Part I~ Normative Narratives

I chose the topic of race. I found an extensive amount of similarities between my story and many fellow classmate’s stories. However, I choose to analyze and compare my story to Karley S and Erin D stories. When comparing these peers’ blogs I was able to pick out two very strong normative narratives. Throughout the three blogs I noticed two common normative narratives in our stories. The first normative narrative is kids being exposed to a person of a different race. In all three of the stories the curiosity about the difference in skin colour is highlighted. This curiosity of skin colour leads to social separation. The second normative narrative I found in the stories is social separation created by curiosity. 

In all three of the stories the most noted trait about the new students was their “different” skin or “different” appearance. Also, oddly enough in all the stories the skin wasn’t described using a color, rather it was described using the word “different”. This noted difference in the skin colour is one example that shows the normative narrative, first exposure to race. All the stories I have choose along with my own take place in an elementary classroom.  The setting of an elementary classroom is a common place to first experience race and diversity. In Karley’s story she explains that upon meeting the new boy and the boy’s father she right away noticed they were “different”. She says “…I noticed his hands and face were a different colour than mine.” Showing her clear recognition in the difference of skin. Similarly, In Erin’s blog it says, “but there was something different about her.”  This quote shows how Erin too immediately noticed the difference in race. Karley and Erin’s race stories are very similar to my own story for lots of reasons. All of our blogs follow a similar storyline. It starts with a new student coming and exposing the students to race and everyone immediately l noting the “difference” between them. Oddly enough like Karley and Erin I also used the word “different” when describing the new student. In my story I said, “Their skin is different than mine.” So not only do I relate to Karley’s and Erin’s story in the story line and recognition but also, in term of normative narratives. As shown above in the quotations we all produce the normative narrative of young kids being exposed to “differences” in school. Also, in the stories it is clearly illustrated that production of this narrative is created at a young age. In these stories it is visible that this narrative is a common shared trait amongst the majority of the students.

The second normative narrative I found in the stories is the curiosity of the young students. This curiosity in most cases leads to social separation. I found it interesting that in all three of the stories the curiosity of young students was important enough to included. In my story I reveal curiosity towards the new kids through pondering questions about them. Very similarly Erin also expressed that she had questions. Erin says, “Our young brains were overflowing with questions about who this new student was and where she came from”. In mine and Erin story the curiosity towards the new students makes them different and creates a kind of separation. In Erin’s story the separation is created because the kids are nervous to ask or approach the new student. Putting the new student in isolation. However, in my story the new students are also separate but for a different reason. In my story the new students are separate because everyone wants to talk to them and ask them things making them overwhelmed. this forces them to try to stay separate from the overwhelming number of curious students. The narrative of curiosity works together with the narrative of difference to establish a large normative narrative of separation. All three stories create the normative narrative between the majority and the new students.

Upon analyzing Erin’s, Karley’s and my own self story it was evident that we all accidently re-enforced some basic normative narratives of race. The normative narratives of recognizing difference in race at a young age. The narrative of children’s curiosity which leads to a larger overall narrative of separation. The normative narrative of separation and difference is present not only in race but in classism and gender narratives too.

Part II ~ Disrupting Normative Narratives

Cassidy’s story about race is very different from Erin’s, Karley’s and mine. The main difference between the stories is the point of view they are told from. For Erin, Karley and myself we are experiencing race as something new and unknown. However, for Cassidy race isn’t new.  For Cassidy race is familiar, to the point that it has almost become invisible to her. Cassidy has been exposed to diversity and racial diversity for an extensive amount of time as a result in Cassidy’s story she finds it odd for someone to point out her sisters’ race. Certain stories work to disrupt normative narratives by telling them through the not so normal lens. In Cassidy’s case this is recognizing an outsider’s insecurity and curiosity towards her and her sister. The first normative narrative previously discussed was our inability to not noticing race and difference.  Cassidy disproves this when she says, “I then begin to think we aren’t the same and notice she is darker than me.” In Cassey’s story the difference between her and her sisters’ race was not a key detail like it was in Erin’s Karley’s and my own. This shows that in most cases the normative narratives are created by the majority such as myself and disproved by the minority which in this case is Cassidy.  In Cassidy’s story she also disproves the normative narrative about separation due to race.  Despite the fact that Cassidy and her sister are different races they are both very similar, as they have been raised the same. This lack of separation between the sisters disproves the normative narrative of separation.

In week 5 we read the article “Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism” by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. Dr. DiAngelo says “Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority and entitlement that we are either not consciously aware of or can never admit to ourselves, we become highly fragile in conversations about race.” The previous revealed normative narratives can only survive in an environment where there is a strong internal sense of superiority and entitlement. DiAngelo articles reveals that normative narratives stem from this false entitlement. The normative narratives of race I have previously discussed such as creating difference and separation are effects of superiority and entitlement. DiAngelo perfectly explains how we have created a social structure in a way to benefit the majority. This social structure has had some serious effects. Such as creating many normative narratives that the majority are either not consciously aware of or choose to ignore. This social structure has created detrimental normative narratives in many aspects such as race, class and gender.