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?

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

  1. The title is significant because the film tells the stories of what people see race through their eyes. It talks about how African Americans were compared to savages in zoos. I don’t think I ever tell stories about race because I feel like who am I to tell the story that does not belong to me. On top of that, I don’t quite understand it too well myself. The significance of the title “The story we tell” is that it brings the idea that there is no such thing as race. It was created to distinguish a certain group of people from others. According to the article it is a social construct that was created by society. The function the story in the U.S. was to create some sort of division between groups and to create the idea of economic status. People have a certain idea about slavery and race in America, but many people don’t know its origins. It has also shined another light on the way laws were passed. The film actually made aware about America and how messed up our leaders of this country were. We literally took over Indian land and made up excuses to allow slavery in the county.

  2. The significance of the episode “The Story We Tell” is the story of the idea of race, how it came to life and how it evolved in the United States, this film talk about how race and slavery became part of the US socio-economic. The function that the story played in the U.S. was to oppress people of color and create a division of social and economic status. They even used science and race to exploit people who looked different and convince that people of color are not normal and should treated differently and should be exploited, to be used for labor, farming and do all the work that the white man won’t want to do. I don’t think I have any story to tell or have heard any stories aside from stereotype that people joke about. This film changed the way I see the United States now, I feel that the US betrayed it’s principles on which it stands on in this world.

  3. The significance of the episode’s title is to illustrate and emphasize on the topic of race spoken by people whom has studied the topic and others who has originated from years of racism. It consist of a lot of tales normally untold in school and regular settings. It displays how the U.S came and took over the land from the original native Americans and came up with stories and rules on why they need to leave. They considered them wild savages and tried to colonize them. This didn’t go as planned as the U.S. soon turn against the Native Americans and decide to push them into a corner and steal their land. It also shows how the americans needed workers after the Europeans were not able to complete the job. They used the Trans Atlantic slave trade to bring Africans into the country to work. Due to the color of their skin, they were readily identified which allowed them to not be able to run away and blend in with other nationals as well as they tried to use scientist to portray an image of blacks being inferior and was designed by God the way they were to be slaves. I have not previously told any stories regarding race as it has been such an awkward topic for many as well as the confusion of what race really is. Yes this film has changed the way i think of these stories because i have always been told this land does not belong to the whites but have never really understood what it meant. It also explains where the idea of blacks being inferior originated from and why racism continued years after slavery was abolished.

  4. I believe the significance is that schools never teach the material shown in this film. We grow up with the mentality of race being much different to what it actually is. Some people like myself, think that Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson were such a great Americans but in reality they had a mask. The masked characters is what kids get taught in school and I think this is the function that plays in the US. After being in this course and learning more about race, I am very careful and usually have a better foundation when I hear people talking about race being skin color. I always hear and read (social media) that black people are still playing the role they had because Society always make a separation line in between them. The film got me by surprised since many of the areas cover are those that are never disclosed such as Jefferson writing that Native Americans are more similar to whites but just look darker because of the sun exposure. All the unclear questions that they didn’t have no answer to were left to “The Science have an answer”.

  5. While watching this documentary, I felt the feeling of shock and frustration towards the foundations of US culture. The title of the Documentary is quite appropriate and it relates to the US history of slavery. The part about the world fair was unbelievable, it showed how humanly primitive our thoughts were, how we displayed and celebrated the norms of that time, how hypocritical our forefathers were, but it servers us as a baseline to do better.
    To share a story about racism, here is what I observed while I sat in the balcony of my house and watched the people walking about in the neighborhood. I was able to recognize what second hand racism look like. This Italian lady was walking her big dog, she could barely contain the dog which was barking out loud at anyone it saw. Unfortunately, there was a Korean man walking his small dog on the opposite side of the street. Italian lady could barely contain the dog as it, but once the big dog saw the small dog, the big dog started to bark more and started to pull the Italian lady with her. the Korean guy was on his cell phone and walking along on the other side of the street, but then the small dog had to do its business on the sidewalk so it took a pause, which caused the Italian lady to yell out “Hey!! Which way are you going, I want to cross the street, Hurry up and take your dog away”. The Korean guy can’t do much but to let the dog finish and then move it along, which he did, but according to Italian lady he was not moving fast enough, because after the Korean guy left, she crossed the street and mumbled out loud “F**ing idiot, there are a lot morons living here, don’t know how to walk the dog” but as soon as she crossed the street to the other side, another small dog came along, but it was being walked by a white male, who was also on the phone, Italian lady’s dog was barking out the same way as it was for the Korean man’s dog, but Italian lady’s response to the white man’s dog was “oh he is so cute!!!, which way are you going sir, ok, have a nice day”
    This part of the course showed us how racism took its toll on multiple races, but predominately on Africans. How African were really subjected to racism because of their skin color, how they couldn’t find escape because of their skin color. This documentary and this courses fact findings have made me really think twice about staying in this country after I get my degree.

