Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Post Reading Questions Week Fourteen

Hello students,
I hope you were all able to stay dry today! For Monday, please bring whatever drafts you have of your final papers to class; we will be creating a rubric on Monday and then doing some revision on Wednesday.

Post-Reading Questions:

How do each of the approaches we studied challenge the PIC?

What specific issues (i.e racial discrimination, profits, war on drugs, militarization of the justice system, etc) do each of the proposed solutions to the PIC address?

What actions, if any, do you believe that individual people can take in order to challenge the PIC?

Read this article about how California district attorney Kamala Harris has decided to not participate in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)'s Secure Communities program . How is this related to what we were discussing today? What do you think of her decision to not participate?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Reading Assignments and Pre-Reading for Week 14

Hello Students,
We will be 'jigsawing' this week's readings- so you will only be responsible for reading the text that your name is listed under- but make sure you know it and understand it, you will have to explain it to your fellow students.

Critical Resistance and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex.
Abi
Bria
Isabella
Justina
Mariela
Patricia
Davis, A. Abolitionist Alternatives.
Alex
Eddie
Jacquelyn
Kriselle
Mauro
Phong
Gilmore, R.G. Pierce the Future for Hope: Mothers and Prisoners in the Post-Keynesian California Landscape.
Alyce
Bella
Jennifer
La'Shawnda
Miyoko
Sophana
Burk, C. Think. Re-Think: Accountable Communities.
Ashley
Hazel
Joseph
Lorenzo
Nelson

Pre-Reading Question:
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest issues with the criminal 'justice' system (think about what we talked about last week)- what would be some remedies to get rid of these issues?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Post-Reading Questions-Week Thirteen

Hello Students!
I hope you had a nice Wednesday off, here are the post-reading questions for this week.

In your own words, what is the Prison-Industrial Complex?

If the motivation for incarcerating people isn't to stop crime, what is it?

What are some of the ways that the incarceration system creates a "racial caste system'?

What is the "industrial" part of the PIC?

What part of the readings/our discussion on Monday resonated with you the most? Why?

Is the PIC related to colorblind racism? In what ways?

Any remaining questions or concerns before we move forward?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week 13

ATTN STUDENTS: DUE TO A FAMILY EMERGENCY THERE WILL BE NO CLASS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH. WE WILL STILL HAVE CLASS ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH AS USUAL, THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING.
A preview
This week, we will be examining the Prison-Industrial Complex (PIC). The PIC is " a set of bureaucratic, political and economic interests that encourage spending on imprisonment regardless of actual need" (Schlosser, 1998). In other words, it is a system that builds prison and incarcerates mass numbers of people for reasons that have very little to do with alleviating crime. For the purposes of Ethnic Studies, we examine the PIC because the vast majority of the people impacted by the PIC are people of color. Why is this so? Who benefits from this arrangement? What are the relationships between racism/xenophobia and the incarceration of people? The two readings for this week get us started on answering these questions.
"The New Jim Crow", by lawyer extraordinnaire Michelle Alexander, makes an argument that the current system of incarceration is a way of controlling the Black population, in a style very similar to Jim Crow.
"Remaking Big Government: Immigration and Crime Control in the United States" examines how the government is 'criminalizing immigration' in order to increase its income while developing negative ideologies about Latinos.

In your opinion, what are the connections between race and crime?

What functions do prisons serve in the United States?

What is the "Industrial" part of the Prison-Industrial Complex?

Is crime defined to impact some populations more than others? Who is believed to be more criminal?

Why do you think that people of color are over-represented in the prison population in the United States?

Are prisons used as a form of social control? Why or why not?

Can you think of some examples of ways that daily life is being 'criminalized'? What does that mean?


Final Paper Questions

Hello Students,
Below you will find the questions for the final exam. You will pick four of them and, for each write a three page response. The purpose of these responses is to prove to me your understanding of the question. These essays are unlike the blogs, you are not expected to give your opinion or respond, rather I want you to clearly answer the question, integrating class readings. Your final paper must be typed, double spaced, stapled, and cited (using any style, just be consistent) to receive credit.


