Saturday, December 12, 2015

Discussion questions from Seeing White: An Introduction to White Privilege and Race by Jean Halley, Amy Eshleman, Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya

1)   Did reading chapter 1 arouse any emotions for your? Common emotions during critical explorations of race include anger, frustration, guilt, discomfort, and confusion. If you had a strong emotional response to a certain aspect of the chapter, identify the part of the chapter, describe the emotion that was aroused, and evaluate this experience. If you did not have any emotional responses to any material in the chapter, explore that.

Reading chapter 1 aroused emotions of validation. A quote from Ewen and Ewen from Typecasting emphasized the power of the nobility of the church at a time in our history when the Catholic Church reigned supreme. They also go on to say “The monopoly over the Word, over literacy, and over the ability to interpret what was read, was a fundamental aspect of rule.” This resounded with me because it illustrated the importance of education and how the powerful elite subjugated their followers by making them ignorant. Without formal education for all people, the elite used the word to control and exploit those who were never taught how to read. This notion of education being only for the privilege harks back to the days of slavery, where slaves had to run and hide just so they could learn to read the Bible, let alone a book. Again, this quote aroused the emotion of validation and made me smile because I believed it to be a great way to start a discussion about race.
2)   Describe several issues considered to be ‘truths’ in feudal times and in the 1970s that are now understood to be false. Explore possible ‘truths’ today that you predict will be demonstrated to be false in the future.

During “feudal” times, blacks were considered lazy and therefore needed to be whipped in order to work, they were also seen to be very athletic, referring to black men as bucks. Today, Barak Obama shatters these stereotypes and proves that black leaders as not only smart and astute, but also disciplined and effective. Today many people think that the recipients of welfare and affirmative action are predominately people of color, however this will false truth will be corrected in the future.

 3)   What are social and economic power? Who held power in feudal Europe, and how did they hold on to that power? Who holds power in the United States today, and how do those in power hold on to that power? What is meant by the terms norm and normative? What has been a common relationship between whiteness and these terms? How might this relate to power?

Social power is the ability to be free in society. It is also mobility; the ability to go where you want when you want without being harassed by police or public officials. Social power is also access, whether it be good schools or social groups like the Boy Scouts. Economic power relates to wealth. Certain groups, organizations, corporations can do what they want (hire undocumented citizens) without legal repercussion because they are too big to fail. Land developers can rebuild a community and rent at a higher price because white people can afford it, whereas people of color, for the most part, do not fit into that economic bracket. Economic power is the ability to control people with the use of money. Today the NRA holds a great amount of power, and the way they hold on to that power is by lobbying to politicians. For contracts and gun laws, groups like the NRA will donate millions of dollars to politicians so they cannot only get paid for signing legislation but also use the money to fund upcoming campaigns. The norm is the status quo, such as a criminal profile of the young black male ages 18-32 wearing a dark hoodie. Normative refers to behavior, such as arrest or (self-defense). Whiteness is seen as a source of power and innocence with relation to these terms.

4)   What does it mean to claim that whiteness tends to be invisible to whites? When have you been aware of whiteness? What might that reveal about whiteness?

It means that whiteness isn’t an aspect of their consciousness. Whiteness is not something that is felt like hunger, sadness, cold weather, or joy, but rather something that is external and brought up, as a concept, in the presence of “others” (people of color). Whiteness is like the status quo, where everyone in the club know what the deal is without evening having to say anything about it. George Bush, in an introduction at a special occasion, welcomed the guests by saying “Hello to the haves and the have mores”. Whiteness has become synonymous with America as apple pie, both the movie and the dessert.  I am aware of whiteness every time I turn on the tv, read a magazine, or go out in public. Whiteness therefore is a social construct that some people have to deal with on a day-to-day basis while others never have to bother unless they wander out of their comfort zone and actually interact with a person of color.

5)   Describe cultural materialism. How does it relate to race, particularly whiteness? Evaluate Tim Wise’s argument (quoted within the chapter) that inequality and privilege are essential aspects of whiteness

Cultural materialism is the means by which people are put into categories. Social groups come up with customs, traditions, communities, neighborhoods, and lifestyles that are particular to their group. These social groups are exactly that, social groups, there is no proven biological explanation between the difference between someone who is black and someone who is Irish. However because of cultural materialism we know why South Boston is home to the Irish and Mattapan is home to black people. A custom for South Boston might be the St. Patrick’s Day parade, while in Mattapan the big celebration is the West Indian Carnival. These cultural differences have material modes of distinction. And they play out in daily interactions between the different groups. Historically white people have discriminated against people of color and therefore this becomes part of the current narrative. Years and years of social, economic, and political control has positioned white people in a place of dominance and has lead to their privilege and access to societal hegemony.  

6)   What are ingroups and outgroups? What is the relationship of these terms to inclusion and exclusion? Who is part of the white ingroup? Who is excluded from this group?

In-groups are exclusive and beneficial while out-groups are inclusive and detrimental. Some examples of in-groups would include, the brotherhood of Free Masons or the Ku Klux Klan, while an out-group would be African American males ages 18-34 living in any urban center across the United States. 

7)   Have you ever had an experience when you were keenly aware of yourself as privileged? If so, how did this awareness affect you? How did the privilege affect how others treated you? If you have never been aware of privilege, reflect on why that might be.

As far as race is concerned, no, as an African American male I have not felt especially privileged, even with respect to “affirmative action” where the costs many times outweighed the benefits. However because of the value my parents have placed on education I have felt privileged in terms of having access to a plethora of educational materials at a very young age.

 8)   Racism is described in this chapter as ranging from unintentional individual behavior by whites to policies at an institutional level. It is also argued that racism is “prejudice plus power,” such that only whites can be racist. How would you have defined racism before reading this chapter? What are your reactions to the definition of racism in this chapter.

My thoughts on racism before reading this chapter matched those thoughts represented in the book. With regard to both institutional racism and interpersonal racism, Patricia Hill Collin’s book Another Kind of Public Education served as a great resource for me in outlining the many forms in which racism takes on and how these forms interact with one another.

9)   What do you think has been the effect of having a president of the United States who is African American? Has this changed understanding of race or racism in the United States? If so, how? If not, why not?

Having an African American president has expanded the realms of possibility for people of color in such a way that it has empowered a whole generation of hopeful, optimistic, and confident American citizens. Our understandings on race unfortunately haven’t caught up with this extraordinary institutional change in our political history however there is hope, and a foundation is being created to help forge into a new civil rights movement. A movement that will include strong anti-racist agendas and institutional changes with recognition of a long overlooked populace in this country. The reason why we have not collectively changed our understanding on race, in spite of the election of our first African American president, may lie in the history of racial change in this country. We all know that Brown v. Board of Education was settled in 1954, however we were well into the late 1980s when communities in Boston were still having problems integrating public schools. Change therefore, not happening in some communities, such as Boston, for over 30 years. Hopefully we will not have to wait until 2038 to reap the benefits of having the first African American elected president, but our history may have a say as to why racial change in this country is not instantaneous.

10)                  What is ideology? How does ideology shape understanding of important issues such as race? Do individuals tend to be conscious of the influence of ideology?