  6. I think the significance of the title “race the story we tell” is telling us how racism and segregation happened gradually over time. First people were told that different races exist and then people were told that being white was better than all the other races. It changed the way I view the history of race in the world, and how slavery led to even worst racism in the world because people would say things to justify slavery, and over time it was part of how they educated the American people. They took something that was really irrelevant like the way people physically look and made it a bigger ideal then what it really it.

  7. The significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”, is subliminally targeted to those who tell false information given to history all over the world in shade to hinder other peoples feelings. The function that these stories acts as an barrier between people and beliefs. Given the fact that I am now a college student I am more aware of past events as well as current events dealing with human rights such as racism and its existence. As children, we are told information in scarce detailing and is hindered from excruciating information. When we are hindered from information, our young minds are naive to whatever is being told to us. Depending on the teachers and their stance on racism, reflects on your personal idea of racism and how it played out in slavery. I was not told the immense amount of Racism that went on history and its current role now in history untill I entered college. This film enhances my view on the stories that are told. The beginning of the film, they stated a part of the document where it says, ” We are all created Equal.” However, that is not the case at all and neither was it back then.

  8. The title “The Story We Tell” is significant because it tells the truth about the beginning of racism in the United States. It does not tell the same stories that others order to make look good some people. This story actually help us to open our eyes and see what really happened back at that time without altering some sides of the story. In schools teachers tell the story in a way that won’t affect the country but its time for people to start learning the truth. For example, in school, the stories I have heard are all based in how good Americans were with the native Indians but in this film, we can see that they were good with them just when they needed them and then they started removing them from their own land. So, this film have helped me to understand better how racism started and their relationship with Africans and Indians.

  9. The title “The story we tell” is significant because it gives the entire picture about how racism really was. Through the years bits and pieces were spoken about racism but it was not as detailed as this episode was. I was in complete shocked as I watched this movie because I myself did not know nearly as much as i thought I did. I don’t ever tell any story about racism because I always have felt that I was not as knowledgeable as I should have been. If i don’t know the whole story about a topic I try not to talk about it because I would never want to offend anyone. This episode has really opened my eyes about how disgusting it really was back then and I will now recommend this episode to someone who wants the real story.

  10. > 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 episode’s title, “The Story We Tell” is it tells the idea of race in America. America created a story of race. The function that story played in the U.S. is the story shape how race is viewed, how it developed and progress. any people might possibly reconsider their views, or at the very least know when people started to think a certain way. The stories about race that i can tell are many. In this country, I have been treated with avoidance, payed less attention or completely ignored. I have family members who would be qualified for a job but did not get it. I know tons of people who are less educated getting similar jobs but not qualified for it and i think its unfair. The stories I hear from other people usually pertain to how dangerous an area is. For example, Harlem or Corona the neighborhood i live in, where there are mostly African Americans or Hispanic people. People would say to be careful if you’re alone at night. The film gave me more insight into these stories and a better background understanding of certain aspects of racial development.

  11. I think the Title of the film “The Story We Tell “is in essence attempting to show the story we DON’T tell. The founding of America was based on the notion that it would be different from most of the other countries at that time. Most of its founding members were yearning to have freedom. This included free from the kings and from the church. They believed, each person should have the freedom to choose if they wanted to practice religion, and if they did want to practice and religion, it should be the religion of their choose. In addition, they abhorred the notion that another human being born to a particular blood line should be considered superior to other human beings. This was based on the theory that “all men are created equally.” Therefore no king or religious person shall rain superior over another. This part most students are taught in history class. But what most students aren’t taught is that the author of this famous line, Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner who he himself owned over 200 slaves.

    In order for the founding father to justify their own personal freedoms and their belief of equality, they needed to justify why other human being where not or should not be granted the same inalienable rights of freedom.
    In the Americans at that time the problem was twofold. Justification was needed for the treatment of the Native Americans and the Africans. Initially, they tried to tame the Indians by what they considered domesticate them from their perceived savage upbringing. But even after so many of the Natives accepted Christianity and gave up hunting and turned to farming, they were still forced off their lands. Culminating in the horrors of the trail of tears. In regard to the Africans, scientists created junk science to justify their mistreatment.
    The natives who gave up on so much of their heritage and tradition in an attempt to pacify and blend in with the new European settlers. But once the settlers needed more land, they use the Indians traditions agents them. The traditions they forced the Indians to abandon was once again brought to the forefront as a justification to force them off the lands they farmed and owned for centuries.

    The Africans were told no matter how much they tried to externally prove that they should be treated as an equal, science told them that they are internally and genetically inferior.

