Class Calendar

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Am

For the last week in class, we watched the documentary called I Am.  You can watch it here on mediacast.  Below are my movie notes about the most important parts of the movie and in parentheses are the parts of our class that relate to the movie.  I think this movie is a great inspirational way to sum up our class and apply to your life.  But, come back and revisit it, rewatch it and remind yourself of the lessons of our class. They will mean different things to you as you get older and more experienced.  This is true for all of the lessons of our class, so I hope you will stay one of my students and one of my teachers.  Peace and love to you,

This documentary was created by Tom Shadyac a writer/director of many Hollywood blockbuster films: Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, Liar Liar, The Nutty Professor, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams, Accepted , and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. After a serious injury, Shadyac confronts the truth in front of him and sets out to find more meaning in his life and in our world. The film displays a number of ideas and themes that we have discussed throughout our class. Shadyac asks, “What’s wrong with the world? And what can we do about it?”
“Humanity is going to require a new way of thinking if it is to survive” – Albert Einstein
Science is a story. It changes over time. Part of the story of science, since the Enlightenment, is that people are like machines; we are made from materials and we are mechanistic. We operate in the world under that assumption. We compartmentalize each other and our world this way.

This way of thinking creates a separateness (individuality & cultural values), a competitiveness and a materialism that pervade Western society, especially the United States. (Culture and US values)
“Be suspicious of what you want.” -Rumi
Native Americans noticed this way of thinking when Europeans first came to the Americas. They have a word called “wetico” which means a sort of cannibalism where one culture eats or destroys another culture’s way of life.

What we now know is that we are more than the sum of all of our parts and we are connected to much more than ourselves. Each individual is connected to all other humans, not just in the United States, but in the world. And each human in the world is connected to all living things. And all living things are connected to the non-living.

One myth that has been promoted that prevents us from realizing this interconnectedness is the belief that essential nature of humans is to be competitive, instead of cooperative to dominate instead of subordinate, to seek kingdom over democracy. This is a myth promoted inaccurately by supporters of Darwin. Instead, the basis of nature is egalitarian, cooperative and democratic. Darwin mentioned, “survival of the fittest” twice and “love” 95 times. Humans evolved to cooperate. Sympathy is the strongest human emotion. We have mirrored neurons that help us have sympathy. Our vagus nerve helps us to elevate us to compassion. Desmond Tutu says, “We belong because we need other to make us human.” (Socialization) When we serve others with empathy, love and compassion, it creates deep contentment that literally makes us healthier and nourishes our mind and body. (Community Service) Anger makes us stupid. It inhibits our thinking. Our heart is our primary access point to our higher self. “Do something that makes your heart sing.”
“What was said to the rose to make it open was said here to me in my chest.” – Rumi
“There is only one way to eat an elephant; one piece at a time.” “The sea is only drops of water that have come together.” We can’t solve global poverty, but we can do something about that guy over there. Each of us should do something and because we are all connected it all makes a difference. (Sociological Mindfulness)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Race and identity

Because the US is  so race conscious, race matters to people even if it biologically doesn't make sense.  Here are some examples of race and how people identify (or have trouble doing so):

Here are the current definitions of "race" according to the US census:

Here are the changes being considered for the 2020 census:

Here are some articles on the difficulty of categorizing Hispanics:

The Census Can't Fit Latinos Into A Race Box And It's Causing More ...
The Huffington Post
May 22, 2014 - The Census Can't Fit Latinos Into A Race Box And It's Causing More Confusion ... U.S. Latinos changed their race category from “some other race” to “white” between the 2000 ... Latinos Who Don't Get A Race On The Census ...

Is being Hispanic a matter of race, ethnicity or both? | Pew Research ...
Pew Research Center
Jun 15, 2015 - When it comes to reporting their racial identity, Latinos stand out from other ... at least one of the five standard, government-defined racial categories ... This suggests that Hispanics have a unique view of race that doesn't necessarily fit ..... into one group even though a good 20 % don't speak Spanish at all ...

Hispanics Resist Racial Grouping by Census - The New York Times
The New York Times
Oct 25, 2004 - "We don't fit into the categories that the Anglos want us to fit in," Mr. ... of Hispanics who would include themselves in traditional racial groups ...

Here is another example of the difficulty of racial categories:

In The Latinos of Asia, Anthony Christian Ocampo shows that what "color" you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino Americans, for example, helped establish the Asian American movement and are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines means that they share many cultural characteristics with Latinos, such as last names, religion, and language. Thus, Filipinos' "color"—their sense of connection with other racial groups—changes depending on their social context. 
From NPR:

Race Panel

We were so fortunate to have a panel of our own students talking about "race."  The students had many insights.  One was that those who have to navigate different racial worlds never feel quite right anywhere.  For example, some students emigrated from another country like Mexico.  So, in the US they are considered Hispanic and they do not feel that they fit in, but in Mexico they are considered white and they do not feel that they fit in there.