Ideology is a belief system and a set of principles that a group of individuals follow for the betterment for all those in the group. Ideology has a great influence over how issues of race are shaped. Today many people who listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch Bill O’Riley on tv are influenced by the ideology of these two individuals. As more often than not, American citizens who listen to these two men quote what they have to say during lunch breaks or after hour sessions at the bar. And this ideology is then handed down to children when American workers go home and talk to their sons and daughters about public affairs. And these children then go to school with these thoughts and express these ideas during discussions in civics class and from these beliefs create a school culture of either tolerance or bigotry. What is probably scary about this whole process is that individuals are not conscious of this influence and see everything as fact. People have a hard time contextualizing information and identifying certain political leanings that come with monetary benefits. Sometimes the news isn’t designed to keep you informed and aware of all perspectives but rather conceived for economic benefit and to get ratings. What we need to do more of is consider where are news is coming from, and whether we need to include other voices for the sake of de-monopolizing the conversation.

Chapter 2

1)   List and evaluate multiple explanations for why race is not a biological category. Explore how your personal experiences with race may have influenced your reaction to the evidence that race is not based on genes.

Race is not a biological category because there are common properties among human beings across different races. Everyone has a heart, eyes, lungs, blood, etc. for the most part. Those who lack one or more of these vital organs are anomalies or the result of growing up in a certain environment. It seems that being a human being is the common denominator before categories such as race are manifested. Humanity is the root and race is the branch. I have a family member who has sickle cell anemia, which is known as an African disease. Our ancestors are from Africa, and in Africa sickle cell anemia acts as an immunization against malaria. Meaning that those who have the disease demonstrate a need to protect themselves in their immediate environment, one in which malaria runs rampant. The environment rather than genes therefore explains differences among human beings. Blacks will develop characteristics that will enable them to survive as in the same way whites will develop their pertinent characteristics in order to survive.

2)   How did Franz Boas research on the skulls of immigrants and their children challenge racism?

Franz Boas believed that because people of color, historically, had different shaped skulls they were more inept and not as developed neurologically. He was German and very racist in his ideas. He also believed that race was biological. Some say he coined the nature/analysis of foundational psychology.

3)   Define nature and nurture. How have nature and nurture been used to interpret evidence about intelligence of different social groups? What biases have occurred in attempts to scientifically study intelligence?

Nature represents the roots, the origin, and the genetic makeup that leads us up to today. It involves family trees, oral history, artifacts and the like. Whereas nurture is the branch. How the fruit came from the seed is just as important as how tasty the fruit is. How the tree was taken care of, how well it was watered and attended to are aspects of nurture. Naturally when one thinks of nurturing they think of childhood and how parents take care or nurture their children. If one were to superimpose this concept of nature one could make connections of nurture to how well a child is taught at school and whether that child has access to enriching activities and hobbies that will produce a wholesome young man or woman. Again a focus on the fruit rather than the root is the emphasis here with nurture. With nature different racial groups are compared and contrasted based upon great historical figures. For example, in many educational institutions great ancient civilizations such as the Greek and Roman empire are emphasized and connections are drawn to our present day political system. In addition to notions of democracy the white race is also tied into the greatness of Greek and Roman empires. Whereas, the lack of an academic canon and artifacts concerning African civilizations, leaves those seeking a great historical past vulnerable to ridicule and harassment. Many people therefore make assumptions about the nature of black history, and draw conclusions based upon how little may be found. These assumptions, more often than not, are negative and are used to explain the origins of modern day racist social stereotypes. Nurture deals with the trope of broken black families and fatherless children. Many racists claim that people of color are in the boat that they are in because parents don’t know how to take care of their kids. And these thoughts are not only held by racist whites, but also by black people as well. Data such as incarceration rates, infant mortality, high school drop outs, unwed mothers, teen mothers, unemployment rates, median income among others are tied into these racist notions found in a nature and nurture analysis and are used too commonly by academics, political officials, law enforcement, scientists, educators, among others to explain the racial problem that exists on this planet.       

4)   What biases were present in Morton’s analysis of cranial capacity? Explore the possible role of ideology in Morton’s work. How did Gould expose Morton’s bias?

Morton believed that only whites were fully human. Gould believed that the population from which Morton was making his scientific conclusions was not diverse and purposefully slanted to affirm his initial thoughts about race. Gould exposed Morton’s bias by comparing skull size and brain size of animals and applying the same logic, that the bigger the skull, the bigger the brain, and the bigger the brain the more smarter the individual or animal. Gould basically turned Morton’s ideas on their head and exposed the inconsistency.

5)   What did Lewontin’s research reveal about human genetic variation and race?

“Lewontin sought to study genetic variation in humans. Specifically, he wanted to compare variation between human groups to variation within groups.” (29) “The concept of racial classification suggests that observed physical differences within and across groups of humans suggest a continuum of distinctions, rather than clear and separate groups.” (30) Lewontin’s work concludes: “It is clear that our perception of relatively large differences between human races and subgroups, as compared to the variation within these groups, is indeed a biased perception and that….. human races and populations are remarkably similar to each other, with the largest part by far of human variation being accounted for by the differences between individuals.” (31)

6)   How has science been used to justify social inequality? Describe the eugenics movement. What were the goals of the movement? What social policies did the movement promote? How was the movement connected to racism?

Race has been claimed to be biological and that people of color are closer to being primates than people whom are white. Evolution is and has been used to explain the success of different racial groups in society. And this success is based upon neurological developments. White people are argued to have a more developed mind. “The eugenics movement was founded and supported by white elites and by scientists and scientific research.” (36) These scientists and elites used eugenics to explain social inequality. “Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, invented the term eugenics in his 1883 book, Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.” (36) In 1905 psychologist Alfred Binet came up with the Intelligent Quotient (IQ). The goals of the movement was to preserve the superior race and quarantine “imbeciles, the feeble minded, and morons”, this was most clearly taken on by Hitler and the practices of gas chambers during the Holocaust. “in The Bell Curve”, Harvard University psychologists Richard J. Herrnstein and well-known conservative thinker and political scientist Charles Murray argued in 1994 that intelligence is something we are born with (or without); it can be as measured through intelligence tests like Binet’s….” (48). Some social policies that this movement promoted includes tracking in public schools as well as social stereotypes in the form of racial profiling (lynchings for example).  

7)   Why does correlation not reveal causation? Choose an example of correlational research from this chapter. Explore how nature or nurture could be used to suggest a causal explanation for the evidence in the study. How do competing explanations relate to the inability to conclude causation from correlational research?

“A correlation is a relationship between one dimension of interest (one variable) and a second dimension of interest (a second variable) that allows us to make predictions.” (42) One variable may be intelligence and a second variable may be race. Causation would lead us to believe that those who have low intelligence are those whom are not white, and because you are not white you will have a low intelligence. Correlation in this instance does not reveal causation, however eugenics would like to prove otherwise. Because we have studies on the same topics by different scientists (Franz Boas, Morton, Lewontin, Gould, Binet, and Charles Murray) with different conclusions about race and intelligence for example, we do not have a strong enough foundation for causation from correlational research.