  • Please compare and contrast the strike for Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University in 1968 with the current battle for/against Ethnic Studies in Arizona.
  • How was the 1968 strike a response to the larger social and political conditions of the time?
  • Please explain the following concepts: race, ethnicity and nationality. How are these social constructs and social realities at the same time?
  • How do the Abdulrahim and Strum readings complicate the definitions of race and ethnicity used by Cornell and Hartmann?
  • Please explain how the examples presented in the Strum and Abdulrahim texts illustrate the following concepts: race as a social construct, race/ethnicity changing over time, racial identification as linked to power and oppression.
  • How does the Census both reflect and create racial categories?
  • Please define Flores' three approaches to understanding the Latino community. Why does he argue it is important to approach it in this way?
  • Why is Latino/Hispanic considered and ethnicity and not a race? What are some of the consequences of this designation?
  • What is the relationship between white privilege and meritocracy? 
  • According to Lipsitz, what are some of the specific ways that White people gained advantages in housing, jobs and living conditions?
  • Why do McIntosh and Lipsitz argue that racial discrimination is an institutional problem, not an individual one?
  • What is Colorblind racism?
  • How are terms like diversity and multiculturalism used to 'gloss over' issues over inequality?
  • What is the relationship between Colorblind racism and diversity?
  • What is the relationship between Colorblind racism and white privilege?
  • According to Bell and Hartmann, what are some of the issues that Americans have when it comes to understanding what diversity is?
  • According to Lorde and Moraga, what are some of the issues that can arise when an intersectional analysis is not used?
  • What is an intersectional analysis, and how do we use it in Ethnic Studies?
  • How does an intersectional analysis help us understand the different ways that people experience domestic violence?
  • How do the objections to the 2012 VAWA re-authorizations relate to the 'mainstream' DV narrative we discussed in class? 
  • How does intersectionality help us understand the disproportionate number of students of color in Special Education classes?
  • Compare and contrast race as a social construct and disability as a social construct.
  • According to Reid and Knight, how is disability used to justify segregation?
  • What connections does Michael (from the Connor piece) make between his race, class and disability?
  • Address and explain the following question, "Do the disabilities we identify actually exist as disabilities, or are they simply a cluster of outcomes resulting from an overwhelming dose of social, economic, and educational disadvantages, and processed through the biased eyes and instruments of dominant culture?" (Fletcher and Navarette, 233)
  • How is the current production of mainstream hip-hop linked to racism during Jim Crow?
  • How is hip-hop simultaneously homophobic and homoerotic?
  • What are ways that race, masculinity and power influence the content of hip-hop?
  • Please explain the social, cultural and political factors that led to the lyrical and content shift in hip-hop. 
  • According to Clay, how do youth use hip-hop as a form of social activism?
  • How does Clay relate organizing around hip-hop to Colorblind Racism (post-civil rights era racism)?
  • How does Shani Jamila relate hip-hop to her growth as an activist and scholar?
  • What is the Prison-Industrial Complex and how does it relate to people of color?
  • What are the connections that Michelle Alexander makes between the Jim Crow Era and incarceration?
  • According to Bohrman and Murakawa, what is the connection between the 'shrinking of government' and the growth of the prison system?
  • What is the connection between immigration and incarceration?
  • How does racism and xenophobia function to increase the prison population?
  • What are some of the alternatives to incarceration?
  • What are the connections between the prison-industrial complex and institutional violence against communities of color?
  • Why does Angela Davis advocate for abolishing prisons?
  • How do some of the alternatives to prison address the problematic issues of the Prison Industrial Complex?
** I may add or change some of the questions about that PIC, as we have not yet covered that material in class. 11/21/2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Post-Reading Questions Week Twelve


Is Lupe Fiasco's 'Bitch Bad' an example of hip-hop that attempts to be more critically conscious? Why or why not?