Along these lines, students spoke about how their master status often becomes their minority status.  That is, other people (usually those from the majority) only see them as black or Asian or whatever their minority status is.  This takes away the student's individuality.  Sometimes this results in the student being forced to speak for their whole minority group.  It also results in many of the students feeling pressure to represent their minority group or live up to an ideal that is more pressure than those in the majority have to experience.

Also students talked about the racial prejudice that lies just below the surface; sometimes it comes out from another student in a class of their, or their own parents or school teachers and administrators.  A third conclusion that I drew from the panel was the diversity within different groups.  Many people assume that all blacks are the same or all Hispanics are the same, but really there is a great deal of diversity within each group and this is another reason that stereotypes are ignorant and don't hold up.

Finally, I think there was an emphasis on empathy.  Multiple students talked about the need to develop empathy for those from other races. I really like that idea.  Empathy is an aspect of sociological mindfulness.  Here is a Ted Talk from a sociologist called "A Radical Experiment in Empathy."

Here are some notes from the presentation:

Brian A
Not white – Q: What are you?  Is Hispanic a race?
Did difficulty start as early as 1st grade?

Surprised by racism at SHS
Walking to football game car yells “chinks”
“You’ll bring dishonor to your family”  Q: did these people think they were joking with you?

Security at OHare said “Ni Hao.  Oh sorry – Konnichiwa”


Lack of media representation

Yellow fever is real

At home I get shamed for not being Asian enough – not knowing Mandarin

It creates a major insecurity.

Farhab, jr.
Born in Dubai.  Believed US would be a land of opportunuity
Not blonde, blue eyed.
4th graders were cruel.
Spent 6 months in elementary school but English had an accent.
I was different.  Egyptian.  Muslim.
People make me feel less than them.  My mom wears a head scarf and speaks less English.  The Cashier at Kohls made a nasty comment about my mom that she didn’t understand but I did.
A friend of mine got stopped by a car and asked if she had a bomb in her backpack.
One time as a joke – I was asked if I was going to bomb the school.
Things like this are uncomfortable to talk about but we must if we move forward.
Country talking about banning Muslims and being deported.
The US has given me many opportunities but it is really hard.

Emily jr.
Asian American.  Adopted from birth.  Lao an possibly Korean.
Grew up in Irish - Italian family.  Corned beef and Italian food.
Always felt like a white American.
Entering SHS was hard because other people saw me as Asian.
Often I felt not Asian enough to be Asian, but others were making me feel not white.  As I got older I had to pick what my identity would be. 
My parents couldn’t understand why it is such a big deal for me.
I have spoken at conventions and spoken word to talk about what it means to be Asian and white.

Charles Raymond Sullivan “Chuckey”
Grew in Houston TX, a fairly diverse city – not segregated like Chgo.  Kids at SHS don’t understand what different races look like.  We are not diverse.  I heard an SHS kid say that they feel like a minority because there are so many white kids at our school.
There are so many little things that we say that  are offensive like :
Affirmative Action
You act so white
People want to be something more –
White kids don’t understand what it is like.
On Lacrosse – 10/12 games Ive been called the N-word by other teams.
Have to be socially aware.
Be socially mindful of everyone’s experience.

December 16, 2015

Shukran  Born in Baghdad, Iraq.   Fled Bombing in 2003 to small city.  Survived there living simply.  Survived a bombing.  Came to America as a refugee and on a work visa.  Truth is I received a lot of discrimination, especially when I wore the Hijab.  I didn’t know English. I learned to ignore them.  Still kids around SHS bring up politics, like Trump.  Being a Muslim in America, there’s an underlying responsibility that I have to disprove the things people say about Islam.  It’s a hard responsibility.

Abel  I’m a senior repping South Asians.  Identify as   .   1997 Moved from Southern India, very rural and conservative Christian.  Got fat as a kid – thought it was a sign of wealth.  Watched American news as a kid and that made my parents really scared because the news was always bad stuff.  Kidnappings and murders and stuff.  My parents made me live inside all the time.  This made me feel isolated from the other kids. People ask if I converted.  Christianity has been in India since 52 AD.  People ask where I am from, but I say here.  At SHS there’s less bullying, but there are microaggressions.  People always assume I am Hindu or vegetarian.  People ask where I am from?  I say Illinois.  They say, no where were you born?  I say Illinois.  Finally I realize that they want to know my ancestory.  It is about being privileged and ignorant.
Q:  Examples?

Nicole  Filipino, only sibling born in US.  11 people in my mom’s family.  Very family oriented.  My parents moved to US for better education for their family.  Had about 11 people living in house together at first until they moved to BG.  I was taught to remember my roots ad values growing up.  But by 1st grade I was telling my parents that I don’t want to be Filipino.  I had more white friends and started to lose sight of my own past and values.  Wanted to convert and have a bar and bat mitzvah and …People always wanted to know what I was?  Hawaiian?  Half-Chinese?   Etc…People didn’t know I was Filipino.  I learned about Tiger moms which applied to my grandmother.  I was forced to wake up and practice my math and reading.  I felt like I had to meet a standard of all Asians being smart and excelling at school.  I wanted to be a Doctor.  It was hard to accept that I wasn’t a straight A student and I feel embarrassed meeting friends’ families because I’m either not white enough or not smart enough for the Asians.   Been told that I was exotic and different looking.  Doesn’t sound bad, but makes me feel like I don’t belong in America.