8)   If race is not genetic, how can race become embodied? Explore Gravlee’s argument and connect it to the evidence on sickle cell disease.

Race can be thought of as a product of cultural materialism and that the environment or habitat that a group of people live in brings about differences. A people living in a warm habitat will develop different characteristics than a people living in a cold climate. Gravlee applies this mode of thinking to a case study on Sickle Cell Anemia. Those who have the disease are naturally immune to malaria which is highly prevalent in many African cultures. So Gravlee can argue that the reason why black people are more prone to have the disease, which is hereditary and genetic, is that the disease helps them survive in their distinct, mosquito affected, habitat.

9)   The website for the Public Broadcasting Corporation’s (PBS’S) Race: The Power of an Illusion includes a number of activities that challenge the concept of human races as biological. The website can be found at After doing the activity, reflect on the extent to which the activity confirmed or disconfirmed the arguments and evidence in this chapter.

I did the sorting activity and I believe that it confirms the notion that correlation doesn’t reveal causation, even though skin color and gender were obvious attributes of the sample of individuals it was still tough trying to distinguish their race.

10)                   Read American Anthropological Association Statement on “Race” Respond to the way the statement (a) describes research such as that of Lewontin, (b) explains the ambiguity of racial groups, (c) describes the role of inequality in attempts to understand race as biological, and (d) notes the roles of nature and nurture in descriptions of differences among human groups.

The statement agrees with Lewontin and claims that races are not clearly demarcated and that there is greater variation within racial groups rather than among racial groups. In regards to ambiguity the statement claims “Physical variations in any given trait tend to occur gradually rather than abruptly over geographic areas. And because physical traits are inherited independently of one another, knowing the range of one trait does not predict the presence of others.” With the description of inequality the statement claims that race “subsumed a growing ideology of inequality devised to rationalize European attitudes and treatment of the conquered and enslaved peoples.” With the roles of nature and nurture the statement claims that no human is born with a built-in culture or language and that nurture in the form of early childhood learning and behavior attests to the reality of our cultures in forming who we are.

  Chapter 3
1.     How do we become/get/be a race? And how can one race change into another?

We become a race by socialization. Our environment leads people to classify other people based on skin color, hair texture, and diet, among other things. What we see on tv, hear on the radio, or read in the newspaper becomes part of our social truth, and we extend these stereotypes or caricatures onto the “other” without dispute. We don’t engage in dialogue and question some of these stereotypes possibly based on fear, and this leads to arrogance and misinformation.  And in the worst case scenario we allow violence to settle problems that could easily be resolved through thoughtful deliberation and dialogue.

2.     Why are individuals sometimes motivated to pass? How is passing related to stigma? Explore the difference between intentionally passing and unintentionally passing. Intentional passing will range from being pointedly dishonest about one’s identity to consciously allowing others to make an assumption about one’s identity. Do you perceive these different forms of passing as relatively similar or as distinct from each other?

Individuals are motivated to pass because it benefits them and they don’t have to engage in the uncomfortable dialogue that is often times associated with race. Ignorance or silence is often times bliss. By passing people don’t have to think about the negative associations that are attributed to their race. The stigma of being the other is avoided and they can assimilate into the notion of being white or being human. The notion of self and the other is well illustrated in the psychological philosophy of Frantz Fanon, exploring the cultivation of identity and racial history of socialization. Rachel Dolezal, head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, changed her hair color, texture, and skin color in order to be black and possibly more accepted among her colleagues in the NAACP.  This was intentional and goal driven as she didn’t want to explain herself as being a white girl down for the black cause. Michael Jackson underwent heavy plastic surgery and skin discoloration to look white possibly to be more accepted, (though not necessary), among his fans. Again this was intentional passing. Mariah Carey has been claimed to be white among her fans but has not undergone any plastic surgery nor engaged in any dialogue about her racial history to affirm nor deny the accusations. This is an example of unintentionally passing. Tiger Woods could also be added to the conversation and Dave Chappell ‘s skit on racial Olympics provides a humorous analysis of racial distinctions among well- known celebrities. I perceive these forms of passing relatively similar because they stem from anxiety about talking about race and hesitation from embracing the beautiful aspects associated with their particular race.

3.     Why did only one drop of Black blood make a person black? Why did the reverse not work? Why did not one drop of white blood make a person white? In this (racist) thinking, is whiteness an exclusive club easily “tainted” by other races? Or is whiteness fragile and Blackness powerful? What is the meaning behind the one-drop rule?

One drop of black blood made a person black because the white race was seen to be pure and any “miscegenation” tainted the pureness of whiteness. The reverse didn’t work because the black race was not seen as pure, as well as not originating from pro black greatness.

4.     Who decides someone else’s race? When asked to think of an African American person, what family history do you picture for that person? Who would you include or exclude? What race would you ascribe to a man who was raised primarily by his white mother and white grandparents and whose father was an international student from Kenya, such as Barak Obama? To what extent is this true for any race? If author Jane Lazzare claims that because she is a white mother of Black sons, she is no longer merely white, is she? Historically, some people of color have passed and lived as white. Does this mean that they and their descendants today are now white?

Any one can decide one’s race but I think the power of self definition is most important. On national censuses people are asked to identify their own race. And in the case with Rachel Dolezal people have the ability to claim themselves to be any one they want. The problem lies with how natural this identification comes. Did the person undergo extensive surgery, cosmetic and other wise? These types of questions play a role in the distinction of one’s “natural” race. An African person has historical ties to Africa and their familial history could possible have origins in the antebellum south. I would exclude from this narrative those with fair pigmentation, straight hair, and blue eyes, as a I understand that this may feed into Aryan ideology of the white race as well as beliefs from the Nation of Islam about the creation of the white race. Jane Lazzare, because she has black sons, does not make her a person of color. Again, if a person passes and lives as white, this does not change their historical family background, and their black ancestors will not disappear simply because they want to live a “white” lifestyle.
      5.     Is it ever okay to ask someone about his or her racial/ethnic background? Is it okay to be curious about people, about their culture and heritage? Conversely, is not asking or discouraging curiosity similar to doing nothing when it comes to racism? Does asking about someone’s racial/ethnic background perpetuate racism? If one is curious about another person’s race or ethnicity, what might be a socially sensitive way to inquire?

I don’t see the harm in it, as long as it comes with a purpose, hopefully to make a connection. What may not work is stating “Oh you are black, I have a black friend do you know him/her?” Whereas stating, “Oh your black, does being here make you uncomfortable?” Especially in a racially hostile environment, this second approach may be helpful. However it all depends on the context and the intent. If the intent is to segregate then this may be problematic. If the intent is to include then this may seem more productive. It is ok to be curious about people, their culture, and their heritage but it is also important to be open-minded and to throw all preconceived notions out the door. Being color-blind is not the answer as well because it avoids talking about sensitive racial issues that effect people on a day-to-day basis. Saying something like I don’t see color, everyone is a human being, may be harmful because it overlooks histories of discrimination such as slavery or Native American genocide.  Being cognizant of racial difference as well as being open minded seems like the best approach when engaging in issues of race.