Here the are links to the articles we reviewed in class:
Rap's Long History of 'Conscious' Condescension to Women
Why We Need More Songs Like Lupe Fiasco's Bitch Bad
Crunk Feminist Collective- Thoughts on Lupe Fiasco's Bitch Bad
Lupe Fiasco's Bitch Bad Starting an Important Discouse

Which one of the articles resonates the most with you? Why?

"..I don't think the role of feminism is to construct 'proper' femininity or to place limits on how women are able to define and present themselves. I think doing so is actually antithetical to the movement. Teaching women not be sensual and erotic beings, or not to show that we are, is diminishing and subverts  the locus of our own uniqueness as females...On the flip side, we shouldn't support each other to the point of stupidity. We have to demand accountability from each other no doubt. We need to be cognizant of the power in this music of how we are representing ourselves on a global scale and on the historical record" (Jamila, 563). 

What is the connection between the quote from Shani Jamila and the analysis of Fiasco's video. What would she say about his bitch/woman/lady hierarchy?

Do you believe that hip-hop, as a music genre, has more of a responsibility to be socially responsible than other genres? Why?

According to Clay, what are some of the specific reasons that youth feel that hip-hop can help them socially mobilize? Do you think that these are true for your generation? 




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Preparation for Wednesday's Class

Hello Students!

Before we meet on Wednesday, please watch the video for Lupe Fiasco's "Bitch Bad" below and review the lyrics. We will be using this video for a 'case study' during class.

Please click for the lyrics from Rap Genuis. com

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week Twelve

Can hip-hop be used to further social justice?

Is hip-hop conventionally seen as a tool for social justice or critique? Why or why not?

Why can hip-hop be a powerful tool for activism? Do you believe it is more useful for this than other genres of music? Why or why not?

Please find a youtube video of an artist that you believe is using hip-hop in a more conscious matter and post it on your blog. Explain your reasoning behind choosing this video.

What are some of the barriers to hip-hop artists creating and marketing critical hip-hop?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week Eleven Post-Reading Questions

What was the most interesting thing you learned from the video? Did it make you change how you thought about hip-hop?

The filmmaker, Byron Hurt, proposes the following arguments in the film. Which ones do you agree or disagree with? Why?
1. The hyper-masculinity and violence present in hip-hop is part of the larger American culture that values and promotes violence.
2. Hip-hop is both homophobic and homoerotic simultaneously.
3. Music corporations, which are run by wealthy white men are responsible for prioritizing the messages that hip-hop promotes. 
4. The genre of hip-hop is denigrating to women.
5. Hip-hop utilizes the stereotypes of black masculinity to sell records to primarily white audiences.

What examples from contemporary hip-hop can you find that either supports or refutes these arguments?

In what ways does race intersect with gender and class in the construction of black masculinity?

What are some of the similarities between how black men were represented during slavery and Jim Crow and their representations in music today?

Do you think that hip-hop is homoerotic? Why or why not?

What was the cause for the shift from hip-hop that engaged with political and social issues to 'gangsta rap' (which one could argue that does not engage with these things). What role did race play in that shift?

Do you think that hip-hop can be problematic? In what ways? 

Does hip-hop have a responsibility to be socially responsible? What about country music? Pop? 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week Eleven

Over the next two weeks we will doing a critical examination of hip-hop: how do issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and social justice engage with hip-hop and the music industry?

What do you think the purpose of hip-hop music is? Is it just to entertain? Does it have some kind of agenda?

What do you about the role that race plays in hip-hop? What race are the majority of hip-hop artists? Are the consumers of hip-hop racially diverse or racially homogenous?

If hip-hop is problematic, why is it so popular?

Are their artists or songs that don't employ the more problematic aspects of hip-hop? What are they? Why are they different? 

Watch Chris Rock talk about how tired he is of defending rap music. (Warning: explicit language).

Why does Rock feel that he has to defend Rap Music? What are some of the things that he thinks are bad about this genre? 

What are some of the positive aspects of hip-hop? What are some of its more problematic aspects? 