Mariel - White American but from Singapore.  I’m Singaporean.  Growing up in Singapore, there was a lot of discrimination against me.  In Singapore, my group is called ungmo  “Red haired monkey”.  Its really derogative but used by the government officially.  Used in newspapers.  As a Singaporean, I always saw the US and Europe as monsters and barbaric.  My mom was never promoted.  Discrimination is legal.  My friend Yasmine told me that she could not be my friend anymore because I was not her type of friend.  I couldn’t go to public school and I couldn’t live in certain areas.  White medical expenses were different.  Color of skin made you a target.  I had to sign forms saying that if I was kidnapped, I would not hold them responsible.  People wanted to take their picture with me because I was a commodity – not a person.  In Singapore, the xenophobia has gotten worse.  My parents moved here to get away.  We had to get away from the Xenophobia.
Q:  what was yasmine? 

Athena – Dad is white, mom is Pakistani, I have two mixed race siblings.  A boy in gym class used to ask me questions like if I pick cotton.  By high school it became more like micro-aggressions such as you are whitest black girl who I ever met.  Not a positive thing to call someone a different race than what they are.  The way you speak is not a race.  Microaggressions with police, I am part of a group called peer jury.  I listen to cases in BG and Wheeling.  First time I went to peer jury in Wheeling, they assumed that I was one of those on trial.  They sent me out to wait with the defendents.  The officer said oh I thought you were one of them.

Brian  When I was younger, the stereotypes came from friends and I tried to laugh it off but it made me feel ostracized.  It gave me tougher skin.  I believe that in this school racism is still a huge issue, sometimes microaggressions or worse.  There’s a bubble in SHS that prevents a lot of SHS from understanding that racism is still prevalent.  White students may walk away from a group of Hispanic students.  One experience that I never told anyone about was that at SHS there’s so few Hispanic students that I hang out with mostly white kids.  I was called to my dean and I was accused of drug dealing.  I was searched and degraded simply because I am Hispanic.  SHS has tried to accommodate minorities, but the help they are giving makes me feel like I can’t succeed without their help.

Q:  Microaggression-
Assuming that all people like you are related to you.
Assumptions about my hair – whether its real or a weave.
Touching hair without asking.
Nicknames – offensive
Hijab questions like what’s in there.  Questions that skirt controversial issues
People assuming that  I speak for all people like me.
Someone assuming that my uncle was someone from Sodexho
People assuming that I am a spokesperson for all people.
Pressure to live up to different standards.

Q:Examples of stereotypes and expectations within each group?  Effects on you?

Q: Examples of difficulties living in predominantly white area?

Per 2

Charles Raymond Sullivan “Chuckey” – Grew up in Texas.  I had a nickname called “niggertard” because of my hairdo.  Black and white kids would go at each other.   There was a cross burned into the field at school.  So when we moved here, my mom wanted to find somewhere else to move because SHS had so little black people.  My mom wanted me to come to SHS because of the academics.  My first day of school, I met a jewish kid.  Never met a Jewish kid before.  He assumed that I would be good at football.  Other people say you don’t sound like a black person.  I’m first black person to play lacrosse.  I hear racial slurs all the time on the field.

Brianna – Always had to learn about racism.  Had to learn that I might be seen differently because of my color.  I saw microaggressions but only realized it later.  I went to a private Christian school in Northbrook.  It was a low-key racist but one day, someone wrote “Nigger” on my little brother’s (4th grade) picture in the hallway.  In middle school people assumed that I would be friends or related to the other black kids at school.  Other times kids told me I talked white or called me oreo.
Internalized racism ??
By sophomore year I was a part of Sush’s minority girls group and I educated myself and I learned to be more proud of who I was. I am afraid of the racism and my little brother.
White people don’t have to learn about race issues.
My parents tell my brother to act a certain way – don’t act too goofy, don’t wear your hood,

Athenamom is white, dad is Pakistani.  Really resents the term Oreo.  Language - I speak the way I speak. Called terms like cotton picker in middle school.  Won’t shop at Nordstrom's because they profile me.

Julie – called nerd because I am Asian.  Stereotypes. Called chinks but I was the only Chinese person and there were whites with us, but didn’t matter.
Rarely were Asians on TV or in music videos.  Feels pressured from Asians to hang out with other Asians,… Taiwanese but feel pressure to be Chinese. Even a teacher insulted me by (wrongly) telling me about being Taiwanese.  Took a long time to adapt to American culture but then I was told I was too Asian to be American and too American to be Asian.

