Presentation on theme: "Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin Facilitated by Dr. Tonette Rocco."— Presentation transcript:
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin Facilitated by Dr. Tonette Rocco
The story A white man driven by a desire to facilitate social justice lives as a black man for less than a month Is rescued once And goes between living as black and white for about two weeks Begins to truly understand the pervasive nature of racism in this country
Questions How many in this room identify as African American? How many in this room identify as white? Is this story exaggerated or realistic?
Unpacking the invisible Knapsack (McIntosh, 1990) 1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. 2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me. 3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live. 4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me. 5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed. 6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented. 7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. 8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race. (there is more in the article) Available
Some more questions How did Griffin use his white privilege during his investigation? What would a white man find if he became black in 2006? Would your life be different if you were an African American in 2006? What rights would be taken away from you legally if you were gay or lesbian in 2006?
A brief history of racism “Race is a relatively new concept. Ancient civilizations, though they encountered and included people from many different parts of the world, did not make social distinctions based on physical appearance. They distinguished people according to customs and religion; not race.” (Morro, nd)
The building of a scientific theory of race Lord Bryce (1915) traced racism back to the desire of the English to dominate the Irish from at least the 12 century Henry II described the Irish: Wherefore this is a race of savages: I say again a race of utter savages. For not merely are they uncouth of garb, but they also let their hair and beards grow to outrageous length, something like the newfangled fashion which has lately come in with us. In short, all their ways are brutish and unseemly (Barnard's 1910 translation of a twelfth-century text by Giraldus Cambrensis, quoted in Curtis p. 124).
Theory of race (cont’d) The Spanish Inquisition was an extreme form of religious persecution searching for Jews and Moores by physical appearance and genealogy beginning the notion of the hereditary nature of social status In the 1500s when the English encountered Natives they associated them with the savage Irish which is the beginning of the English thinking themselves superior to other cultures specifically those they colonized In the 1600s when the English established the slave trade they quickly reduced the Africans to subhuman, inferior, and created a permanent underclass to support the labor intensive system of capitalism in existence
Scientific theory of race (cont’d) Ashley Montague author of Man’s most dangerous myth: the fallacy of race (1942/1997) challenged the notion that race was a determinant of behavior He believed that the idea of racism came to be in the late 18th century with the Linnaeus classification system.
Linnaeus classification “Modern, scientific racial classification began with Carolus Linnaeus in 1735, who classified humans into four races, based mostly on continental separation and, later, on skin color. His four groups were: Americanus: reddish, choleric, and erect; hair black, straight, thick; wide nostrils, scanty beard; obstinate, merry, free; paints himself with fine red lines; regulated by customs. Asiaticus: sallow, melancholy, stiff; hair black; dark eyes; severe, haughty, avaricious; covered with loose garments; ruled by opinions. Africanus: black, phlegmatic, relaxed; hair black, frizzled; skin silky; nose flat; lips tumid; women without shame, they lactate profusely; crafty, indolent, negligent; anoints himself with grease; governed by caprice. Europeaeus: white, sanguine, muscular; hair long, flowing; eyes blue; gentle, acute, inventive; covers himself with close vestments; governed by laws (Smedley, 1993, p. 164).”
Science backed the theory of race Several other scientists introduced racial classifications Buffon, (1745) is credited with introducing the word race and had six divisions; later in the 1700s Blumembach had five divisions
Race This ill conceived notion of race as science has supported eugenics movements, standardized testing, etc. This science is used to rationalize, justify and support social, political, and economic degradation of marginalized groups Yet we know the concept of race is not based in biology but was socially constructed
Racism “Racism is conduct based on the belief that physical and behavioral differences characterizing individual members of different groups or populations are determined by genetic, that is, innate factors, and that these differences enable one to rank each individual and group in the scale of humanity according to the attributed predefined values of those differences” (Montague 1942/1997, p. 47)
Does racism still exist?
What does it mean that this breakdown is important? FIU, a public Carnegie extensive institution, is the top producer of Hispanic graduates in the US and the third largest producer of minority graduates (52% Hispanic, 12% African-American, and 4% Asian) (Landorf, Rocco, & Nevin, 2006).
Oppression is …Systematic institutional processes which prevent some people from learning and using satisfying and expansive skills in socially recognized settings, or institutionalized social processes which inhibit people’s ability to play and communicate with others or to express their feelings and perspectives on social life where others can listen (Young, 1990, p. 38).
Five faces of oppression are: marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, systematic violence, and exploitation against the social group (Young, 1990).
Marginalization is the process of excluding people from centers of power and influence such as the system of labor (Young, 1990). Powerlessness is evident in workplaces and urban education centers where employees and students have little or no say in policy decisions that affect them directly.
Cultural imperialism involves two primary dynamics. The first dynamic is the dominant groups’ ability to “render the particular perspective of one’s own group invisible” (p ) making the dominant groups’ power implicit and assumed. At the same time, the second dynamic of cultural imperialism stereotypes the group and labels it the Other (Goffman, 1963).
exploitation occurs through paying the oppressed group less for the same work, or reducing the members to stereotypes such as savage sexual predators
“Violence is systemic because it is directed at members of a group simply because they are members of that group” (Young, 1990, p. 62). The layers of systemic violence include acts of violence, the threat of violence, and the lack of punishment for the violence.
Can you provide examples from the book for each face of oppression? From 2006? marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, systematic violence, and exploitation
The ultimate act of violence On June 7, 1998 James Byrd died What do you know about this?
An example of systematic violence Lynching is violence, usually murder, conceived by its perpetrators as extra- legal execution, or used as a terrorist method of enforcing social domination. Victims of lynching have generally been members of groups marginalized by society. (Source: Wikipedia)murderexecutionterrorist
What did you learn about race from Griffin’s story that you didn’t know?