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Racism 101 based on “Racism and White Privilege Curriculum Design” by Lee Anne Bell, Barbara J. Love, Rosemarie A. Roberts in Teaching for Diversity and.

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Presentation on theme: "Racism 101 based on “Racism and White Privilege Curriculum Design” by Lee Anne Bell, Barbara J. Love, Rosemarie A. Roberts in Teaching for Diversity and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Racism 101 based on “Racism and White Privilege Curriculum Design” by Lee Anne Bell, Barbara J. Love, Rosemarie A. Roberts in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin

2 Race ? Race is a fiction that’s real. Race is a social construction rather than a biological fact. Physical anthropology research shows there is just as much diversity within ‘racial groups’ as there is between ‘racial groups’ But racial difference continues to play a huge role in social life -- in who has power (or access to resources) Racial categories have been created by white Europeans and North Americans and used to justify colonialism, slavery, genocide, murder, and theft of cultures. Racial categories artificially emphasize relatively small eternal physical differences among people and open up space for the creation of false notions of mental, emotional, and intellectual differences as well.

3 Race & Ethnicity Race : A social construct that artificially divides people based on characteristics such as physical appearance (especially skin color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation and history, and the social/economic/political needs of the society doing the defining of race at any given time. Ethnicity: A subset of Racial categories. A social construct that divides people into even smaller groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic intrests, and ancestral geographic base. Ex. Cape Verdean, Haitian, African American (Black) Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese (Asian) French, Polish, Irish (White)

4 How would you define “racism”?

5 Racism 101 Power = access to resources and participation in society Prejudice = beliefs, attitudes, and actions based on stereotypes Racism = Prejudice + Power or Racism = racial prejudice plus institutional and systemic power to dominate, exclude, discriminate against or abuse targeted groups of people based on race.

6 Oppression While anyone can hold racial prejudice and any racial prejudice can result in mistreatment, racism results in a special type of mistreatment: oppression. Oppression results when (1) racism is a part of the dominant culture's national consciousness; (2) it is reinforced through its social institutions; and (3) there is an imbalance of social and economic power in society.

7 Web of Racism Labor Market Education Housing Media Unequal opportunities and outcomes Criminal Justice

8 Who benefits from racism? Who suffers because of it?

9 Agent / dominant group (in U.S. and Europe, as well as other places like sites of colonization) people of European descent Target / oppressed group people of color = non-white people Latino, Asian, Black, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous people

10 Active vs. Passive Racism Active Racism: -openly and explicitly state desire to maintain system of racism -advocate continued subjugation of targeted racial groups, and maintenance of ‘rights’ of members of the agent group -belief in inferiority of targeted racial group, superiority of agent group Passive racism: beliefs, attitudes, and actions which contribute to the maintenance of a system of racism, without openly advocating violence or oppression -conscious or unconscious -ex. laughing at racist jokes, remaining silent when one sees racist actions

11 History of Words used for African-Americans N-word colored Negro Black African-American (or other hyphenated identities, Carribean-American, etc.)

12 Finding respectful language People of color (not “colored people”) = all non-white people, belonging targeted or oppressed groups White people/ people of European descent Black/African-American; Asian-American; Latino (or Hispanic) Or other words used by those groups and peoples themselves to define their identity “Chicano is an identity that comes out of our people's political and militant actions that were born in the 1960's. We referred to ourselves as Chicano as a form of defiance, as a way of rejecting Mexican- American, as a way of embracing our core Nican Tlaca (Indigenous) identity.” Mixed race, biracial, multi-racial individuals or persons

13 Cycle of Socialization When were you first aware of yourself as a member of a particular racial group? When were you first aware of people from other races? Which races? When did you first witness or experience someone being treated differently because of his/her racial group? When was a time that you were proud of your racial identity? When was a time you realized that you would be treated differently because of your race? When have you had friends from different racial groups? Any other significant event in your life related to racism?

14 Individual vs. Institutional Racism Institutional/Structural/Systemic racism is that which, covertly or overtly, resides in the policies, procedures, operations and culture of public or private institutions - reinforcing individual prejudices and being reinforced by them in turn. Whereas individual racism is the expression of personal prejudice, institutional racism is the expression of a whole organisation's racist practice and culture.

15 Ethnocentrism : the belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group’s beliefs, values, and practices are the standard by which all things are measured or valued Institutions often reflect the cultural assumptions of the dominant group, so that the practices of that group are seen as the norm to which other cultural practices should conform (Anderson and Taylor, 2006).