Shukran – Born in Iraq, moved to US 7 yrs ago.Lived a normal girls life in Iraq.  Very sheltered – indoors.   Made fun of for my nose – because I’m Arab and I have a large nose. Tried to embrace the good side of my culture.  Tried to be more Arab than Muslim.  Aladdin , belly dancing. Embraced math. Been called camel jockey, turban head, terrorist. Arabs are different from Muslims – less conservative,

Justin– Growing up here (only 1.7%) is different. Parents have to tell us certain things like dress a certain way, talk a certain way.  By middle school, learned that didn’t matter, because were still calling me things.  Reduced to being only “black” and nothing else. And people made fun of me for that.
Q: being reduced to black and nothing else, even as a good thing is still bad right?  Oreo and white washed are not compliments.  “acting white” is not a compliment. I can be black and good at art or black and smart. I was told by another kid that I was too black to do art, but I worked really hard to get here.  People joke about stuff but that’s bad.  Even more dangerous are interactions with police, security.  I have been carded by SHS security  to see if I went here. It was rough to see because I grew up here and I felt disrespected. And people think that racism is over. Some people think the Nword is passé but I cussed my friend out because it’s not cool.  But in jr high I would’ve brushed that off and not really said anything because I just wanted to be liked.  Recently during Ferguson and Trayvon Martin people called them coded names like thug.  It makes me think about how others think of me and I wonder if they think of me that way.  President of BASS black association of students.  We talk about different issues and stuff going on.  Fridays after school. 

Jenny C- mixed child, mutt, box of chex mix. Grandpa is purely Puerto Rican, also Assyrian, France, Poland Ukraine.  Mom’s side is lighter than dad’s. I used to have darker skin, plus dark hair but my mom is really light – hair and skin.  Sadly I used to think I was adopted.  When my Grandma died, I knew she was Polish but then found out I was Ukrainian.  Found out my real last name was C**-V****, but my grandpa dropped the V**** and changed the name and changed his bday. People ask what I am, I say Puerto-Rican and people say then you have to speak Spanish to be Latina.  Difficult to navigate family people because different skin and different cultures.  Makes it really difficult for me to know who I am.  Made it hard for me to go through different friend groups.  Now I have friends who are a mix of everything.  This year I am finally embracing who I am. Holidays are a hodge-podge: Assyrian meatballs, Puerto Rican rice and beans.  But still struggle with self-esteem.  Don’t like the question “What are you?”  Instead  ask “what’s your ethnic background?”

Jessica P
Mexican.  Born here, but called beaner.  People don’t understand how much damage they are doing.  Mom here for 20 years legally.  Dad here (legally) for 18years??, but
A woman at mom’s work was mad at my mom and called immigration on her but they found my dad instead.  And I felt like it was my fault – I opened the door that day.  My dad told me how he crossed the border, and it was awful,
Being Hispanic I am surrounded by white people and it is intimidating.  My dad is hard working and often the employee of the month.

Puerto Rican and Guatemalan, but just recently found out that.  Older sister is half white and we look nothing like each other.  Growing up we didn’t like each other, and no one ever knew we were sisters.  A saleslady didn’t believe we were sisters and it’s frustrating to have to explain that she is my sister. That is just one example.  Something else I face on a daily basis, as a manager at my store, is the idea that because I am Hispanic I can’t be successful.  Customers ask to speak to a manager but sometimes that’s me!  Sometimes I have another employee with me who is white and older and they insist that she is the manager. We can be successful just anyone else can.  Don’t judge a book by its cover. 

Post 9: Race

For this post, please post about race.  You may wish to talk about the social construction of race (it is not biological), ingroups/outgroups, explicit and implicit bias,  prejudice v. discrimination, and privilege especially explicit and implicit racism as well as white privilege.

As you apply it to your own experiences, you might want to think about: assumptions you have had about race (esp. biological), experiences you have had with other races and/or racism, and how privilege affects you.
Some sources you might want to consider using are:
The Racial Formation reading (in your packet) by Omi and Winant,
The Race Panel
White Privilege; Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
and all the links on my blog.

It's a privilege to be...white?

This picture featuring Michelle Obama was published with a caption saying that she wore a "flesh-colored" dress. Are they implying that Michelle's skin is not flesh? I don't think so, but this is an example of the privilege of being white; white skin is considered normal/flesh-colored.  This is just one of many privileges of being white in a culture that sees white as normal, desireable or better than other "colors".  This type of privilege is often unnoticed, subconscious, implicit.  But, it has a big impact.
Here is another example from Johnson and Johnson.  Note that the bottle says, "Normal to Darker skin," implying that there is normal skin and then there is darker skin which is implicitly abnormal. And, here are some privileges related to Christmas.  Some sociologists call these subtle nudges of racism microaggressions.  Here are 25 microaggressions from buzzfeed.

Sociologist Peggy McIntosh writes about White Privilege in her essay, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.
In class instructions:
Please read through McIntosh's reading and choose one of the numbered privileges to respond to.  Take out a sheet of paper and write down which privilege you are responding to.  Things to consider: Have you ever thought about this before?  Why do you think McIntosh considers this a "privilege"?  Can you see this type of privilege happening in your day to day life?  

