In this class we will scrutinize the Eurocentric construction of race, delving into how it was used as a central organizing principle in North American society. We will also explore racism as an ideology, and how it was and is used to create, promote and perpetuate racial inequality. In focusing on racism, we will discuss social policies which promote (d) and protect(ed) white wealth, while at the same time denying people of color access to opportunity and resources. In this context we will discuss white privilege, color-blindness, and affirmative action policies.
In addition, we will research the immigration debate. In order to do this, we will work on defining the catch-all term “diversity, and then examine (1) immigration to the USA, paying close attention to the manner in which various group experiences were (and are) similar to, and different from, one another; (2) theories of integration; and (3) the multiculturalism debate.
Furthermore, we will examine the “other” from the viewpoint of those marginalized in society. Therefore, we will explore the relationship between the dominant - hegemonic - culture, and sub-cultural beliefs, attitudes, challenges, and attempts to redefine group status. This means we will focus upon power relationships and the dynamics of group attempts to access power, and how social movements have shaped and transformed U.S. social fabric.
This class will be both historical in nature and present-day oriented. We will take the time to study the past because without such knowledge we can neither understand nor examine the current system of racial domination. Such inquiry will help shed light on how historical circumstances continue to impact and shape current racialized identities and disparities.
A field trip may be required.