16 Examples of Institutional Racism in U.S. History

17 Wage Gape in U.S. Society: Median annual earnings of non-male or non- white people as a percentage of the median annual earnings of white men in 2006 White men = 100% White women = 73.5% Black men = 72.1% Black women = 63.6% Latino men = 57.5% Latino women = 51.7% Source: U.S. Current Population Survey and the National Committee on Pay Equity.

18 In 1935, the U.S. Congress passed the Social Security Act, guaranteeing an income for millions of workers after their retirements, however, the Act specifically excluded domestic and agricultural workers — many of whom were Mexican-American, African-American, and Asian-American. These workers, therefore, were not guaranteed an income after retirement, thus had less opportunity to save, accumulate, and pass wealth to their future generations. Because schools are funded mostly with the property taxes of the surrounding areas, a school in a poor black community cannot buy nice computers, textbooks, and other resources. Exclusion from unions, social organizations, and clubs based on race. Less access to loans, mortgages, credit, and government benefits, leading to less possibility to start one’s own business, own one’s own home, send one’s children to college. 1 in 3 black men in America will spend some time in prison in his lifetime. Mandatory sentence for possessing 5 grams of grack = 5 years in prison. For possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine = 5 years in prison. In each of these situations, people of color experience disadvantatages that flow from one generation to another in reference to income and wealth, decision making, health status, knowledge and skill development, quality of life, and sense of entitlement to resources like higher education, decent work, etc.

19 Web of Racism Think up as many institutions as there are for members of the class, such as the Media, Financial institutions, etc…

20 Designing a non-racist Institution What is the underlying philosophy of this institution towards race? How does this institution acknowledge race, if it does at all? What racial groups are represented in this institution, and what roles do they fill? What are some of the norms and values of this institution?

21 Whiteness

22 History of Whiteness Nothing points out the constructedness of race better than seeing how racial classifications have shifted through history. According to Howard Zinn, this was done in whatever way best served the dominant powers, mainly white Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) which often used race to put wedges between groups, especially of lower classes, who might otherwise join together in fighting for better living conditions. European immigrants to the U.S. were not always seen as ‘white,’ In fact, before the 20th century, they were mostly seen along national lines (as Swedes, Germans, etc.) and also class and religious lines (Italians and Irish were poor and Catholic and hence were at the bottom of the social hierarchy)

23 How the Irish became White Irish immigrants poured into America in the late 1800 ’ s due to the potato famine in Ireland. Poor Irish and blacks in the North lived in close contact, in the same class competing for the same jobs. The Irish were often referred to as "Negroes turned inside out and Negroes as smoked Irish." Back in Ireland, the Irish suffered great oppression and abuse under the English Penal Laws. Despite their revolutionary roots as an oppressed group fighting for freedom and rights, Irish Catholics came to this country as an oppressed race yet quickly learned that to succeed they had to in turn oppress their closest social class competitors, free Northern blacks. Some Irish-Americans also supported slavery. Some still in Ireland protested, such as great Catholic emancipator Daniel O'Connell : "Over the broad Atlantic I pour forth my voice, saying, come out of such a land, you Irishmen; or, if you remain, and dare countenance the system of slavery that is supported there, we will recognize you as Irishmen no longer."

24 A Catholic priest in Philadelphia said to the Irish people in that city, 'You are all poor, and chiefly laborers, the blacks are poor laborers; many of the native whites are laborers; now, if you wish to succeed, you must do everything that they do, no matter how degrading, and do it for less than they can afford to do it for.' Thus, the Irish came to dominate menial jobs and kept blacks out of their unions. Becoming white meant losing their ‘ greenness, ’ i.e., their Irish cultural heritage and the legacy of oppression and resistance back home Imagine if the Irish had remained green after their arrival and formed an alliance with their fellow oppressed co-workers, the free blacks of the North. Imagine if they had chosen to include their black brothers and sisters in the union movement to wage a class battle against the dominant white culture which ruthlessly pitted them against one another. ” -from sermon by Art McDonald, based on book “ How the Irish Became White ”