The idea is that because Americans live in a white-dominated society, whites have a host of little things that work in their favor.  Tim Wise, another sociologist, applied McIntosh's idea to the 2008 election. Read Tim Wise's White Priviledge, White Entitlement and the 2008 Election. Here is a brief excerpt,
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

Chicago Public Radio aired a story about Global Girls, an organization working to develop African-American girls’ self esteem. The girls at the organization know firsthand how difficult it is for their peers who are poor and black and pregnant. They developed a performance piece to help show their feelings and how white priviledge helps to favor white girls (especially wealthy) in the same predicament. Listen to the full story here. What do you think the reaction would be if one of Obama's girls was old enough and pregnant with a baby of her own? How does this privilege affect you? How might it affect minorities in other ways? What is your reaction to Tim Wise's analysis of the 2008 election? Noting that this is a difficult challenge ahead of Palin, what are the advantages that she might have being who she is? How might pregnancy affect a poor person differently than a wealthy person? How might pregnancy affect someone with power like a governor's daughter or Vice-president's daughter differently than the daughter of someone with less power/clout?

Listen to comedian Hari Kondabolu's example of white privilege and  microaggressions from the website Colorlines.

Here is a great story from This American Life (episode 362: Got You Pegged, Act 1) illustrating what happens when 2 cops see a black man riding a bike with a white kid. It is a funny story but it illustrates white privilege because I think the story would be very different if both of the people were white. Listen to the story and then tell me what you think.

Here is another story from This American Life (episode 475: Send A Message) about how eliminating an implicit racial bias can make a big difference in a young child's life.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Implicit Racism

Racism can often be hidden in our unconsciousness. Even though as individuals we might work consciously to not be racist, we live in a racist society with a racist legacy. From the moment we are born we are influenced subtly to think of white as good and black as bad. Look at these examples from various media. They are not trying to be racist, but the message they send reinforces racist ideology.

These pictures though very similar, are different in two important areas: the race of the people and the caption.

Lebron James was only the third male to ever be featured on the cover of Vogue and he was the first "black" American ever to be on there. and yet, he is portrayed as an angry gorilla. Here is a critique from blackademics.  And here is one from

Harvard has been conducting an ongoing study of how we implicitly associate certain traits with being good or bad. You can take the survey here. Click on Demo first.

See how this implicit racism shows up even within the same minority groups that are being discriminated against.

Some examples of implicit bias are listed below.  Please choose an article and examine it for:
1.  What is the implicit bias that the article examines?
2. Why is this bias "implicit"?
2. What person or group is being biased against whom?

A)Read this SHS basketball article that is full of implicit bias

Then checkout this post showing that Jewish players were dominant in basketball in the first half of the 20th century.

B)And another example of implicit bias is how people react in a split second when they confront someone with a weapon.  See here for that.

C)Here is an article showing that traffic stops in Illinois have an implicit racial bias:

D)This study shows a racial bias in NBA foul calling.

E)Here is a study showing that immigrants are treated differently based on skin color.

F)Having an African American sounding name will result in biased treatment as well.

Here are a number of other examples (A NY Police Lt., Harvard President, State Senator Obama) from the sociologists toolbox.

And this video from What Would You Do showing how people are more quick to be suspicious and to call the police if they see a black man committing the same crime as a white man.


Finally, this video called Slip of the Tongue uses slam poetry to explore how one girl stands strong to embrace her identity
without giving in to popular pressure to change who she is. I think it is a motivating strong voice.
Here is an example of implicit bias from the NY Times about Baltimore and the Texas biker fight.

Why racial jokes are NOT okay.

If, after reading my explicit racism post, you thought, "Hmmm, those frat party costumes don't seem so bad.  It's just a joke.  It's just funny."

Think again.  I want you to open your mind with a beginner mind and re-think about those parties after considering this post.

First, from the beginning of the year, we have tried to make Michael Schwalbe's sociological mindfulness a goal.  Even Schwalbe used racial jokes as an example.  In being aware that we affect society, we should realize that we can't see how far our influence goes and it helps to re-affirm or challenge social norms.  In this case, a funny joke might also help to re-affirm stereotypes, make other people feel like outsiders and, even in small ways, help justify violence against others.

Remember that these "jokes" are being conducted in a society that has widespread stereotypes.  As one example, let us consider Donald Trump.  I do not want to attack Trump personally but as a representative of the larger society.  Mr. Trump represents a very real possibility of being the next U.S. President.  He garners enormous media attention.  So he is an important cultural barometer for the U.S.  And despite his large media presence and serious political aspirations, he has said outlandish, offensive, outrageous and erroneous things about minority groups in the U.S.  For reference, from the Huffington Post, here is 9 outrageous things he has said about Latinos, including that Mexican immigrants are rapists and killers and criminals.  So, when these ethnic jokes occur, especially frat parties, realize that they are happening within the context of a country that is already tolerating hurtful, hateful ideas about these ethnic groups. 