What is the role of women in hip-hop? Is hip-hop misogynistic? Why or why not? 

How does gender intersect with race in hip-hop?

Watch: Jay-Smooth discuss the tension between personal responsibility and societal change in hip-hop. 

What does Jay Smooth think needs to happen in order for hip hop to become healthy again? 

What flaws does he find in each side of the argument? 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Wage Discrimination Stats

As discussed in class, here are some 'highlights' (lowlights may be more appropriate here) from the Usual Weekly Earnings from Wage and Salary Workers, Fourth Quarter 2010, published by the United State's Bureau of Labor Statistics.


  • Women who worked full time had a median weekly earnings of $679, versus men whose full-time weekly earnings were $830-- 22.8% less than their male counterparts.
Broken Down by Race/Ethnicity and Gender (Median Weekly Salaries, 4th Quarter 2010)

White Men: $857
White Women: $695 (81% of what their white male counterparts make)

Black Men: $629 (73% of what white men make)
Black Women: $605 (70% of what white men make, 96% of what their black male counterparts make)

Asian Men: $947 ( 110% more than what white men make)
Asian Women: $719 (75% of what Asian men make, 83% of what white men make)

Latino Men: $567 (66% of what white men make) 
Latina Women: $510 (59% of what white men make, 89% of what their Latino male counterparts make). 

Here is a link to the report in its entirety- if you have some time, look it over, 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Lack of Comments :/

Howdy Class,
Technology strikes again! For whatever reason, I was unable to post comments on your blogs today but generally, I really enjoyed them and think you all are making some AWESOME connections between race, disability and education- nice work! All of you that posted on time, received credit for your blogs as usual.

Next week will be 'catch-up' week: from the cards I got in class, we will be spending some time reviewing and discussing intersectionality. I will spend the weekend brainstorming some fun ways to do that.

Thanks as usual for your hard work :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Race, Education and Disability Post-Reading Questions

Hi Students,
Thanks for you engagement during class today- I love it when we get a good conversation going!

What are some reasons that students may be 'misdiagnosed' with a learning disability? What factors play a role?

How do ideas about normalcy play into the diagnostic process for Learning Disabilities?

Almost all LD's are diagnosed by teachers. How might race, class and gender play into this process?

What, if any, are the similarities between race as a social construct and disability as a social construct? How are they different?

According to the authors for this, what are some of the problems when disabilities are viewed are "in-child"? What might this kind of framework hide?

What are the connections between racism, classism, sexism, ableism and 'the medical model'? In other words, does medicine (as an institution made of up of doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical research industries, ideologies about disease and health) uphold our racial, gender, and class hierarchies? In what ways?

Did anything from this week surprise you? What are you still having some trouble understanding? 

How does race, class, language background or other factors work together (think intersectionality here) to set-up how we define learning disability? 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Today is the last day to register to vote in CA!

Hello Students,
As promised in class, here is the link to register to vote online. It must be submitted by 5pm today.

Register to Vote online here!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week Eight


Take a guess at some of the connections between race, education and disability. In what ways could these things possibly be linked?

Please look up and define the following terms:
Learning Disabled (LD)
Mentally Retarded (MR)
Emotionally Disturbed (ED)
What are these categories and their relationship to special education?

Statistics show that students of color are over-represented in special education classes (Reid, Knight, 2006). Why do you think this is?

How can race, gender and class intersect with disability to impact how people experience their lives?

"Disability, race, and class can be viewed as constructs that serve the means of social organization, with each suggesting a preferred state of being (able-bodied, white, middle class) over 'others' (disabled, people of color, working class) (Connor, 158).
What do you think Connors means when he refers to these social constructs as a means of social organization? Do you agree?Why or why not?

Think about the type of testing used to diagnose a learning disability. How might someone's race, class or language background impact their ability to do well on these tests?