6.     If one feels uncomfortably placed in a spotlight when another person asks, “What are you?” in terms of race or ethnicity, what sort of response would be appropriate from that person in the spotlight? In other words, if one feels that a question was asked in an insensitive way, what would be an apt response?

For the person in the spotlight who is being asked to “prove” her identity any response in which she wishes to responds is up to her. There are no social rules as to how best to respond to racism, and in fact it seems ridiculous to succumb to the same racial social system that breeds this ignorance and smile like no harm has been done. Any response outside of violence seems reasonable.

7.     Describe the social construction explanation of race. What evidence supports this explanation of race?

The notion of race is constructed by members of society, on a micro level, such as a University, students come up with ways to identify people of color. For example, some Universities use the acronym AHANA to identify a common bond against a common oppressor. It is built on an Afro-centric perspective of history, one in which combats the typical Eurocentric narratives such as the Roman and Greek Empires. Ideology is connected to words and phrases and again, people, through dialogue help clarify and solidify what race is.

8.     Have you ever attended an event intended to celebrate multiculturalism? If so, did it address social power? How might such events move from ones that do not address social power to being ones that do address social power? Argue for or against the importance of addressing social power at multicultural events. What do you think the effects might be of multicultural events that do, and that do not, address social power?

Yes I have attended an event celebrating multiculturalism and yes it addressed issues of social power. Events that do not address social power have to make it a focus and objective. The need to have more events that address social power should not be entirely the responsibility of cultural groups. These groups have no control over what enters the mainstream and therefore should not bear the load of not having enough events. Radio stations, tv shows, social media outlets also have to address these issues and therefore must seek out groups and people who have different points of view. PBS and NPR are good examples at achieving this purpose. The effects of these events or there lack thereof have profound effects in a multitude of communities. Communities that embrace these types of events are more willing to engage in dialogue rather than violence in order to resolve societal issues like racism, homophobia, and sexism. Communities that do not embrace these types of events are more susceptible to riotous behavior among their inhabitants. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to be proactive rather than responsive.

9.     Think of a time you or someone you know intentionally or unintentionally “passed” as something you/they are not. What were the circumstances? How can you explain or understand why “passing” was important (or even necessary) given current ways of thinking about race, ethnicity, and/or sexuality in our culture? If you were in charge of organizing a major social event that was mixed in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability, what could you do to reduce or eliminate individuals feeling compelled to “pass”?

While overseas in Antigua people there thought I was from the area because I had dreadlocks at the time. In high school some one actually called me “Fakin’ Jamaican” because of my locks and my Nigerian ancestry. Understanding passing is important because it allows one to understand the assumptions one can make based upon physical appearance. If I were to organize an event that was mixed with regard to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and disability I would let people know that all types of people are welcomed and that it was important to embrace their difference rather than claiming to be color blind, which is nearly impossible.  

10. Suppose a good friend asked you to explain the concept of the “social construction of race” and how the concept is useful for understanding our culture. Using chapter 2, contrast the theory of social construction with the eugenic perspective on race.

The social construction of race of flexible and ever changing as it involves the way society views race, gender, class, sexuality, etc. These views change over time as oppose to the eugenic perspective on race, which is largely based on historical findings of Darwin and other social scientist, who argue that races are organized along lines of intelligence. The flexibility that comes with social construction is not found in the notions of eugenics and explains how we as a people need to part with ancient findings on race and embrace more inclusive modes of thought.

11. Suppose you were asked to design a “multicultural” event for your school or some other organization of your choice. How would you avoid doing this in a superficial way? What would you do to take issues of social power into consideration?

If I were to design a multicultural event for my school or organization I would avoid the superficial ideas about multiculturalism and attack the problems of racism, sexism, homophobia, and power head on without sugar coating any of the ugliness that comes with talking about race. I would also emphasize the importance of diplomacy and the need to have conversations rather than physical altercations in helping to heal the racial divides that exist in this country.

Chapter 4
1.     As you read more, what ways, do you imagine, we can address the problems described in this book?

I think the best way to address problems of ignorance with regard to race is to actively engage in dialogue about the reality of current race relations. To continuously doubt the frequent occurrence of police brutality and racial profiling is to invalidate the narratives from those who experience it. When one is not acknowledged and their reality is not legitimized there is tension. This tension often times results in violence and proves the immediate need to reconcile racial difference. We can address these problems by recognizing the urgency to make social and political changes in our communities. i.e. taking down the confederate flag in North Carolina. Or adding community advisory boards in places such as Ferguson, Missouri.  

 2.     To explore how different countries, including the United States, have asked census questions about race, visit the American Anthropological Association’s online project entitled “Race: Are We So Different?” at Within the activities available under the menu Lived Experience, you can choose the Global Census option to see how race is classified in Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, South Africa, and other countries. Which of these ways of classifying race surprised you the most? Which seemed most foreign to how you have understood race? Did you approve of any of these ways of classifying race or ethnicity? Please do explain why or why not.

I am somewhat familiar with the racial stratification in Brazil and how Afro Brazilians are treated differently from descendants of Portugal, or “white” Brazilians. It doesn’t surprise me that there is this racial divide because Brazil specifically has undergone colonialism and political systems in which race has delineated those whom were enslaved and those whom are free. This painful history still has remnants in contemporary Brazilian society which makes it that much more important to eradicate racism.

3.     Irish and Italian Americans historically have been blamed for their poverty and other social problems because of their ethnic/racial identity, as though that ethnic/racial identity was the cause of these problems. Please identify another racial/ethnic group that has been blamed for the group’s own poverty, crime rates, or other social problems. Evaluate systemic injustice as an explanation for the social problems faced by this group.

Aborigines in Australia were native to the land, similar to the way in which Native Americans were native to the land in what we now call the United States of America. Political decrees allowed Europeans, specifically Brits, to initiate genocide on Aborigines. And it is because of these decrees that Aborigines as a group have not enjoyed the fruits of collective political bargaining. Aborigines are not afforded the same citizenship rights as the Brits and as a result face a plethora of social problems. 

4.     Based on the description within this chapter, do you perceive Ron Nerio as Mexican American or as a white? Explain why you do or do not perceive Nerio’s race as Mexican American.

I believe that it is the decision of Ron Nerio to confirm or deny his latino ancestry or culture. He grew up in a Mexican American community and partook in Mexican American customs and traditions. He ate Mexican food growing up and was surrounded by other Mexican Americans. However his parents were white. So biologically or hereditary he can claim to be white. Nerio may have been socialized as Mexican American, as he was identified as such on school demographic reports but he has “white” blood running through his veins. Again, I believe it is up to Nerio to decide what race he belongs to.

5.     Explore the case of a person whose biological parents are identified as different races, such as Nerio’s sisters from a white mother and a Mexican American father. Are Nerio’s sisters Mexican American or white? Can they be both? Why or why not? Can Nerio be both? Why or why not?

In 2015 many people claim to be bi-racial, even famous celebrities like Tiger Woods, or political figures such as President Barak Obama recognize their dual ancestry. And it is this bi-racial category that allows us to expand our understanding of race and genetics. People are products of a mother and father and these parents, in today’s age, experience interracial encounters at a rate like no other in the past. From college campuses to pervasive urban settings different races are intermingling and people are making babies. These children are part of a new generation where racial lines are often time blurred. Nerio and his sisters have the opportunity to not only recognize their multilayered racial history but also their feelings about racial belonging and the complexity of their current racial identity.