Furthermore, think about the ingroup-outgroup mentality that we learned about in unit one.  I believe that often these parties do not involve anyone from the ethnic group that is being targeted.  In otherwords, it is not an inside joke, but it is a group of outsiders making fun of other people.  In many cases, those other people are on the same campuses where these jokes occurred!  Imagine seeing people who are not a part of one of your own groups making fun of that very group.  For example, imagine a group of Latinos dressed up like Donald Trump calling themselves white people and saying "I am white so I hate black people and I hate hispanics."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Explicit Racism

As you enter, please read this:

Even though race does not exist biologically, it does exist as a social construction. This means that people believe in it and act on it even though it is not real.  One of the ways the construction of race has shaped people is called explicit racism, or directly and consciously believing that one's own "racial" group is superior to others. Another way that Americans have been shaped by "race" is prejudice and discriminationPrejudice is having a predetermined attitude about a group of people usually based on a stereotype.  Discrimination is an action or behavior that results in unequal treatment of individuals because of his or her perceived "race." However, over the last few years, the  United States has elected its first black/ mixed-race President, there are more black actors and actresses on network television, and the cultural norm is that it’s wrong to be racist, SO

(Please jot down a response to this)

 Is racism still relevant? Should we still be concerned about racism or have we moved past racism? 

Checkout these recent events in our country:
Here is a post about racist tweets from the 2013 Miss America pageant. 

Here is a post  about a 2013 racist incident in an unlikely place.

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has an ongoing list of racist incidents.

A college student from Queens got more than he bargained for when he splurged on a $350 designer belt at Barneys — when a clerk had him cuffed apparently thinking the black teen couldn’t afford the pricey purchase, even though he had paid for it, a new lawsuit alleges.
“His only crime was being a young black man,” his attorney, Michael Palillo, told The Post.

During the Healthcare debate in 2009, Representative David Scott of Georgia had a 4foot swastika painted over his office sign.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies hate groups in America. This link will show you a map of all the hate groups in the United States.   Is this surprising?  Is this concerning?

This article from the Mail Online, A British online newspaper:
And with Mr Obama reportedly receiving more death threats than any other American president - 400 per cent more than those against his predecessor George Bush, according to a new book...A black U.S. Congressman had a swastika painted over his office sign after he yelled at allegedly racist protesters at a Southern town hall meeting, it emerged today.
In 2012, Joel Ward, a black NHL player scored the winning goal in the NHL playoffs and he became the target of racial slurs.

 Fraternities and sororities hold racial-themed parties that display very directly the racialized stereotypes that persist in the United States. Does this surprise you?  How would you feel/react to a party like this when you go to college?

 Jeremy Lin is an example of the racial stereotypes in sports and how stereotypes can be more or less permissible for different groups within a society. Here is a post explaining that dynamic from the society pages.  Here is a clip of the skit from the daily beast.  Have you seen or heard any explicit racism in your own life?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Social Construction of Race in the U.S.

Because race does not exist in any biological or scientific way that can be defined, each society is able to define it how they want.
Over the years, race has changed in America. The Irish were originally considered not white. Later, Italians, Greeks and other Southern Europeans faced discrimination because they were considered less desirable than Northern Europeans. In the 1920s, the Supreme Court Case Thind vs. U.S. determined that a man of Asian Indian descent was not white or caucasoid, even though he did not fit into the other categories of race at the time (Mongoloid/Asian, Negroid/Black). Instead the court ruled that because most people would say that he is not white, then he is not white. This was just one case of many that shaped race throughout U.S. history. For more on how race has changed and can change, see Nell Irvin Painter's book called, "The History of White People." Here is a review on Salon. All of these are examples of how race has changed over the years in America. It can change, because there is no way to define it. It doesn't exist in any biological or empirical sense, it only exists as a social construction.

Here is how the US census has changed in how it determines race over the years.

Click here to do an activity where you have to categorize people like a census taker would have.  After you do the sorting people activity above, click here to learn about traits.  Is this new information to you? Is it difficult to process? 

Watch this show making fun of how race is socially constructed.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Race is a social construction

Please answer these questions:

What are two ways that sorting the balls yesterday was a metaphor for race?

What is the important conclusion from yesterday's lesson?

Then on page 2 of your packet, please answer questions 1-3 about the reading.

 The book by Omi and Winant called "Racial Formation" provides a detailed explanation of how race is formed through a social construction. Read an excerpt here.

If "race" is not biological then it is a social construction.  There is no way to biologically, physically or scientifically group humans into distinct racial groups.  If there was, then racial groups would be the same all over the world.  They would fit into the scientific classification system such as kingdom, order, phyllum etc...  But instead each culture has its own racial types.  For example, when I was in Japan, I asked some Japanese friends what races were in Japan and they said "nihon-jin and gai-jin," Which means "Japanese people and foreign people.  In other words, the Japanese think that there are Japanese people in the world and then there is everyone else.  And then I pressed him further and I said, " But aren't there different groups within Japanese culture?"
My friend finally said, " Ahh yes... there were ancient Japanese who settled the islands from the north and there were ancient Japanese who settled the islands from the south, and you know how to tell who came from where?  Earwax." That's right, earwax! He explained that some Japanese have dry flaky earwax and others have wet greasy earwax.  That determines where your ancestors came from and a different biological group that you are a part of- essentially a different race.  But that makes no sense to us because in the US we never think of earwax as part of race.

