For those who may find it useful for teaching or awareness, I have posted a longish memo when you are called racist over on my own blog. I sent it to my students after a class discussion. In it I sketch two alternative world views, the minority/Black person who is sensitive to discrimination and racism and the majority/White person who believes that the r-word is hurtful. I end by suggesting strategies for dealing with the situation. If you have comments or reactions, I’d appreciate them.
Belle just offered her great post on teaching about race posted both here at Scatterplot and on her own blog, responding to pitse1eh’s blog. Both got great comments and useful links. This made me want to dust off my own essay on the subject. The core of this is an article I originally published in Feminist Voices, a Madison newspaper, in January of 1998. I’ve revised this several times since, including some revisions for this blog forum.
It is something of a truism among sociologists that the hardest thing to teach our students is the idea of social structure. The US has an extremely individualist culture, and we tend to think of race problems as reducible to individual choices, either blaming poor people for poverty and the consequences of poverty, or blaming prejudiced people for not being accepting of difference. It is very hard to get past this, and understand why we are in structures that shape these behaviors and attitudes. Continue reading “teaching about race (me too)”