6.     Within chapter 3, we asked, “What does it mean to ‘have’ a race?” Across chapters 3 and 4, we argue that race is social but that it cannot be chosen the way some other social identities may be chosen (such as being an environmentalist). Please do respond to our arguments about what it means to have a race. Address the extent to which you agree with social constructionist arguments about race. Do you agree or disagree that race cannot be chosen? Explain why.

From my previous remarks I believe that race is a social construct and exists in the minds and hearts of the current moment. With that said, race, identity, and social constructs can change over time. What we are experiencing in the current moment are opportunities for people to really contemplate their racial influences and make a conscious decision as to what or who they identify with. And it goes past race, Bruce Jenner is now Cait Jenner and an “accepted” transgender individual who has undergone public gender transformation with little criticism or social discrimination. He has an opportunity to identify with being a woman and it is, for the most part, accepted in mainstream culture. This phenomenon would not be appearent 50 years ago, but with time we have changed our attitudes with respect to gender and sexual orientation. Race can be chosen because we are now coming to terms with racial history and consider not only the “root” of one’s identity but also the “route” of racial formation.

 7.     If Nerio allows others to assume his racial background is white, is he passing? Please refer to arguments and evidence from chapters 3 and 4 in your response. 
 No I don’t believe he is passing, however he may do damage to his childhood friends and Mexican American community from which he came, if he were to deny that part of his personal identity.

8.     Critical race theorist Derrick Bell has argued that whites actually do not want to end racism because white people want to protect the power they gain through white privilege. If given the opportunities to have a conversation with Bell, how would you respond to his argument?

I would agree and add that notions of race lie along structures of power and social control. Politically it is in the best interest of whites to preserve white privilege so that their power, control, and position of dominance goes unquestioned and uncontested. To let go of such an apparatus means to enter real democracy and true free market capitalism.

9.     Do you believe white people might gain power and privilege simply from being white? If so, why might white people want to protect the power? Please explain by responding to arguments and evidence from this chapter?

White people might want to protect this position of power because they don’t want to work hard or come in contact with people whom are different from them.

10. Please discuss whether you are sentencing discrepancies as at least partially racial in basis. Explore the relative dangers of the drug crack compared to powder cocaine, the violence predicated by each, and the racial group most associated with each. Do you believe that penalizing crack cocaine to powder cocaine on a ratio of 100 to 1 is fair? Might this sentencing difference be racial? What about the Fair Sentencing Act proposal of a ratio of 18 to 1?

No I don’t believe that penalizing crack cocaine more so than powder cocaine is right, but I do recognize the attempt to indulge a prison industrial complex with respect to people of color who abuse drugs. By penalizing one over another, the criminal justice system can unjustly send a disproportionate black population to jail and forever disenfranchise them by denying them voting rights, education, jobs, and health care. This aspect of the war on drugs has a ripple effect on the black community and effects people far more greatly than having them serve time.
Chapter 5

1.     What class would you place yourself in? Discuss why and what markers you use to identify or distinguish your class?

I would consider myself part of the working class. I do not have a trust fund, own a home, or can afford to go on “vacation”. I am college educated and employed but I believe to be underpaid for all of my qualifications.

2.     Provide four examples of things or behaviors that you think are “classy”. Then discuss whether these things or behaviors are linked to money or race.

Things that are classy:
-       Golfing
-       Summer house
-       Pedicure/Manicure
-       Law suits

All of these things are related to race and are behaviors, sports, hobbies, enjoyed by Caucasians.

3.     Critically reflect on the term white trash. What might this term reveal about the assumptions regarding whiteness? How is this term related to class? What might this term reveal about assumptions regarding groups of color?

Whiteness is usually connected to success, and the notion of white trash throws a wrench in this stereotypical image. White trash is a misnomer for white lower class. Those whom are on welfare, social security, or live in rural areas of the country are usually considered white trash. Many people assume that all blacks are poor and this highly untrue. It also amplifies the belief that people of color are unable to accrue wealth and climb the corporate ladder to success. There are societal problems that affect a race of people but those same races of people are not all prone to those same societal problems. Success is possible it is just harder for some groups of folks than for others, and this is based on how this country has dealt with the race since the days of Christopher Columbus.  

4.     Microagressions are often unintentional and unrecognized by the perpetrators. Can common unintentional slights that are invisible to the perpretrators have a harmful impact?

Yes they sure can, such as the utterance of the n-word. It may not seem to be harmful to the white person who says it, but in fact is very hurtful to the black person whom hears it, and reminds them of a dark sorrowful past that is filled with pain and anger.

5.     Given that money income is greater today than in 1970, why is it not a sufficient indication of whether our living standards are improving or not? Can you think of more examples where earning more money than before does not mean one has gained a richer lifestyle?

Everything is relative. Even if folks are making more money than they were before does not mean things are getting more inexpensive. It is still very hard to fund college tuition for many graduating seniors. The very few banks that do give out loans do so at such high interest rates that it harks to sharecropping. It is also difficult to secure a house, finance a college education, and keep the fridge full and the car full of gas all at the same time. Black folks are just beginning to, as a group, enjoy the wealth of the superpower we call the United States of America.

6.     What is the difference between income and wealth?

Income is how much a NFL player makes in his 10 year contract. Wealth is how much the Rockefeller family is worth in stocks, bonds, and equity. Millions in the former to billions in the latter.

7.     How does inheritance systematically advantage whites in comparison to people of color in the United States? What was the role of the FHA in this?

It is like there is this big track meet. And with all the inheritance that white people have there is a staggered start and a delay. The gun shoots off but one group is not allowed to run yet, because they are not ready yet. They can’t afford to spend all of that energy. And then in the middle of the race there is another gun that goes off and black folks are expected to “catch up”. Inheritance gives those white people the head start, and it seems almost impossible to catch up. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA), is more willing to help those whom are white than those whom are of color, and their loans are based on the amount of “wealth” a person has.

8.     Discuss how wealth has influenced the racial rigidity of class in the United States.

Wealth has created legacies at colleges that secures white dominance in certain industrial domains.

9.     How did redlining by the FHA influence accumulation of wealth by race?

People of color were denied housing even if they could afford it, and were not given the same access to affluent communities that ensured good education and top of the line health care.    

Chapter 6

1.     Compare and contrast having a critical conversation about race with having a racist conversation. What aspects of the conversation will cause these to be distinct from each other? Could a critical conversation about race ever be racist?

A critical conversation about race is about giving voice to a narrative that has been suppressed and silenced. It is also about racial harmony and building a bridge between the unknowns, so that we can ameliorate racial misunderstanding and create peace and harmony. A racist conversation is about solidifying stereotypes and about maintaining blindness to certain narratives. Nothing comes out of racist conversations except anger, confusion, frustration, and turmoil. A critical conversation about race can turn in a racist conversation and that is usually when one feels offended and finds it necessary to lash out and say something inflammatory.