Here are the racial groups in Mexico:
  1. Mestizo: Spanish father and Indian mother
  2. Castizo: Spanish father and Mestizo mother
  3. Espomolo: Spanish mother and Castizo father
  4. Mulatto: Spanish and black African
  5. Moor: Spanish and Mulatto
  6. Albino: Spanish father and Moor mother
  7. Throwback: Spanish father and Albino mother
  8. Wolf: Throwback father and Indian mother
  9. Zambiago: Wolf father and Indian mother
  10. Cambujo: Zambiago father and Indian mother
  11. Alvarazado: Cambujo father and Mulatto mother
  12. Borquino: Alvarazado father and Mulatto mother
  13. Coyote: Borquino father and Mulatto mother
  14. Chamizo: Coyote father and Mulatto mother
  15. Coyote-Mestizo: Cahmizo father and Mestizo mother
  16. Ahi Tan Estas: Coyote-Mestizo father and Mulatto mother
 And in Brazil, In 1976, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) conducted a study to ask people to identify their own skin color.  Here are the 134 terms, listed in alphabetical order:
Acastanhada (cashewlike tint; caramel colored)
Alva (pure white)
Alva-escura (dark or off-white)
Alverenta (or aliviero, "shadow in the water")
Alvarinta (tinted or bleached white)
Alva-rosada (or jamote, roseate, white with pink highlights)
Alvinha (bleached; white-washed)
Amarela (yellow)
Amarelada (yellowish)
Amarela-quemada (burnt yellow or ochre)
Amarelosa (yellowed)
Amorenada (tannish)
Avermelhada (reddish, with blood vessels showing through the skin)
Azul (bluish)
Azul-marinho (deep bluish)
Baiano (ebony)
Bem-branca (very white)
Bem-clara (translucent)
Bem-morena (very dusky)
Branca (white)
Branca-avermelhada (peach white)
Branca-melada (honey toned)
Branca-morena (darkish white)
Branca-p�lida (pallid)
Branca-queimada (sunburned white)
Branca-sardenta (white with brown spots)
Branca-suja (dirty white)
Branqui�a (a white variation)
Branquinha (whitish)
Bronze (bronze)
Bronzeada (bronzed tan)
Bugrezinha-escura (Indian characteristics)
Burro-quanto-foge ("burro running away," implying racial mixture of unknown origin)
Cabocla (mixture of white, Negro and Indian)
Cabo-Verde (black; Cape Verdean)
Caf� (coffee)
Caf�-com-leite (coffee with milk)
Canela (cinnamon)
Canelada (tawny)
Cast�o (thistle colored)
Castanha (cashew)
Castanha-clara (clear, cashewlike)
Castanha-escura (dark, cashewlike)
Chocolate (chocolate brown)
Clara (light)
Clarinha (very light)
Cobre (copper hued)
Corado (ruddy)
Cor-de-caf� (tint of coffee)
Cor-de-canela (tint of cinnamon)
Cor-de-cuia (tea colored)
Cor-de-leite (milky)
Cor-de-oro (golden)
Cor-de-rosa (pink)
Cor-firma ("no doubt about it")
Crioula (little servant or slave; African)
Encerada (waxy)
Enxofrada (pallid yellow; jaundiced)
Esbranquecimento (mostly white)
Escura (dark)
Escurinha (semidark)
Fogoio (florid; flushed)
Galega (see agalegada above)
Galegada (see agalegada above)
Jambo (like a fruit the deep-red color of a blood orange)
Laranja (orange)
Lil�s (lily)
Loira (blond hair and white skin)
Loira-clara (pale blond)
Loura (blond)
Lourinha (flaxen)
Malaia (from Malabar)
Marinheira (dark greyish)
Marrom (brown)
Meio-amerela (mid-yellow)
Meio-branca (mid-white)
Meio-morena (mid-tan)
Meio-preta (mid-Negro)
Melada (honey colored)
Mesti�a (mixture of white and Indian)
Miscigena��o (mixed --- literally "miscegenated")
Mista (mixed)
Morena (tan)
Morena-bem-chegada (very tan)
Morena-bronzeada (bronzed tan)
Morena-canelada (cinnamonlike brunette)
Morena-castanha (cashewlike tan)
Morena clara (light tan)
Morena-cor-de-canela (cinnamon-hued brunette)
Morena-jambo (dark red)
Morenada (mocha)
Morena-escura (dark tan)
Morena-fechada (very dark, almost mulatta)
Moren�o (very dusky tan)
Morena-parda (brown-hued tan)
Morena-roxa (purplish-tan)
Morena-ruiva (reddish-tan)
Morena-trigueira (wheat colored)
Moreninha (toffeelike)
Mulatta (mixture of white and Negro)
Mulatinha (lighter-skinned white-Negro)
Negra (negro)
Negrota (Negro with a corpulent vody)
P�lida (pale)
Para�ba (like the color of marupa wood)
Parda (dark brown)
Parda-clara (lighter-skinned person of mixed race)
Polaca (Polish features; prostitute)
Pouco-clara (not very clear)
Pouco-morena (dusky)
Preta (black)
Pretinha (black of a lighter hue)
Puxa-para-branca (more like a white than a mulatta)
Quase-negra (almost Negro)
Queimada (burnt)
Queimada-de-praia (suntanned)
Queimada-de-sol (sunburned)
Regular (regular; nondescript)
Retinta ("layered" dark skin)
Rosa (roseate)
Rosada (high pink)
Rosa-queimada (burnished rose)
Roxa (purplish)
Ruiva (strawberry blond)
Russo (Russian; see also polaca)
Sapecada (burnished red)
Sarar� (mulatta with reddish kinky hair, aquiline nose)
Sara�ba (or saraiva: like a white meringue)
Tostada (toasted)
Trigueira (wheat colored)
Turva (opaque)
Verde (greenish)
Vermelha (reddish)