    From a lot of the videos we have seen over the semester a lot of the prominent black individuals remorsefully speak about the times they were followed in stores and suspected as no good doers just because of the color of there skin. Recently there was a story of a black football player for whom the police were called to investigate his actions in and around a sports gym. Ironically, he was actually checking out the facility because he was considering buying the entire gym complex.

  12. the significance of the episode’s title “The story we tell” is telling us that race is not real and it is a made up story from decades ago and have past on from people to people. the purpose of this story has played in the US to created division and social economic status because they have used science and race to identify people who has different look and not white. those people were used for slavery. this film actually made me realize how race have started and how it is still going on.

  13. “The Story We Tell” may be a reference to the saying: “Those who win the wars write the history books”. The idea that the group in power gets to be in charge of what information is shared in order to prevent them from looking bad.

    In US history, as in most civilizations, there is a large amount of exploitation and theft. The people who did the exploiting and stealing do not want to be remembered as villains, so they alter the story to emphasize the positives and ignore the negatives (“The end justifies the means”).

    As far as information that I spread about race, I’d say I do comment on the obstacles that oppressed people are able to overcome every day. If there is a system that is in place AND in power that does what it can to hold a group of people back, and those people still succeed, it is a display of how powerful those people really are.

    I’ve heard stories about how people of color are in a bad social/economic place because they are lazy and ignorant, as well as have no will to improve their condition. This is being said while spreading the narrative that these same people are stealing jobs and trying to take away educational scholarships/admissions. The contradiction is ridiculous.

    The film did not change much for me, other then a deeper understanding of how ignorant people could have been in decades past (as well as today). Also, it is scary to see how a group of uneducated people can be lead into thinking of another group as an enemy because they are uneducated but a different color.

  14. The significance of the title the stories we tell to me is saying, we tell people especially children the stories we want them to believe vs the real story. Such as in school we are not taught anything about how the “whites” came to American and stole the land from the Indians anyway they could. How they dehumanized them so it seemed like the right thing to do for civilization. We were told and are still telling the story that Christopher Columbus discovered America, although people were here already but we became friends and shared a meal called Thanksgiving. How long will these stories be told. This is how the U.S. educates its children in history.

    Honestly I can’t say that I “told” many stories about race until now, after seeing some of the films we have seen in class. I of course have heard many stories about race mostly surrounded the topic of slavery. I feel like we need to do a better job at getting the real stories told in school, not just in one college class.

    The film didn’t necessarily surprise me because I am older and try not to keep my head in the sand but it surprises me that although the “evidence” is in writing we as americans still have the power to change history in our books.

  15. The Story We Tel traces the origins of the racial idea to the European conquest of the New World and to the American slave system – the first ever where all the slaves shared similar physical traits and a common ancestry. Historian James Horton points out that the enslavement of Africans was opportunistic, not based on beliefs about inferiority: “Our forebears found what they considered an endless labor supply. People who could be readily identified and so when they ran away they couldn’t melt into the population like Native Americans could. People, who knew how to grow tobacco, people who knew how to grow rice. They found the ideal, from their standpoint, the ideal labor source.” In the U.S Thomas Jefferson, also a slaveholder was the first American public figure to articulate a theory speculating upon the “natural” inferiority of Africans. The story about race that I tell is the similar logic rationalized the taking of American Indian lands. When the “civilized” Cherokee were forcibly removed from their homes in Georgia to west of the Mississippi, one in four died along the way, in what became known as The Trail of Tears. Honestly before the video I didn’t hear any stories about it, because I was naïve about the topic the story didn’t change my thinking.

  16. The following episode from “The Story we Tell” is of importance when it comes to discussing racism in the Unites States of America. It tells the stories of United States from a unique perspective. The story features many important events of the American history such as the signing of Declaration of Independence, history of Virginia, the invasion of French and American colonies and treatment of Indians, Louisiana Purchase, treatment of Negroes and the St. Louise World’s Fair. The possession of Guam, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines after defeating Spain in war is also discussed. It also mentions several American political personalities who played a significant role in the creation of modern United States of America. These people include Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Louis Agassiz, Josiah Nott, Evelynn Hammonds and Rudyard Kipling.

    I’ve already heard many of the stories before. Reading this episode changed the way I used to see these stories. Segregation is expected to be an uncommon structure in the United States after the Southern states were crushed in the civil war and bondage was abolished.

    African Americans were kept from voting by a system, for example, the survey charge and unreasonable proficiency tests and by intimidation. They were denied any equivalent offer in group life. Till the end of the nineteenth century, segregation laws, the Jim Crow laws were instituted to systematize white strength. Blacks were compelled to go to isolated schools and universities, to involve unique areas in railroad autos and transports, and to utilize separate open offices; they were illegal to sit with whites in many spots of public amusement. These laws were maintained as respects railroad offices by the instance of Plessey v. Ferguson (1896), in which the Supreme Court maintained the constitutionality of the supposed separate however level with settlement. The period 1900 to 1920 conveyed full expansion of isolation to all open transportation and training offices, even doctor’s facilities, holy places, and prisons.