I realize that these texts might be a little difficult so to help aid your readings try answering the following questions for each reading (please bring your answers to class on Monday):
Disability Justifies Exclusion of Minority Students:

  1. What connection are the authors making between the over-representation of students of color in special education and their under-representation in college?
  2. What are some of the ways that white, middle class student in special education have an easier time accessing college than students of color in special education?
  3. How do belief systems (ideologies) about what is 'normal' impact who is enrolled in special education classes?
Narrative Knowing and Life at the Intersections of Learning Disability, Race and Class

  1. What are some of the categories of oppression that Michael experiences in his day-to-day life? Please provide examples for each type of oppression.
  2. Give your best effort at defining the 4 domains of oppression that the author uses (structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal) and provide examples for each domain.
Learning Disabilities or Difference: A Critical Look at Issues Associated with the Misidentification and Placement of Hispanic Students in Special Education Programs

  1. What are some of the problems in diagnosing learning disabilities? What role does language play?
  2. What role does having a low SES play in academic achievement?
  3. What is the connection between the presence of bilingual education and students testing below-standards for academic achievement. 



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Post-Reading Questions Week Seven

In your pre-reading responses, a lot of you made the important point that domestic violence cuts across all races, ethnicities, sexualities and cultures. In what ways does an intersectional analysis use these categories to understand the phenomenon of domestic violence?

We discussed a lot of examples of how an intersectional analysis of DV challenges the more traditional narrative of DV. Which examples surprised you the most? Why do you think we don't hear about these examples more often?

What were some of the biggest barriers to receiving help for Paola's clients? What factors complicated their access to dv services (such as legal help, shelter, using the police, etc.)?

Please discuss two things that you learned from Paola's presentation-- how do they link up to using an intersectional analysis?

How would you recommend to change DV services as to better serve some people who don't fall into the master narrative we discussed on Monday? How might you change some of the services? What would you add or take away?

Does using an intersectional analysis to understand DV help to end it? Why or why not?

If you, or anyone close to you is experiencing domestic violence, there are ways to get support and talk about ways to get to safety. The following are numbers you can call to get help or have questions answered. 
WOMAN Inc. (San Francisco): (415) 864-4722
The Riley Center (San Francisco): (415) 255-0165
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Notes from Class 10-15 on Domestic Violence and Intersectionality




Dynamics of Domestic Violence
Mainstream: 

  • Man is the abusive partner, woman in survivor.
  • Heterosexual couple
  • Abuse= physical violence
  • Abusive partners are mean people with anger management issues.
Crenshaw:


  • Race, class and gender impact the political organizing to stop domestic violence (anti-DV movement reflect the mainstream narrative of DV).
  • Violence is not the only issue, many women of color also need help getting housing, and jobs.
  • Abusive tactics can reflect situational position: abusive partners witholding visas and immigration documents from survivors, abusive partners threatening to 'out' their partners to friends and family that don't know about their sexuality, etc.
Kibria:

  • Domestic Violence seen as culturally acceptable; uses cultural ideologies to explain abusive behavior.
  • Idea of what constitutes DV is culturally defined, and may differ from mainstream definitions.
Serwer:

  • Survivor believes, or is told, that they must stay in marriage to gain citizenship.
  • LGBTQ survivors believe that there are no services for them, so they don't reach out for help.
  • Undocumented survivors fear that they may get deported or lose custody of their children if they seek services.
Access to Services:

Traditional:

  • Survivor can (and is expected to) use legal services, the police, (to get a restraining order, get a divorce), and get into and use shelter. 
  • All services are provided in English
  • Survivor has the financial means to find her own housing and job after she leaves shelter.
Crenshaw:

  • Race, class and gender determine the type of services that you get; "Bad Victim"/ "Good Victim" Dichotomy- the more you align to the 'traditional' trajectory, the easier it is to find services and have them work for you.
  • Language Barriers- if you can't prove that you are fluent in English, many services are not accessible to you.
Kibria:

  • The Vietnamese women in her study used informal networks to get childcare and jobs; no need to engage with social services.
  • Didn't want to leave their husbands because they are not financially stable to do so.
  • Didn't want to expose their children to undesirable American cultural traits.
Serwer:

