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.
Davis, A. Abolitionist Alternatives.
Gilmore, R.G. Pierce the Future for Hope: Mothers and Prisoners in the Post-Keynesian California Landscape.
Burk, C. Think. Re-Think: Accountable Communities.

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

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?