2.     School choice programs can have the effect of creating greater racial segregation among students. What consideration might be important for a school choice program to be effective in reducing racial segregation? How might schools challenge families to critically examine race in the schools and to reconsider what constitutes a “good” school?

I think it is important for families to understand that when they send their children to schools that are diverse their children are more likely to learn new things and be exposed to a culture that is ever searching for truth and justice. Such an environment is robust and requires the said student to always actively participate in dialogue and conversation about real life issues. Segregation may occur at first but more often than not, there is an exchange of ideas and cultures when students begin to feel more comfortable.

3.     Would you support, oppose, or feel neutral regarding the introduction of a fraternity or sorority on your campus that is focused on attracting members of a specific racial group? Would you feel similarly or differently if such an organization focused on members of a specific ethnic group? What if it focused on members of a specific religious group? Connect your response to Tatum’s explanation for why Black adolescents may choose to sit with other Black adolescents in a cafeteria.

Historically black fraternities and sororities were designed to support students who felt isolated in the midst of whiteness on college campuses. And for that reason I see why they were important and still exist for that very same reason. Even though things have gotten better, these groups still provide students with a network that is essential in professional development in and out of school. From what I gather, certain white fraternities and sororities were designed to keep people of color out of their groups and deny them academic and professional opportunities, such as interview to successful firms. For that reason I would have to deny their importance on college campuses. No group should exist to exclude people based on race. It may seem like a double standard, but one has to consider context and the overall goals of such groups. 

4.     Do you think discussions of potential discrimination that occur within a school will be more productive among peers from the same racial group or in an interracial group of peers? Could each be equally productive in different ways? Please explain the potential benefits and problems of each. What steps might educators take to facilitate honest and critical discussions of race and racism?

Conversations in all white settings, all black settings, all people of color settings, and intermingled settings are all and equally important. One should not be silent in the midst of injustice no matter what the environment. The level of engagement may be different given the audience and circumstance but all people should always be focused on racial justice. Educators might have students read a list of diverse authors and have them compare and contrast ideologies, getting a sense of historical forms of resistance to racial discrimination. The benefits of conversations within exclusive racial groups is that there may seem a sense of belonging and the need for collective action within the group. The problem within exclusive groups is that there may be a sense of complacency, while the urgency to rectify problems fizzle out.

5.     Note the images of people of your own racial groups and images of other racial groups in the media. Reflect on how many distinct images you observe for whites, Blacks, Asians, Latina/os, American Indians, Arabs, and other groups. Do any groups seem to have very limited identities as they are portrayed in the media? Select a film or television program that you perceived as promoting a stereotype. What techniques were used to communicate the stereotype and to support it? Can media portrayals of stereotypes lead to critical thinking about race? Use specific examples from film or television to support your answer.

The new tv show fresh off the boat, about an Asian family assimilating into America is a good example of some of the stereotypes found in mass media. Historically Asians have been played by white people when it came to movies, tv shows, or Hollywood. There was also the explosion of minstrelsy starting in the late 19th century that included white people acting in black face. The technique used in both examples is exclusion. Not just on the acting side, but also in the creation of entertainment. People of color are denied the creative rights to tell their own stories and as a result, stereotypes are magnified and reflect the true misunderstanding of race by mainstream media.

   6.     What do you think the effects would be if teachers revealed the hidden curriculum by critically analyzing with students the subtle messages about race, class, gender, and sexuality that might exist in school? Would it be valuable to teach a course on the hidden curriculum that examines how the hidden curriculum has changed across history and how it operates today? How much resistance do you predict would occur if schools consciously attempt to eliminate white privilege from classrooms?

I think the teaching of the hidden curriculum would be liberating for students who subscribe to the varying ideologies. I think it would be very valuable to both white people and people of color more generally. I also think it will motivate students to take initiatives by putting on events and engaging in dialogue. The only resistance that I see may come from status quo students who dislike changes to the student body and the curriculum as a whole. Another name for this group might possibly be college republicans.

7.     If racism is generally unexamined within a school, how much impact might one teacher have in his or her classroom if the teacher is dedicated to critically examining race? If a teacher was concerned about systemic, subtle, and unexamined racism in his or her school, what would you advise?

I would advise that teacher to join with other faculty members and students to voice their concerns to the administration and reach out to other universities as well as media to put pressure on those whom are in position of power. The teacher that does have the courage to include critical examinations on race will win over students who are not only curious but also loyal, which is beneficial in the long run, as that teacher will gain strength in the presence of his/her allies.

8.     What evidence is there to support the concept of stereotype threat? What type of student is most likely to be affected by stereotype threat? What impact can an individual teacher have on stereotype threat?

The case of Eric Garner being strangled to death in New York is evidence of the concept of stereotype threat. Black males are thought to be violent and dangerous and as a result are met with a substantial amount of hostility from police. A teacher can illustrate the many ways in which the public creates stereotypes for people of color. Once students understand that these stereotypes exist and become aware of their origins they then are able to identify and dismantle the structure in which supports institutional racism. On a scholarly level, students can trace the history of racism and bring to the surface the many ways in which people of color have resisted these modes of thought. With knowledge comes power, and the more truth a teacher can bestow upon his or her student the better that student becomes equipped to fight racism in the future.

 9.     How does race relate to socioeconomic class and funding in public schools? What might be the long-term effects of discrepant funding?

People of color predominately live in low-income areas. And these areas generate a minimal amount of revenue in property taxes. It is these taxes that help fund public education. If there is little money to work with in the beginning then the harder it becomes to invest for the future. Money for quality teachers, sports and arts programs, and technology for students is tight and the likelihood of success in such a community is minimized. Education is not valued as a viable option for future success. Young people emulate drug dealers or gangsters in the community and the pipeline to the criminal justice system is paved with these frustrations with public education. The long term effects of this discrepant funding are daunting with respect to prosperity and community wealth. Too few people will go to college, secure housing, and steadily contribute to growth in the public education system. The case is urgent, complex, but surmountable enough to be overthrown.

10. What would you say to someone who claims, “Education is the key to addressing bias and privilege”? What sort of education would this require? How might this be achieved? What claims might critical race theorists make about the statement?

I would agree that education is the key to addressing bias and privilege. The sort of education that this would require can be summed up in the work of Patricia Hill Collins and her work, Another Kind of Public Education. In the work Collins talks about counter-surveilance and the necessity of critical thinking. This can be achieved through extensive teacher education programs that emphasize social justice and critical race theory. It also requires access, through public libraries and the such, to 21st Century technology. With this technology students are more likely to learn 21st Century skills and enter 21st Century jobs. Cornel West, a prolific critical race theorist would probably agree with this statement and cite the works of W.E.B.Dubois in affirming the importance of education among people of color. 

Chapter 7 
1.     Explore the different kinds of networks and resources that people use when searching for a job. How might these networks and resources be linked to race and privilege?

Affluent neighborhoods are full with doctors, lawyers, businessmen and women, dentists, architects, engineers, professors, teachers, construction workers, among many other professions. The networks in these communities are natural. However in order to live in such a community for some seems impossible, even when they are next door. Through acts like redlining affluent communities actively work towards keeping their environment free from people of color and those in the lower classes. Therefore social mobility becomes a joke and those whom grow up in these poor communities know that there is little to no chance of getting out.