  • Indigenous women cannot prosecute non-native men.
  • Reservations have very little money to provide DV services; in rural areas services can be very far away and are therefore difficult to access if you don't have money.
  • People don't know about the U-Visa, Republicans fear that people will commit fraud in order to get them.
  • LGBTQ populations fear that services are not available for them; don't try.
Ending DV Situations
Mainstream:

  • Leave the abusive partner
  • Utitlize the police and try to put your abusive partner in jail
  • Move somewhere else to leave your abusive partner.
Crenshaw:

  • It can be hard for women to leave their abusive partners because they are dependent on them for money or immigration status.
  • Political Organizing against DV reflects the situation of white, middle-class women.
Kibria:

  • Organized community shaming gets abusive partners to stop their behavior. 
  • Vietnamese immigrants are hesitant to utilize social services; seek to find solutions to problems within their own communities.
Serwer:

  • Publicize and utilize the U-Visa program.
  • Allow tribal governments to prosecute non-native offenders for DV and Sexual Assault.
  • Make non-discrimination against LGBTQ folks a mandatory part of VAWA to increase the services they can receive. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions for Week Seven

****Trigger Warning: I want this class to be space where people feel safe participating and learning. I understand that some of you may have experienced domestic violence in your own lives, or are close to people who have experienced such violence. It is important that you are not re-traumatized by doing this weeks lesson. If you need to excuse yourself from any of the readings or class- please feel free to do so without penalty*****


Here is the abridged version of the Kimberele Crenshaw Article- please read this instead of the longer piece in your reader. Please print out and bring this article to class on Monday. Note: the Kibria and Serwer readings are the same.

Please read the following resources to familiarize yourself with the concept of domestic violence:
What is Domestic Violence?
Common Myths and Responses about Domestic Violence

For this class, we will be using the following definition of Domestic Violence:
Domestic violence is a pattern of intentional behavior used by one person to maintain power and control over another using any or all of the following forms of abuse: physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or financial abuse.

Why might we be studying intersectionality and domestic violence? How might the experience of domestic violence be different based on race, class, language or nationality?

What is the conventional solution for people in domestic violence relationships? Is this possible for all survivors? Why or why not? What are some alternatives?

Please research the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)- what is it? what are its objectives? 

Why might it be important to look at the phenomenon of domestic violence using an intersectional analysis?





Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Post Reading Questions for Week Six

There is a change in the readings for next week: please read the abridged version of the Kimberlee Crenshaw "Mapping the Margins"

In your own words, what is intersectional theory? How is it different than other approaches to understanding racial, gender or class oppression?

What is Audre Lorde saying in the following quote?
 "It is not our differences which separate women, but our reluctance to recognize those differences and to deal effectively with the distortions which have resulted from the ignoring and maintaining of those differences" (58)
       
What steps need to be taken, according to Lorde, in order for all women to achieve social justice and equality?

"In this country, lesbianism is a poverty-as is being brown, as is being a woman, as is being just plain poor. The danger lies in ranking the oppressions. The danger lies in failing to acknowledge the specificity of the oppression"- Moraga, (24). 
What is your response to Moraga's statement? Do you think she is right? Are all of these different oppressions 'poverty'? Why or why not?

Review some of the following critiques of the "Occupy Movement" of last year. What are some of the critiques? How do they incorporate an intersectional analysis? What is the agenda of the Occupy Movement? What populations does that agenda reflect? 

Daily Kos: Occupy the Hood
Ms. Magazine: We Are the 99%: Creating a Feminist Space Within Occupy Wall Street
The Pitfalls of Privilege: OWS, Social Justice, and Intersectionality

A lot of the discussion about intersectionality centers around women of color, however it is not limited to that. Can you think of ways that an intersectional analysis can help us understand the lives of men? 

We are going to be spending the next two weeks discussing specific examples of intersectionality, so before moving forward what questions do you still have about intersectionality? Any reservations or objections?


