time already because many people are still experiencing it today and suffer through it.

  20. The significance of the episode’s title “The Story We Tell” is that it is an ingenious form of reflection that reminds us that race is merely a social construct, and not something innate and inevitable. It is, in reality, just “a story we tell” other people, and according to the episode, a means of one group of people to thrive and fare better than the rest–an excuse to legitimize slavery in a land were freedom was supposed to be of utmost importance. To be honest, the issue of race hasn’t been important to me, because I’ve always believed that everyone is one and the same. We may have come from different families and cultures, but deep inside, we are all human beings whose ultimate goal in life is simply to be loved and be happy. The images that I saw in the episode really terrified me. I knew that slavery is a dark past that the United States would always have, but to see it again in detail and have their antiquated perceptions about racial divide be brought front and center…it was really shameful. The silver lining is that, we now know better, and as more and more people get to be exposed to other cultures, we are less likely to resist acceptance and become more openminded to our perceived differences.

  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 TITLE HAS PLAYED IN HISTORY BECAUSE IT IS THE STORY WE TELL, WHO IS WE AND DOES WE INCLUDE EVERY ONE. IN HISTROY EVERY ONE HAS FELT AS IF THERE STORY HAS NOT BEEN TOLD AND IF IT WAS TOLD IT WAS NOT THE RACE TRUTH AS THEY REMEMBER. GROWING UP I HEARD STORIES OF RACE AND SEGRATION AND THE VILENCE AND KILLING. I NEVER HEARD OF ANYTHING BEING GOOD WHICH I AM HAPPY WE DO NOT LIVE IN THAT TIME ANY MORE.

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