Introduction to Ethnic Studies
Introduction to Ethnic Studies AMST 201
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elliott Hyatt on Friday October 23, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to AMST 201 at University of Idaho taught by Janis Johnson in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 35 views. For similar materials see /class/227822/amst-201-university-of-idaho in American Studies at University of Idaho.
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Date Created: 10/23/15
Episode II The Story We Tell Comprehension Questions gt What are some ways that race has been used to rationalize inequality How has race been used to shift attention and responsibility away from oppressors and toward the targets ofoppression gt What is the connection ofAmerican slavery to prejudices against Africandescended peoples Why does race persist after abolition gt Why was it not slavery but freedom and the notion that all men are created equal that created a moral contradiction in colonial America and how did race help resolve that contradiction gt Contrast Thomas Jefferson s policy to assimilate American Indians in the 17805 with Andrew Jackson s policy of removing Cherokees to west ofthe Mississippi in the 18305 What is common to both policies What differentiates them gt What did the publications of scientists Louis Agassiz Samuel Morton and Josiah Nott argue and what was their impact on US legal and social policy gt What role did beliefs about race play in the American colonization of Mexican territory Cuba the Philippines Guam and Puerto Rico Discussion Questions What is the signi cance ofthe episode s title The Story We Tell What function has that story played in the US 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 Organizers ofthe 1904 St Louis World s Fair put on display people whom they de ned as other Although few would do this today many still see others as distinctly different from themselves In your community who is seen as quotdifferentquot What characterizes those who are de ned as different In the lm historian James Horton points out that colonial white Americans invented the story that quotthere39s something different about 39those39 peoplequot in order to rationalize believing in the contradictory ideas of equality and slavery at the same time Likewise historian Reginald Horsman shows how the explanation continued to be used to resolve other dilemmas This successful republic is not destroying Indians just for the love of it they re not enslaving Blacks because they are sel sh they re not overrunning Mexican lands because they are avaricious This is part of some great inevitability of the way races are constituted What stories of difference are used to mask or cover up oppression today Why do we need to tell ourselves these kinds of stories How did expanding democracy and giving opportunities to more white men intersect with American society becoming increasingly quotrace basedquot How did racism bene t white men Are these practices still the case today Is there an inevitable tradeoff where one group gains privilege at the expense of another or can reversing racial inequality benefit all people including white people who have traditionally benefited from racism What might that look like Historian Matthew P Guterl observes quotMost Americans believed that race was one of the most important parts of national life that race mattered because it guaranteed this country a glorious future in the history of the worldquot While few would admit it today do you think the de nition of progress is still tied to being white Can you think of historical or current instances in which those who are not de ned as white are blamed for American weakness or problems How was the notion of Manifest Destiny shaped by beliefs about race What is the relationship of Manifest Destiny to current foreign policies Compare current responses to racial inequity eg calls for reparations or af rmative action with the response ofthose who believed in the quotWhite Man s Burden Which solutions reinforce biological notions of race andor white superiority Which acknowledge the social construct of race without reinforcing those myths Is it possible to address racial inequities without reinforcing biological notions of race lfsohow Episode III The House We Live In Comprehensive Questions gt Who was allowed to become a naturalized citizen before 1954 and who wasn t What rights and privileges do citizens have that noncitizens don39t have What were the consequences for those denied citizenship gt How did European ethnics become white What changes made this possible gt How did federal housing policies institutionalize segregation and wealth disparities gt Why do property values go down when a neighborhood changes from white to nonwhite Who plays a role in this gt What happens to measures of racial disparities in places like education and welfare rates when groups of similar income AND wealth are compared Discussion Questions The film shows how government policies have created unfair advantages for whites in the past resulting in a substantial wealth gap between whites and nonwhites What examples of disparity exist in your community today Will the wealth gap go away if we ignore race In the early part of this century Asian immigrants were not eligible for citizenship no matter how long they lived in the US What is the legacy ofthose laws in terms of how Asian Americans are viewed today What role does race play in current US policy on immigration and granting ofcitizenship How is our idea of citizenship still tied to race Commenting on the idea thatthe US is a melting pot sociologist Eduardo BonillaSilva says That melting pot never included people of color Blacks Chinese Puerto Ricans etc could not melt into the pot Think about the phrase melting pot what does it imply lfthis does not appropriately describe the US what phrase would aptly describe the relationship between its various peoples Central to the concept of the American Dream is the notion that anyone who works hard enough will be rewarded that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps How has this been made more difficult for people not defined as white What is the longterm impact of that denial What difference does access to financial resources make in terms of your life opportunities Cartoonist Bill Griffith comments on the allwhite suburb where he grew up It certainly doesn t promote a feeling of a wider world to live in a place where there are only people who look like you Do you agree What does your neighborhood workplace or school look like Should geographical integration be a goal of public policy Why or why not Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum summarizes the impact of institutionalized racial policies like FHA loan practices To the child of that parent it looks like My father worked hard bought a house passed his wealth on to me made it possible for me to go to schoolHow come yourfather didn t do that How would you answerthe child of that privileged parent How would you explain the situation to the child of the parent who was disadvantaged by government policies Supreme Court Justice Henry Blackmun said To get beyond racism we must first take account of race There is no other way Do you agree Contrast Blackmun s statement with people who strive to be colorblind and judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin Who benefits if we adopt a colorblind approach to society How is colorblindness different from equality Given that race isn t biological should we get rid of racial categories Why might racial classifications still be useful lfwe stoptracking racial information how will we tell if disparities still exist How would you respond to Beverly Daniel Tatum s closing questions in the film gt What can I influence gt How am making this a more equitable environment gt Who is included in this picture and who isn t who has had opportunities in my environment and who hasn t gt What can I do aboutthat Try This Activity Ask each person to read through this list and give themselves a pointfor each item that is true forthem 1 My parents and grandparents were able to purchase or rent housing in any neighborhood they could afford 2 can take a job with an employer who believes in affirmative action without having coworkers suspectthat I got it because of my race 3 grew up in a house that was owned by my parents 4 can look in mainstream media and see people who look like me represented fairly and in a wide range of roles 5 live in a safe neighborhood with good schools 6 can go shopping most of the time pretty well assured thatl will not be followed or harassed 7 If my car breaks down on a deserted stretch of road I can trust that the law enforcement officer who shows up will be helpful 8 don39t have to worry about helping my parents out when they retire 9 neverthink twice about calling the police when trouble occurs 10 Schools in my community teach about my race and heritage and present it in positive ways 11 I can be pretty sure that ifl go into a business and ask to speak to the person in charge that I will be facing a person of my race For additional examples of advantage brainstorm from your own experience orfrom the film The list above is based partly on White Privilege Unpacking the Invisible Knapsackquot by Peggy Macintosh available in many places online After reviewing the list ask people to notice who ends up with the most and fewest points Do patterns emerge Would people39s answers have been different if they were a different race Conclude this activity by discussing legal scholarjohn a powell s observation that in a racist system privilege is often conveyed not earned Most of the benefits can be obtained without ever doing anything personally For whites they are getting the spoils ofa racist system even if they are not personally racist Talk about the difference between personal racism where the beliefs andor actions of an individual reflect prejudice or result in discrimination and institutional racism where people benefit or are disadvantaged without necessarily doing anything themselves How might people address the institutional racism they identify during the activity
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