Final Paper

Final Paper

Referring to this quote, do you agree with the contention of many scholars who claim that people without power, regardless of their “racial” characteristics, cannot be racist?

Choose One from these topics :

  1. In the textbook, The Matrix of Race, Social Construction, Intersectionality, and Inequality, Rodney D. Coates et al., argue that
    Prejudices and stereotypes are beliefs that often provide foundations of actions in the form of discrimination—that is the differential allocation of goods, resources, and services, and the limitation of access to full participation in society, based on individual’s membership in a particular category. Prejudices and stereotypes exist in the realm of beliefs, and when these beliefs guide the way in which we treat each other, they produce discrimination. Anyone can be the victim of prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, including White people and for a wide variety of reasons, such as clothing, appearance, accent, and membership in clubs or gangs. Put simply, discrimination is prejudice plus power (2022:11).
    Referring to this quote, do you agree with the contention of many scholars who claim that people without power, regardless of their “racial” characteristics, cannot be racist?
  2. Subsequent to the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, we saw how the Black population expressed its feelings in anger and rage in a forcefully way. Yet, we have seen little, if any reaction and concern for the high level of black-on-black crimes and especially murders in the US inner-cities.
    • To what do you attribute this indifference?
    • Do you think that these protest marches are helping or hurting the US Black communities?
    • When we speak of racism, we encourage people of all “races” to speak out against it when we say “silence is complicity.” Should the same apply to black leaders and Black activists regarding Black-on-black crimes?
    • What do you think law enforcement should do about the continued rise of black-on-black crimes?
    • Do you support the “defund the police” movement?
  3. In class, we define “Reverse racism” as a form of racism that benefits members of subordinate groups against members of dominant groups. In general, in the majority of the cases, when it is real, reverse discrimination can only be done through a proxy, because, more often than not, the members of the dominated groups have no power to implement their biases, bigotry, and prejudices against members of the dominant groups.
    In line of this argument, when the Affirmative Programs were implemented in the 1970s and beyond by the US government which was working as a proxy of the minority groups and women, many white men argued that, by giving preferential treatment to minority background individuals and women in university admissions and hiring to correct the injustices of the past, the American political system was applying reverse racism against them. They also argued that while the minority group members gained some advantages through the application of the programs, many white men lost the benefits that should have been theirs, although white women are the number one beneficiary of these programs.
    Why do you think attempts to declare Affirmative Action and Set Aside Programs unconstitutional, and thus suspend them, have always been argued on the basis of “race,” and never on the basis of “gender.”?
  4. In general, the gap in academic performance between black and white students has persisted in all measures of assessment despite the social engineering endeavors the U.S. government has undertaken since the 1960s through Head Start, integrated schools, nutrition and health programs, etc. To explain this situation, scientists and researchers have offered many different explanations. For example,
    a. According to Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the authors of the 1994 book, the “Bell Curve,” the persistence of this gap is due to the fact that Black Americans are genetically inferior to Whites. They also argue that there is something called “general intelligence,” which is “heritable” and measured by IQ tests. Whites inherit good genes, which make them more “intelligent” than Blacks who inherit flawed genes.
    b. For their part, John Ogbu, a Nigerian Anthropologist, and McWhorter, an African American Linguistic Professor at Columbia University, attribute this gap to the choices many inner-city blacks have made by refusing to embrace the dominant group’s culture when they adopt Oppositional Attitudes to Whiteness.
    Present a critique of these explanations. From your perspective, what factors account for the persistent gap in academic performance between white and black students?
  5. In the textbook, The Matrix of Race, Social Construction, Intersectionality, and Inequality, Rodney D. Coates et al., argue that
    George Washington was adamantly against the use of slaves in the military, but the ravages of the winter of 1777-78 and the devastation of the Continental army by both disease and desertion forced him to reconsider. He reluctantly granted Rhode Island permission to raise a regiment of free blacks and slaves. A total of 5,000 free Blacks and slaves served in the Continental army and the first integrated units of the US military were created. Black and White men fought alongside each other almost on an equal footing, receiving the same pay, facing the same danger, and providing the same levels of skill and courage (2022: 391).
    What were the reasons that led the first leaders of this country to end that harmonious and successful inter-racial relationship after the triumph of the US Revolution?
  6. The 2010 US census listed “mixed racial group” as a category for the first time in US racial classification. However, while Facebook offers 58 “gender” options to its clients, the US census failed to address this issue all together. Instead, it has continued to adhere to the binary male/female “gender” classification.
    Discuss the predicament of the non-binary sectors of the US populations.
    • As you see it, do you believe that the census’ reluctance to abandon the binary designation will make it difficult for some of individuals who are in an ambiguous “gender” situation to identify and define themselves in the US social maelstrom?
    • How do you think the binary “gender” classification the US Census continues to use, impedes and affects those individuals who are in a transitional “gender” phase in their lives?
  7. On August 7, 2011, the then African American mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, delivered a speech at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, to address the social ills that had been affecting the Black community. The speech was delivered in the aftermath of a violent flash mob, which numbered several hundred Black youths, who went on a rampage, destroying property and physically assaulting innocent bystanders in the city’s business and commercial center. Nutter addressed the issue of public safety and responded to the violence by declaring a curfew for teens. He also promised to criminalize parents whose children broke the law. The mayor then began to browbeat Black youth by proclaiming to the Black churchgoers that the mob had “made shame on our race.” Referring to “respectability politics” in his speech, the Black mayor stated,
    If you want all of us—black, white, or any other color—if you want us to respect you, if you want us to look at you in a different way, if you want us not to be afraid to walk down the same side of the street with you, if you want folks not to jump out of the elevator when you get on, if you want folks to stop following you around in stores when you’re out shopping, if you want somebody to offer you a job or an internship somewhere, if you don’t want folks to be looking in or trying to go in a different direction when they see two or twenty of you coming down the street, then stop acting like idiots and fools, out in the streets of the city of Philadelphia.
    “And another thing,” the mayor thundered, “take those doggone hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up.”
    At that point, members of the congregation chimed in to help him finish his thoughts as he and the audience screamed together, “buy a belt, because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt. Buy a belt, buy a belt!”
    Do you think that the Black leaders who support and promote the “politics of respectability” are doing so to please the “white gaze” or are they doing it for other reasons?
  8. In general, most Social Scientists disagree with the hereditarians and do not support that nonwhites are genetically inferior to and less “intelligent” than whites. Instead, to explicate why, in general, blacks lag behind whites by all measures of assessment, many of them, like Oscar Lewis, have biologized the nonwhite groups’ cultural practices through the Culture of Poverty Theory. If they abandon the culture of poverty and embrace whiteness, these scientists argue, they will be successful
    Do you think these social scientists’ and Lewis’ arguments constitute a more realistic and convincing reasoning than that of the hereditarians to explicate the differences in achievements between the two groups?

Answer preview for referring to this quote, do you agree with the contention of many scholars who claim that people without power, regardless of their “racial” characteristics, cannot be racist?


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