2.     Different television shows and channels offer examples of our racially segregated lives in the United States. Can you think of other such examples of segregation?

Another example of segregation is the transportation system and the way in which people of color have a more difficult time (having to endure long travels) to get to some of the same areas that take whites minutes to get to.

3.     Define institutional racism. Can you think of an example of how discrimination can be cumulative?

Institutional racism is prejudice in the legal system and discrepancies in the economy. One example of institutional racism is gentrification. The rent rises so that low-income black families cannot afford. Houses and apartments become vacant. Developers move in and make things new. And then white people move in. With this new demographic new businesses open up, restaurants, dental and law offices, etc. And the urban community that was once there are uprooted and living unconnected like refugees in their own country. As far being cumulative, this process is repeated over time and expanded to all corners of the nation, so that once historically black communities are now stomping grounds for hipsters and white college students. Families are dismantled and collective action is disintegrated.

4.     Recall the example of Halley’s friend who was not hired at the college because she supposedly did not “fit in.” Discuss the ways in which a professor might be (or not be) a good “fit” for the students of a particular college. Would “fitting in” involve issues such as accent and cultural background? What about the professor’s knowledge of her or his subject?

Fitting in, especially on the college campus, is about participating in the customs of the institution, no matter how racist those customs may seem.

5.     Give examples of what you think constitutes a professional dress code. Critically evaluate what culture such a code might be derived from, and why.

A professional dress code for men is a suit, tie, button down shirt, sweater (cardigan), shoes (no sneakers?) for women, all the same as well as dresses, and skirts. The culture from which this code comes from is European.

6.     Think of your own example regarding the possible influence of a self-fulfilling prophecy in the interview process.

Experience is a huge issue. Employers usually ask about how much experience one may have in the industry and if you have a hard time getting a job in the first place, because of your name, skin color, sexual orientation, or lack of connections, this question becomes difficult to answer. What people of color usually need is that one break, that one opportunity, but the assumption for employers is that opportunities are always readily available. There is a clear misunderstanding about how hard it is for a certain group of people to secure a well paying job, regardless of the amount of education the person may have.  

7.     Explain statistical discrimination. Given examples of how statistical discrimination might disadvantage people of color.

Statistical discrimination is the amount of people of color in jail. And how this disadvantages people of color is the assumption among employers that all people of color have been to jail. Sometimes before CORI results come back, employers choose their white counterparts because of the stigma associated with people of color and jail.

8.     Describe racial trends in unemployment. Critically evaluate the links between (un)employment and incarceration rates.

Usually people of color have a higher unemployment rate than white people. It is because of this statistic that people of color have a hard time finding a job. Idle time is also the devil’s workshop, instead of spending most of the day at work, people of color have a greater chance of engaging in criminal activity. This a big reason why there is such an ardent push for after school programs, jobs for teenagers during the summer, and outpatient services for drug abusers. Ultimately people of color should play a bigger part in our national economy and looked at as potential positive contributors to society.

9.     How and why have incarceration rates changed since the “war on drugs”?

Since the war on drugs, police officers target weed smokers and crack-heads usually in urban communities. This has happened because the war on drugs specifies certain quotas as a way to show the public that the government is taking drugs off the streets. It is for PR and political reasons more than anything that the war on drugs has been pushed into full gear.

10. Explain the male breadwinner model. What impact has this model had on both white families and families of color?

The male breadwinner model is the belief that the father brings home the bacon and provides the family with the funds necessary to live a happy and healthy life. On white families this model has emphasized paternalism and ignores the occupational desires of the wife and mother. Their ambitions are put on the back burner as they are looked upon to take care of the children. For families of color, there is tension because fathers have a harder time finding a job than mothers. This model emasculates the male rather than fortifies his skills and talents. Women are then looked upon to fill that void, and fathers abuse drugs and/or engage in criminal activity. As a result the baby daddy and baby mamma stereotypes are born.

11. Critically evaluate why meritocracy is a myth.

Meritocracy is a myth because no matter how hard a person of color works, they still do not have the same type of access to class mobility than their white counterparts.

Chapter 8

1.     Please describe and explain how citizenship and immigration laws in the United States created a perception of whiteness as the normative culture and face of the country.

At one time in history Chinese and Japanese immigrants (Exclusion Act) were denied entrance into the United States. The federal government was wary that these Asian immigrants would act as spies as soon as they entered the country. The government, during WWII was so paranoid that they set up internment camps to house these Asian immigrants whereas German Americans, many of whom had ties to the Nazi regime, were treated like Americans. Citizenship, since the dawn of this country, has always been a privilege of the wealthy white elite. People of color and women were denied the right to vote, access to education, and entrance into high level management in large corporations. Citizenship, in large part, has had something to do with being white, no matter if your ancestors are from European countries. The ability to pass for these European immigrants is by far much easier than immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. 

 2.     In this chapter, the possibility of implementing an Arizona style immigration law along the Canadian border in Michigan is briefly discussed. Why might the implementation of such a law be different in Michigan v. Arizona?

I highly doubt that in Michigan, state troopers, or federal agents, will be arresting “illegal” immigrants at gunpoint. Whereas in Arizona, Mexican immigrants will have a much harder time entering the country even if they do have the right paper work. The discrepancy in responses has a great deal to do with race in this country and the stereotypes that are perpetuated by mainstream media and ignorant politicians. So long as we hold on to these racial myths we will never reach the solution for more egalitarian immigration.

3.     What are the different kinds of welfare assistance that U.S. citizens receive from the government? Why is welfare often associated with low-income families of color?

Some forms of welfare assistance includes social security, food stamps, and Medicaid. Welfare is often associated with low-income families of color because many people believe that they are too lazy and don’t want to work. Rather, the truth of the matter is that most people who receive welfare assistance are white people. And many of these people believe they deserve federal assistance.

4.     We argue that white privilege influenced the history of welfare legislation in the United States. Please describe and explain our argument. Do you agree? Why or why not?

The history of welfare legislation begins with FDR, the depression, and GIs. The idea was that families would benefit from grants and work assistance programs. But people of color were cut out of the equation and were forced to live substandard lives, sometimes sleeping 3-4 people in the same bed. I agree that white privilege was an influence, and the reason I agree can be summed up by Patricia Hill Collins’ in her book Another Kind of Public Education. In it she talks about her grandfather and how, as a WWII vey, that he was denied some of the basic needs of all Americans, housing, healthcare, and an occupation, despite the New Deal and GI legislation.

5.     Describe the evidence against the misconception that affirmative action takes positions away from whites and gives them to unqualified people of color.

Many people believe that because of affirmative action people of color whom are “non qualified” take positions away from white people whom are “qualified”. But this cannot be any further from the truth. Take the presidency for example, Barak Obama and George W. Bush. President Obama was a college professor, editor of the Harvard Law Review, community organizer and author of two books. George W. Bush was a C student who ran a few businesses into bankruptcy and lost a few elections in his runs for governor. Could Barak Obama gotten away with the same grades. I highly doubt it. The truth of the matter is that people of color are more qualified than their white counter parts and often times paradoxically, receive lower pay.