25 “If there were no black people here in this country, it would have been Balkanized. The immigrants would have torn each other's throats out, as they have done everywhere else. But in becoming an American, from Europe, what one has in common with that other immigrant is contempt for me -- it's nothing else but color. Wherever they were from, they would stand together. They could all say, ''I am not that.'' So in that sense, becoming an American is based on an attitude: an exclusion of me. It wasn't negative to them -- it was unifying. When they got off the boat, the second word they learned was ''nigger.'' Ask them - - I grew up with them. I remember in the fifth grade a smart little boy who had just arrived and didn't speak any English. He sat next to me. I read well, and I taught him to read just by doing it. I remember the moment he found out that I was black -- a nigger. It took him six months; he was told. And that's the moment when he belonged, that was his entrance. Every immigrant knew he would not come as the very bottom. He had to come above at least one group -- and that was us.” -Interview with Nobel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison

26 Dealing with Whiteness White privilege: the concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the power to shape the norms and values of a society which whites receive, unconsciously or consciously, by virtue of their skin color in a racist society. Ex.s include : the ability to be unaware of race, the ability to have a job hire or promotion attributed to their skills and not affirmative action Collusion: thinking and acting in ways that support the system of racism, ex. telling racist jokes, remaining silent when observing a racist incident or remark.

27 “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” - Peggy McIntosh McIntosh makes a comparison in the opening paragraphs between sexism and race, and notices a similarity in the attitudes of men and white people. What are they (here, men and white people) willing to admit or accept, but what is harder for them to admit/accept? Do you agree? What does McIntosh say in the first page about meritocracy and the value of individualism? What is her critique of this idea? How does McIntosh define “privilege”? Are privileges “bad”? How can white privileges be used to break down racism?

28 Cost/Benefit How do white people benefit from racism? What is the cost of racism for white people?

29 Internalized Racism Horizontal racism: the result of people of targeted racial groups believing, acting on, or enforcing the dominant (white) system of racial discrimination and oppression. Horizontal racism can occur between members of the same racial group. Ex. An Asian person telling another Asian wearing a Sari to “dress American”; a Latino telling another Latino person to stop speaking Spanish Internalized racism: the result of people of targeted racial groups believing, acting on, or enforcing the dominant system of beliefs about themselves and members of their own racial group. Ex. Blacks using creams to lighten their skin, Asians believing that racism is the result of People of Color not being able to raise themselves up by their “own bootstraps”, Native Americans feeling that they are not as intelligent as whites.

30 Questions for People of Color Caucus What thoughts do I have about meeting in caucus groups? How have I been affected by internalized racism and horizontal racism? How do I collude with the system of racism? How can I empower myself and others to deal with racism in our lives, and to take action to end racism? What are the costs and benefits of actively confronting facism, and doing anti-racism work?

31 Questions for White Caucus Group: What thoughts or feelings do I have about meeting in caucus groups? How have I benefited from white privilege? How can I move from feelings of guilt and shame about racism to taking responsibility for my role as an agent of racism? What are the costs and benefits of becoming an ally to people of color, and doing anti- racist work?

32 What next? Actively Participating -> Denying/Ignoring -----> Recognizing, No action > Recognizing, action > Educating Self > Educating Others > Supporting/Encouraging >Initiating/Preventing

33 Ally : a white person who actively works to eliminate racism, motivated by self-interest in ending racism, a sense of moral obligation, and a commitment to foster social justice, rather than a patronizing desire to “help those poor people of color.” A white ally might engage in anti-racism work with other whites or people of color. When was a time that someone was a good ally to you? What made him/her a good ally? Empowered Person of Color : an empowered person of color has an understanding of racism and its impact on one’s life without responding to events and circumstances as a victim. Rather, being empowered means having the capacity to engage individuals and institutions with the expectation of being treated well. When was a time you felt empowered?

34 What are the costs and benefits of interrupting racism?

35 Spheres of Influence Self, Friends, Work, School, Organizations, Religious group, Roommates/Housemates Action Plan

36 Race is a fiction that’s real. If we go too far in emphasizing race as fiction, we may become ‘color-blind’. “Colorblind” can be good: for example, when judging the merits of a novel written by a Japanese author, not writing “As beautiful as a Zen garden” or some other cliché, not referring to the author as a “Japanese author” and then referring o white authors as simply “an author” “Colorblind” can also be dangerous: If you are the mayor and you are trying to give a speech in response to a case of police brutality by a white policeman against a black teenager. It might be dangerous to overlook the racial dynamics, since police brutality and racial profiling have a long and painful history in black and people of color communities.

37 Race is a fiction that’s real. But if you go too far into emphasizing the “real” side of race, you could find yourself essentializing racial differences as if they were eternal, natural, or inherent. essentialist vs. non-essentialist


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