 Looking at the distinctions in Japan, Mexico and Brazil might not make sense to us because we view race so differently.  However, all of this is evidence that race is a social construction.   Read the passage below and then answer the questions after.

4.  Answer individually:   Did the girl’s race change?  Why or why not?

 5.  As a group discuss, each student share his/her answer to this question.  Change or add to your thoughts above as needed.  Then as a group decide on one answer: Yes or NO?


Here is a link to different censuses around the world

Click on the link and then note in your packet which race you would be in the other countries around the world.
When you are finished, which countries were you a different race than how you identify yourself in the U.S.?

Here is a link to a survey of who is white around the world.

 And here is a global dialogue about race.

Race and Anatomy: Don't be mislead by pseudo-science!

Students always misunderstand their forensic unit in anatomy.  Anatomy misleads students into thinking that there are 3 "pure" races based on evidence from hair, cranium and femur.

For clarification, Let us turn to the Lab, the textbook and other resources.

The Lab
Anatomy provides important disclaimers within the lab itself.  However, it seems that these disclaimers get downplayed because students never mention them.  Let me quote from the lab itself and emphasize these points:

It can be extremely difficult to determine the true race of a skeleton. This is due to several factors: First, forensic anthropologists generally use a three race model to categorize skeletal traits: Caucasoid (European), Mongoloid (Asian/Amerindian), and Negroid (African). Although there are certainly some common physical characteristics among these groups, not all individuals have skeletal traits that are completely consistent with their geographic origin. Additionally, there is the issue of racial mixing to consider. Often times, a skeleton exhibits characteristics of more than one racial group and does not fit neatly into the three-race model. Also, the vast majority of the skeletal indicators used to determine race are non-metric traits, which, as stated earlier, can be highly subjective.
 First of all, most of the above paragraph is explaining why race is NOT a reliable factor when it comes to trace evidence.  The paragraph states that race is difficult to determine.  Why would it be difficult if race was biological?  Would it be difficult to determine whether a human, a chimp or a gorilla committed the crime?  I believe it would not because biologically, those three creatures are different.  But because humans are the same species and NOT biologically different, they cannot be separated distinctly into different races.  Secondly, the three race model is an old, erroneous and racist model that biologists, social scientists and anthropologists all do NOT use anymore.  Finally, the non-metric traits are a fancy way of saying that race is NOT scientific.  "Non metric" means it is subjective and based upon the society and local circumstances surrounding the people; it is a social construction.

Anatomy Textbook
I stopped into the ILC and looked at the anatomy text books.  There was NOTHING in the entire book about race.  I checked the table of contents, the index and I thumbed through chapters.  Nothing.  There is even a section on genetics that makes no mention about race.  Not a thing.  The section about craniums and skeletal system makes no mention of any distinguishing characteristics. 

Other Sources
Science Buzz: 
...there’s more variation within any racial group than there is between them...Our genes are constantly moving around the planet. We’ve had 100,000 years of genes moving and mixing and re-assorting in countless different ways. We’re always mating outside our groups. [As a result, there’s] very little variation among us.

Live Science:
there is only one human race. Our single race is independent of geographic origin, ethnicity, culture, color of skin or shape of eyes — we all share a single phenotype, the same or similar observable anatomical features and behavior - See more at:
...there is only one human race. Our single race is independent of geographic origin, ethnicity, culture, color of skin or shape of eyes — we all share a single phenotype, the same or similar observable anatomical features and behavior

Innocence Project and Unreliable Evidence:
...many forensic testing methods have been applied with little or no scientific validation and with inadequate assessments of their robustness or reliability. Furthermore, they lacked scientifically acceptable standards for quality assurance and quality control before their implementation in cases...And from NPR,
We’re talking about a technology which the FBI and state and local crime laboratories across the country have relied upon to associate an accused to a piece of crime scene evidence for the last 40 years by looking at hairs under a microscope that they found in a crime scene and comparing it to a defendant’s hair. It turns out that for 30 or 40 years, they were exaggerating the probative value of those similarities such that in, I would say a quarter, of all the DNA exoneration cases, the people were originally convicted in part based on crime lab people coming in and saying the hairs matched.

New Scientist:
With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, no forensic method has been rigorously shown able to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.

The Atlantic
How unthinking racial essentialism finds its way into scientific research.

There is no such thing as race; The troubling persistence of an unscientific idea.