6.     What are the trends in wages for low and middle income workers in the U.S. economy? Simultaneously, what has happened to the incomes of the very rich?

The gap between the working/middle class and the elite class has grown at an alarming rate. And when it seems to be bad economically for the mass population, members of this elite class somehow still come out on top. Issues such as debt, or the minimum wage harms the working/middle class and paralyzes them in a position of immobility. What needs to happen is that systems should be put into place so that the road to the top doesn’t seem impossible, and that a good education will lead to a prosperous and enlightened citizenry.

7.     What are the reasons for the resistance to change in the minimum wage?

The resistance to change the minimum wage comes from wealthy business owners and the Republican party more generally. This philosophy has rots in Reaganomics and the belief that wealth should trickle down from the elite to the mass. The stereotype of the “welfare” mom also came out during this time (the 80s) and people believed that irresponsible parents were using this welfare money to buy frivolous things like jewelry or $100 sneakers. The resistance mainly comes from racists who believe that black people cannot take care of themselves.

8.     Explain why the rational choice arguments have not really worked in the case of wages in the United States.

The rational choice arguments in the case of wages in the United States hasn’t worked because the government sets the minimum wage. And the government sets the minimum wage. And the government is in large part in tandem with Wall Street, big time executives fund political campaigns and there are staunch proponents of keeping the status quo with respect to minimum wage. The rational choice argument will not work until the masses (those whom work for minimum wage) are represented in our federal government, their voices need to be heard and legislation needs to be drawn to secure the American dream for every citizen.

9.     Discuss how the racial rhetoric of affirmative action and welfare resembles the history of Irish Americans distancing themselves from Black people in the nineteenth century.

Many black people, those whom are affluent especially, do not want to concern themselves with the stigma of affirmative action. Clarence Thomas supreme court justice, in court proceedings, has denounced affirmative action despite the fact that he is black and many have benefited from affirmative action in the past. Nonetheless black people in general, do not all agree on affirmative action and welfare. And argue that we should embrace a meritocracy where people are judged on their achievements and not their skin color. What one has to consider however is the minute number of opportunities that present themselves to people of color, and the quality of education in urban centers versus more affluent suburbs. Irish Americans similarly distanced themselves from black people during the nineteenth century because they didn’t want to deal with the stigma of being called lazy or non-industrious. They were immigrants to the country and marginalized along with black folks, but instead of collaboration and mobilizing as a members of a majority minority they chose to separate themselves and claimed to be different and hard working. The jury was out, and Boston Brahmins seeking for the best way to maintain their power, believed dissension within the ranks would cause an internal conflict and prevent any sudden uprisings and insurgency. Questions on urban decay, unemployment, and a damaged education system, because of the fracture in group alliances, would go unanswered for decades. 

10. What is a living wage? Discuss some of the basic living expenses that you think should be included in a living wage.

A living wage is a wage that secures housing for families and individuals, a healthy nutritious diet, quality education, and comprehensive health care, as well as access to transportation and money for leisure activities such as sports and the arts.

11. Find the living wage for individuals and for diverse family sizes in your town by using the basic family budget calculator provided by the Economic Policy Institute at and the Living Wage calculator provided by the Living Wage Project at the Pennsylvania State University at . Compare the list of basic expenses that each of these calculators include in their calculation of a living wage to your own list of basic expenses.

Chapter Nine

1.     What does it mean to claim that race is “real” through social construction Explain this argument using evidence from multiple chapters of the textbook.

Race is made real through collective consciousness. Groups of people agree about what race is and how different races maintain specific characteristics. Racial stereotypes that are evident in concrete data surrounding college admissions and prison populations are part of the “realness” of racial social construction. Chapter one talks about power and who holds power, and this analysis gives birth to such ideas as white supremacy. Chapter two goes right into the heart of race and explains the ideologies surrounding biology and social construct, and how they act in tandem to create racial attributes, more often demonizing one group over another. And finally in chapter three, the book talks about racial inheritance and how social constructs of race differ from personalized identities of race.

2.     To what extent are different racial groups harmed by racism? Choose four racial groups and provide at least one example of evidence of harm for each group.

Black Americans are thought to be criminals, Asians are believed to be bad drivers, Latinos are machismo and denigrate women, and White people are racist and ignorant.

3.     Evaluate the concept of the guaranteed income. What, if any, minimal resources would you like to see available to all individuals? Explain why you would or would not support using tax dollars to fund a guaranteed income for all.

I believe that the minimum wage should be raised and nationalized, I would support using tax dollars to establish infrastructures throughout the United States in providing jobs for those on welfare and social security.

4.     How does the guaranteed income movement relate to combating racism?

With the guaranteed income movement people of color would not be relegated to subhuman lifestyles in the United States. They would not only be able to contribute to the wealth of America but also enjoy many of its pleasures.

5.     Why might recognizing that racism is extensive in the United States generate cognitive dissonance? Describe productive and counterproductive ways that individuals might seek to reduce this cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance comes from people who do not want to take responsibility to the racial climate in this country. In order for them to do so, they have to accept some counter-idealistic notions of how America was built and maintained. White people do not want to believe that America institutionally discriminates against other people because if they do, they will have to recognize their privilege. Productive ways to seek a reduction of cognitive dissonance would be to expand the scope of racism and to talk about global ethnic groups and how race can be substituted with power, and how power has been used around the world to suppress one group under another.

6.     Have your classroom experiences tended to be highly competitive, or did students tend to cooperate with each other? If you have had both types of experiences, please do reflect on whether and why you might learn better in one environment or the other. Thinking in terms of the jigsaw classroom, how might a cooperative learning environment reduce prejudice?

Classroom experiences have revealed the extent of racism and ignorance among my classmates who have never fully engaged in the construction of racism.

7.     The jigsaw classroom is one system that can be institutionalized to focus on meeting people’s needs and caring for individuals, rather than fostering competition. In what ways is the jigsaw classroom similar to or distinct from the guaranteed income in terms of addressing needs, caring, and competition?

The jigsaw classroom helps to construct ideas with a diverse amount of information. When people are moved to engage in dialogue about what they know and don’t know there is the potential for growth and honest collaboration against the perils of racism. These methods are similar to the guaranteed income rate in so much that they validate different experience and identities.

8.     After reading chapter 9, please review chapter 3. What might have happened if Irish Americans had focused on a common in-group identity as working class white people of color?

They might have elevated to positions of power faster than what history has bestowed upon them.

9.     Make an argument explaining why race has been such an important way of identifying individuals in U.S. history. Evaluate techniques such as the jigsaw classroom and the Common In-group Identity Model that suggest that humans can move beyond focusing on race.

Race has been used to designate African Americans as 3/5 of a human being. Techniques of the jigsaw classroom is the solidify this reality and demonstrate its ripple effects throughout history.

10. Could recognizing that all humans are the same species and that race is meaningless in terms of genetics help to promote a common in-group identity.

Yes it can. We are all human beings with the same human needs. However we have created cultures that should be respected for their distinction and context for survival.