Power Point on Intersectionality and Sojourner Truth Video

Hello Students,
Here is the presentation on intersectionality. Feel free to review to enhance or supplement your understanding.


Intersectional theory from estrasser8313

Alice Walker reading Sojourner Truth's speech: "And Ain't I a Woman?"

video

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions: Week Six

As I stated in class, there is a change in the readings for next week: The Lionel Cantu reading is not in your reader; please read The Combahee River Collective Statement (click link to get PDF). 

In his blog posting, John Scalzi argues that straight white men play the game of life on the lowest difficulty setting. What about straight white women? Queer white men? Straight black men? When you change one of the characteristics? How do their structural positions change?

Please google and do short biographies about the authors for this week:
Audre Lorde

Cherrie Moraga



Combahee River Women's Collective











Thinking about political organizing, do white women have the same needs as black women? Queer Asian men and straight Asian men? Why or why not?

Are people only granted advantages or disadvantages because of their race? What if someone has racial privilege but not ability privilege? 

From the titles of these readings, please come up with two questions you have about this texts:
"Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference"
"La G├╝era"
"The Combahee River Collective Statement"


Post-Reading Questions: Week Five

As I stated in class, there is a change in the readings for next week: The Lionel Cantu reading is not in your reader; please read The Combahee River Collective Statement (click link to get PDF). 

Why does Eduardo Bonilla-Silva refer to CBR as 'racism lite' ?(Bonilla-Silva, 3)



Is this video racist? Why or why not? What are the points she is trying to prove in this film?

Who stands to gain by using Colorblind racism, why?

Brainstorm some of the common rebuttals that explanations of CBR might receive? How would you counter those? 

Here is a link to some of scenarios we discussed in class- to you, which ones are "obviously" indicative of CBR? Which ones do you feel somewhat ambiguous about? Why?

Bell and Hartmann argue: "Racial inequalities, not to mention racism itself, are big structural elephants. This creates a real, albeit seemingly comfortable, tension in the diversity discourse: people have the ability to explicitly talk about race without ever acknowledging the unequal realities and experience of racial differences in American society- a phenomenon Andersen (1999) calls 'diversity without oppression'" (Bell and Hartmann, 905).
What major aspect of American race relations is 'left out' when people talk about diversity? Is this a problem?

Why do we study CBR in Ethnic Studies? Does it matter in our pursuit of social justice?

Do you think that CBR is a useful tool in understanding race in the United States today? Why? 

How do you feel about all of this? Do you find it reassuring? Challenging? Ridiculous?



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week Five


"There is a strange kind of enigma associated with the problem of racism. No one, or almost no one, wishes to see themselves as racist; still racism persists, real and tenacious"--Albert Memmi (quoted in Bonilla-Silva, 1)

Why do you think that racism continues to exist despite the fact that nobody, or very few people, identify as racist? 

Please watch the following video about whether the United States is 'post-racial' after Obama's election:


Why do the commentators think that the election of Obama means that race doesn't matter in the United States anymore? Why does Dr. Apollon argue that the election of Obama doesn't mean that 'racism is dead'?

If you were speaking to one of your friends about our class discussion about white privilege from last week and they said 'Oh, I don't see color, I just see people individually' how would you respond?

What would be your definition of 'diversity'? How does your definition relate to structural privilege? Or social justice?

Consider the following example: At a PTA meeting, parents agree that they want to have a 'culture day' where students all bring food from their respective culture to share with the class. The parents think that this a great way to get students to be more tolerant of other cultures. However, in the same meeting the parents get into a heated argument about whether students who are undocumented (illegal) should get to use the 'free lunch' program that is provided to low-income students. 

Is there a contradiction present here? What do the parents think is the best way to teach children about tolerance? What might this scenario suggest about how we see social justice in this country? 

