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The following Featured Post comes from TV Series Group 2, Thread 2.

1. Cicily's dilemma
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 6:52 PM/EST

I wanted to discuss Cicily's dilemma. I thought the way Cicily handled the racism she came across was admirable, but some part of me thought a lot of the racism was imagined. On the one hand, she said, "I am Cicily", meaning neither black or white, but then again she kept referring to herself as a black woman.

I understand she is perceived as a black woman (her skin) but I do feel that some of the stigma against her was forced or imagined. She grew up in New York. Even though it is more tolerant than Colgate, I can't believe she hadn't come across these same problems before. Any thoughts??? Or was she just realizing the racism, never having seen it at home, and now becoming more aware growing into adulthood?

2. Cicily's Dilemma
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 7:16 PM/EST

I, too, wondered how Cicily could reach college age and not have had to deal in any serious way with others' perception of her "differentness". On more than one occasion I wondered if her discussion of her experiences hadn't been colored (no pun intended) by the types of questions she was being asked during the filming. I wish, for instance, that I could have watched some of the scenes she described ... her take on events is, naturally, subjective. If I could watch the scene *and* hear Cicily's description of events, I think I might be able to get a clearer picture of where she's coming from, how I should hear her. Does this make any sense?

3. Cicily's Problem
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 9:01 PM/EST

I was not surprised that Cicily hadn't been aware of racism. Her parents took steps to make sure it didn't affect her, and therefore, I can believe that she wasn't very conscious of its more subtle forms. Her parents described the multi-ethnic neighborhood they chose to raise their children, and her mom talked about protecting them. They talked about avoiding vacations in small towns that weren't likely to be highly integrated.

However, I also agree that her growing awareness of the importance of racial identity to the other Colgate students heightened her perceptions of racism. I know it took a long time for me to recognize forms of prejudice and harrassment as wrong until I was educated about it. (For example, I was 15? before I was aware that it was inappropriate for guys to grab my rear - everyone did it and noone corrected them). Because her environment at Colgate taught her about racism, she has become newly aware of it, and no doubt is experiencing it much more personally. It is the other students that force identity based on skin color onto students like Cicily. I have seen the same thing happen to other students who grew up in integrated places and then come to mostly white colleges. It makes them crazy - and it makes them angry - and it changes their world view. Suddenly they fear that EVERYONE judges who they are because of their color, and it changes how they feel about themselves.

4. Cicily and Karen
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 9:29 PM/EST

The deep love that Karen has for Cicily is important in understanding Cicily's self image. She sees herself in the eyes of her mother with whom she is emotionally bonded to. And Karen's love for Cicily is color blind. It is easy for me to understand Cicily's confusion when she encounters racial prejudice. She has never had to deal with it before until she left home for the first time.

5. Cicily's view of her 'self'
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - /EST

She wavers so much much between "I'm Black" or "I'm biracial". I wonder if she really has much self worth. In other words - does she really like herself? I think she really loves her parents, especially her mom.

It's also interesting that she has so much comtempt for Whites. Didn't she say that she wouldn't want to be a member of the White race? But yet she is a member of a soroity made up almost exclusively of White girls. How strange!

She's clearly struggling with herself. She's caught between two races and doesn't really know now do deal with it. I think a lot of biracial children stuggle with their identity as well as their self worth.

6. cicely's dilemna
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - /EST

I think that I can relate to what Cicely went through. She grew up in a city that is known for it's many different cultures and nationalities. She was in essence sheltered from certain things. Her parents wanted her to grow up in the least restrictive setting. When she went to college, she realized that not everyone was used to seeing a biracial person. Not everyone knew how to deal with her. This made it very difficult for her to cope.

7. The J. Crew Factor
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 3:04 AM/EST

To me, it seemed that Cicily and her family had a predisposition to dislike Colgate simply because it was not divrse. I never heard Cicily discribe an instance of racism on campus. It seemed to be just the general "whiteness" and wealth that she felt uncomfortable with. She admittedly enjoyed her sorority experience in spite of the "whiteness".

I completely relate. This was my college experience as well. I went to a school very similar to Colgate and was overwelmed by what I called the J Crew factor. I had never heard of J Crew before I got to the largly wealthy and white eastern college. But, once I got to know the J Crew set, they were really quite wonderful people. They may have never known a black person, but they were glad to get to know me and we had a great four years.

8. Cicily's dilemma
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 3:41 AM/EST

I remember my time at school rather vividly and think it not strange for a young person have ambivalence & suffer from personality conflicts of various kinds. The students I went to school with certainly did. They were White, Black, Asian, Latin and some of mixtures too numerous to name here. The point is that it's normal to ask the question "Who am I?" at that or any other age. "What is my relationship really like with my parents?.. my syblings?.. a signifigant other? Now added to this is the complexity that our American culture brings to race in all it's brisk apprehension.

Cicily might think of what she needs to get through the day. She might assess her physical and mental capabilities. But when she goes forth she will usually be reminded of her ethnicity. As someone who has taught in both public and private education I know first hand how this can set up an obsticle so high she will spend the rest of her life climbing over it in one way or another. Or this may be a needed impetus to shape her heart and mind and bring strength and resolve to her maturation and vision. We can only hope which of these it will be.

11. Cicily's Dilemma
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 2:28 PM/EST

I was disturbed by Cicily's comment that she would not want to be part of the white race. She already is part of the white race - isn't she? I hope she does not have a disdain for white people. Her mother is white, after all. Race is not important anyway. God knows that - that is why He has included people with all skin types in His plan of salvation. How superficial for anyone to dislike others for the color of their skin. I come from a Biblical viewpoint so I know God does not look at us in that way. He judges us spiritually, not racially. Look at the story of Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers and he was able to say that what satan and men meant for evil, God meant for good. Evil men may have been the ones who enslaved others in an evil plan, but we are part of a much bigger plan in the eyes of God. Look at your blessings, and see what good the Lord has brought you. I think Cicily is still maturing - I hope she will look to God for answers, not people.

12. Cicily's Conflict
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 3:20 PM/EST

It seems to me that what Cicily is experiencing is common to most young people her age: the need to answer the question "Who am I?" She has turned from her parents' definition of her (as Cicily, our daughter, a view not complicated by racial expectations) to definition by her peers. This step toward self-definition is complicated by her realization that her peers are polarized (black-white) and that being bi-racial puts her somewhere in the middle (never a comfortable place to be, but especially hard for a youngster away from home). It seems to me that her hurt, anger, and confusion are natural, and that as she continues to grow in self-confidence and self-awareness, she will understand that she doesn't have to allow others' opinions of her to affect her view of herself.

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