  17. The title “The story we tell ” says the untold story of how America was really discovered and the evil ways of how they gained the land. The story of how America was founded that they taught me in school is a good story but later when you realize the true story of how they actually discovered America is actually a bad story of how they treated Native Americans and how they started to take their own land away from them. This episode tells the true story behind race and how it was started and how bad the American society was back then.

  18. The title “The Story we Tell” has a significance: because it shows us that there are more sides to a story than we might know. The video is about different peoples views on how America was established and why certain options were made. Throughout the video we were told other peoples stories on how they were affected by the colonization and that the takeover wasn’t really true “Justice”. Finally we learn how the current society is affected by the decisions of the past.

  19. What is the significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”?
    It telling the historical story of race in america, from ideas of race, what we think about and how we view race.
    What function has that story played in the U.S.?
    To me that story has played a role of superiority and inferiority in the US. Creating environment where only white people as a race can be in control and everyone else has to struggle unnecessarily to combat the stigmas both internally and externally of the created system of race.
    What are the stories about race that you tell?
    My story of race is one of struggle both to be proud of my race and to not be defined by it.
    What are the stories you have heard?
    I’ve heard many stories about race from its all that matters to i don’t see race at all
    Did the film change the way you think about those stories? If so, how?
    The film really didn’t change the way i thought because i was already aware of where why a how race came to be.

  20. The title signifies that America does no tell the full story of it building blocks. America was basically built on the land of native Americans with the hard work and sweat of Africans. America tries to dignify slaves by tell the rest of the world that black people aren’t humans and were born to be slaves to the superior race which is white. When I was in High school we didn’t even discuss slavery or why it happened. We briefly touched the matter and quickly switched the subject. Although I already knew most of the details the movie showed, it did shock me when they displayed humans in the World Fare and how they constantly tried to use science to prove that blacks were not “human” in order to justify slavery. America dehumanized blacks to the point that after they lost the power to have slaves, blacks are still viewed as inferior.

  21. The significance of the “The Story We Tell” tittle is that it talks about race. It ultimately talks about who created the term and where it originated from. The function that this story has played in the US is by dividing and keeping certain minorities more oppressed than others, which began with African Americans. These stories more specifically, shows how people who are “black” are inferior to whites due to the fact that; whites has defeated and conquered these different peoples easily or won a war. The only story that I ever told about race is that the term was created to keep humans divided and maintain the perpetuation of warfare.The stories that I heard was that Africans are not intelligent nor intellectual beings, which is a lie, history proved that we were advanced long before slavery. No, this film did not change how I view the different stories.

  22. 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?

    I think the significance of the title “The Story We Tell”, is to emphasis that the history we commonly tell does not depict the entire history of racism and slavery. We are taught about US history from elementary school into high school and you never learn the dark truths and because of this its quite shocking to hear the real story for those that have been brought up on hearing the same thing for so many years. I think because we aren’t told the full story, it is hard for people to understand racism and what it is and how it operates. I don’t really tell stories about race, I believe that everyone is equal and we all deserve to be treated equally. I’ve heard the basic stories of race. and the division it has caused between us. Watching this movie was a real eye opener and it honestly disgusted me to see how narrow minded people can be. “All men are created equal” , so how can you also request for scientists to prove that we different? Its a contradiction and a hateful one at that. How can you condone exploiting people for your own benefit, it is just despicable.

  23. I think the significance of the title is that it has one of those “read in between the lines” meanings. People have a certain opinions about slavery and race in America, but most of the people don’t actually know and understand its origins. And the real meaning of race it’s certainly not something you would read about it in books or find on Google. “The Story We Tell” couldn’t be farther from the story that is commonly taught to people in school or in their lives
    The story has literally shaped the way we think about race and the human species in America. Not only that, but it has a lot of influence in the way we think of each other, which is probably the biggest impact it has had.
    I’m nobody to tell stories about race, And as far as stories I have heard, I think they are the types stereotypes that I assume most people know and understand.The film actually made me much more aware about America and how confused our origins are.Honestly Americans harshly took over Indian land and searched for excuses to allow slavery. Things that I knew at some points, but not only did put it more into perspective, but that the government facilitated this is something I really didn’t fully understand until now.

  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 Story We Tell” is a very interesting on the fact that the people escaped Europe from a systematic structure of Christianity and Class System to start a new future in North America with freedom and liberty for all men, but in the same hand owned slaves to build their “new found home”. Thought-out the begin of United States, the government continued to justify the reason for slavery and to force the power of white supremacy to up hold the pure white race. This film didn’t change the way I thought about the stories because I believe them, but it let me understand more clearly on how our country was developed with a dark history.

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