"...We see that respondents typically define diversity in broad and inclusive terms, but when asked to describe their personal experience with difference, their responses are almost exclusively tied to race". (Bell and Hartmann, 119)

What do you think Bell and Hartmann mean when they say people describe diversity in 'broad and inclusive terms?'. When people say that that something is 'diverse' what are they  usually describing? Does the term 'diverse' become a stand-in for 'racially non-white'?

Post-Reading Questions for Week 4



The Blog is set-up a little differently this week.
Please answer one question from each 'section' of questions.
SECTION 1: Answer one of the following questions.
A Political Cartoon that represents some of the issues we were talking about in class today!
Please respond to the above cartoon: Why are the statements that the characters in the cartoon making 'lies'? What are their connections to white privilege?

Please write your own definition of 'structural privilege'. Try using 'layman's' (or common language). How would you explain it to your friends or family?

What were some examples of privilege and disadvantage that stood out to you during the exercise? Did you find them interesting, troubling, ridiculous? Why?
SECTION 2: Answer one question from the following questions:

McIntosh argues that "...obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage it kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware of the freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power, and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already" (298).
Do you agree or disagree- Why or why not?

What structural privileges do you possess? What disadvantages? 

How does the idea of structural privilege (based on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or other characteristics) challenge the notion of a meritocracy?

Why is knowing about structural privilege important to achieving social justice?
SECTION 3: Please answer one of the below questions:

Here is Jon Scalzi's blog post about how straight white males play the 'game of life' on the lowest difficulty setting (Again, it is super short and worth reading). What makes this analogy useful for understanding structural privilege? How is it similar or different to the examples listed in the McIntosh piece?

 Please read "Black Girl Dangerous' blog post about 'reverse-racism' (it's short). Is this list a more accurate representation of 'reverse racism?' Why or why not? What makes the things on this list different than the claim that affirmative action is 'reverse racism'?



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions for Week 4


What is your definition of privilege? What are some examples of privileges that different people in society can possess?


This week we will be introducing a lot of terms that may be new Give your best guess of what these terms mean and why we talk about them in Ethnic Studies:

  • White privilege
  • Structural inequality
  • Advantage/Disadvantage


How would you define racism? Can racism be linked to your definition of privilege?

Can people of color be racist? Why or why not?

It is generally acknowledged that people who are White have some advantages in U.S. society. How did this happen? 


"Racism changes over time, taking on different forms and serving different social purposes in different eras" (Lipsitz, 88)

What do you think Lipsitz means by this quote? What did racism look like in Colonial America? At the turn of the 20th Century? Now?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Post-Reading Questions for Week Three








"I think we should remove the formal distinction between race and ethnicity from the federal classification system, but we must also remain alert to, and seek to change, the complex ways in which ethnic privilege has long been secured by defining ethnicity against race" (Hattam, 81). 

Please explain Hattam's arguments in your own words and then explain why you agree or disagree.

Examine the Census handout from class today. For three of the Census' listed (1790, 1850, 1930, 1950, 1990,2000), explain what the racial make-up of the country at that time was and how it impacted the categories on the Census. In other words, what were the social and historical circumstances that led to the categories in those years?

If one of your  Hispanic/Latino friends (or family members, if that applies) asked you how to fill out questions 8 and 9 on the Census what would you tell them?


Please define Flores' three approaches to understanding the Latino community: demographic, analytic and imaginary. Why is it important that we look at the community in these three ways?

"The imaginary articulates more than a reflexive response to negative conditions and unfavorably weighted relations which, though oppositional, is as a response still ultimately mimetic and confined to extrinsically set terms. It is important to recognize that the Latino imaginary, like that of other oppressed groups, harbors the elements of an alternative ethos,  an ensemble of cultural values and practices created in its own right and to its own ends" (Flores, 71). 

Please paraphrase the above quote from Flores in your own words. What is he saying about the relation of the Hispanic/Latino community to larger society? In other words, did the Latino community develop only in response to White racism?

How does the Census both reflect and create racial categories in the United States?

I have also attached the slideshow on the difference between race, ethnicity and nationality below: