Race Relations wake up call?

I am a college professor who teaches race relations. It amazes me how much my white students are pulled into the propaganda of white privilege and advantage. I find that my white students compared to that of my ethnic ones (non-whites) have a harder time understanding that racism is still a major part of our socitey today. They also do not understand to what extent white oppression has damaged African-American culture and thinking and how such damage is the number one cause as to why african- americans are the way they are today. So my questions are what would be the best way for me to give them a wake up call? Also, At what point did white americans fool themselves into thinking that we are not one of the major causes of black struggle? P.S I am white so do not assume that I do not understand both sides of the field. Also I only want educated responses. I have been researching race relations in the united states for a couple of years now. So all of my deducations have facts to back them up.

Answer #1

Dear collegeprofessor:

Race relations is one of my deapest passions. I am visibly white (although I have other ancestry) and I studied Sociology and English/Spanish Lit in undergrad. This background provides a different outlook onto race raltions, but I believe that the unawareness can be attributed to a few things; ignorance, the media, segregation and class divide. Few Americans understand the complex history of this country when it comes to race. It is indeed, within this ignorance, that the complexity is most visible. This country was founded and economically dependent apon dividing the races. Within the fabric of unawareness, is the risidual affects of this historical racial divide. Additionally, the media has transformed American and global culture and acts to create our perceptions of reality. Without a doubt, the media has maintained and perpetuated many images of black and white culture, often adding fuel to the fire. Segregation and class divide are very visible and keep people feeling as “others”, which allows the race myth and ignorance to continue. By now we should realize that all of this is BY DESIGN and the tool is TO DIVIDE AND CONQUER.

Answer #2

Dear collegeprofessor, Of course their thinking begins in the home. By the time you get them I fear their faulty thinking is embedded. I live in a part of Ontario Canada that is resounded for the underground railroad and Uncle Tom’s cabin. Even with this rich knowledge base I see a huge ignorance to the black struggles and the whites responsibility. I do see that this generation has a slightly less racist attitude then the previous. I hope that this trend continues till the day racism is only a discussion in a history class. So as far as a wake up call…good luck with that but as you know with knowledge comes power so keep pumping full of the knowledge and perhaps they will have the power to change then next generation and so on. Sue…good luck

Answer #3

I go to a High school that is very mixed race and there is so much racsim occuring. The white people portray themselves to be in a power position compared to the minorites pretty much meaning they think they are better than everyone else. It was the worst in my english class and when we started learning about racsim and iggnorance towards minorites not one white person could really grasp the concept of how opressed different minorites where treated including africans. My teacher amde us write an essay and when we got out papers back not one white person in the class passed. However every colored person got marks above 90%. of course every single white person was upset and very pissed off. Then my tecaher explained this is only a little part of what minorites go through and how they were not given equal rights. It was something people had to struggle with back then and how white people were still so ignorant and could not understand. Anyways this taught all the white people in my class how badly and wrongly minorites were treated and having to deal with these unfair issues everday. Of course the essay was not put oon our grade because there were essays written by white people that were very well written. My english teacher was just trying to prove a point and help people understand. I suggest doing something similiar to this make your students write an essay and give a poor grade to every single white person and see how they react when the colored people in your class get high grades. Then have a discussion on how this impacted them and how they felt and relate it back to the issue. anyways hopw this helps!

Answer #4

Some clever ideas there. I think that white people can be brought up to be aware of race relations (as you seem to imply). My 10 year old son came home furious the other day, as they’d been studying the issues of slums and favelas in school, and most kids in the class had laughed. He was furious because he could clearly identify with the people who lived in these shanty towns, and was really angry that others in the class had written them off as humerous or pointless.

I was proud of him - we’ve brought him up as a thinking member of a campaigning family, and we go to an international church with many friends of different races, so I guess these things have had an impact.

For those who haven’t had the benefit of growing up in a family which cares about justice and equality, I agree with sue90 that you have quite a battle on your hands. But if the class respect you, then you are in quite a powerful position to give them the knowledge which will change their outlook for life.

One other idea - I’ve seen a ‘justice’ meal idea where everyone draws tickets from a hat as they come into the room, and half of them turn out to have tickets for a great 3 course dinner and the other half have a ticket for bread and water, or rice and water. The reactions are varied, of course, but most people get to see the arbitrary nature of privilege, and either work to redress it as part of the meal, or at least think twice about taking their privileges for granted in future.

Answer #5

I think that you should try a project. For one day possibly reverse the roles. Treat the non-caucasian students extra special and pay no attention to the white students. The reason for the lack of understanding about other races is that you can’t know what someone has been through unless you’ve been there too.

Answer #6

try to find a way for them to see it from the eyes of an african american or a hispanic,like give them a hidden camera and send them into the world

let them see that you’ll be greatly judged by the way you look and the way you dress

they’ll be surprised

Answer #7

I’m mixed so I have no clue but since I have both I do understand,that back then slavery really got to blacks and white these days that are not racist and were not there during slavery dont understand much and dont care.whites kinda think as of why wut happened you know?like as for many white students in my social studies class,when our teachers talks about slavery around blacks in our class the blacks go crazy,I dont,but 100% blacks really do.the whites are zoned out.tehey werent there and sinc blacks that are our age werent either they wonder why black goes crazy.well in black race blacks know their history. they kinda get a glimpse as to what happened from grandparents,and generations on.

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