96 posts categorized "Race and Ethnicity"

November 25, 2013

Race Education at Your Front Door

WinklewagnerFULL By Rachelle Winkle-Wagner
University of Wisconsin - Madison 
Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

After a devastating report about racial stratification in Madison, Wisconsin, the city in which I live, I am thinking a lot about social stratification and the way in which we keep reenacting it. In the report in Madison, the findings maintained that although the city is outwardly progressive, with a major university and many self-proclaimed White liberals, it way may also be one of the “racist cities in America” in terms of racial stratification; over three-quarters of the city’s Black population live in poverty, and there are persistent racial disparities in educational outcomes.

As a White scholar of race in education, I am particularly interested in the “education” that people are getting about race, not just in our formal brick-and-mortar institutions, but in everyday life.  Recently, a woman in a suburb of Detroit, Renisha McBride, had a car accident in the middle of the night. Unarmed, and needing help, she knocked on a door of a suburban White homeowner, and she was shot in the head. Since then, the homeowner has made a claim that the shooting was “justified” because he feared for his safety. While the homeowner is facing murder and manslaughter charges, his case is likely to rest on whether he was “reasonable” to shoot an unarmed Black woman in the face.  

Continue reading "Race Education at Your Front Door" »

November 22, 2013

Football and the Performance of Race

WynnBy Jonathan Wynn

The discussion of the Jonathan Martin/Ritchie Incognito case would be incomplete without mention of its racial components.

It was somewhat unsurprising that even after news of his alleged harassment that Dolphins teammates rallied around Incognito. He seemed to be a team leader, and well liked for his puckish demeanor. What was surprising was the way they did it. The Miami Herald detailed a series of player reactions to the Incognito’s alleged racism with all voices claiming that he wasn’t racist. He is, to them, an “honorary black man.”

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November 18, 2013

The Sociology of Harassment

WynnBy Jonathan Wynn

Last year I wrote about pranks and I have received several phone calls over the last two weeks from sports radio folks wanting me to talk about the alarming story coming out of the Miami Dolphins football team. These talk radio guys seem to want to know: “Isn’t a prank just a prank?” The answer has to do with power, institutions, masculinity in sports and, in this case, race.

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November 07, 2013

Racism on College Campuses

Peter_kaufmanBy Peter Kaufman

 A few weeks ago there was a racist incident on my campus. In one of the resident Racist msghalls, a message was written on a whiteboard that said, “Emmett Till Deserved to Die.” After the message was removed a new message appeared shortly thereafter that said, “You Can’t Erase the Truth.”

Unless you know the story of Emmett Till, you are probably unaware of how hateful and threatening this racist message is. For those who didn’t learn this story in history class (which is probably most of us), Emmett Till was  fourteen years old when he was kidnapped and brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly talking to a white woman.

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October 18, 2013

Redskins, Blackskins, Brownskins, Whiteskins: Race and Team Mascots

Peter_kaufmanBy Peter Kaufman 

This is a busy and stressful time to be President of the United States: The government was until recently shutdown, he’s facing an impasse with Congressional Republicans, the on-going violence in Syria (not to mention the rest of the Middle East), the recent commando raids in Libya and Somalia, the early snags of the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare), and the naming of the new chief of the Federal Reserve. Despite all of this, President Obama found time recently to weigh in on a matter that many Americans are probably more familiar with than most of these other current events: The Washington Redskins football team mascot.  

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September 04, 2013

White Privilege and Orange is the New Black

WynnBy Jonathan Wynn 

Summertime’s for fun and relaxation, but unfortunately the switch controlling the sociology part of my brain rarely turns off. So when I watched the Netflix show, Orange is the New Black, a few gears turned in my head. If you didn’t see it or read the book, you might want to look it up. Race. Class. Gender. Culture. Mental health. Deviance. Religion. Drugs. It’s a streaming Intro to Sociology class ready for unpacking!

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August 30, 2013

Good Times and Social Problems

Pratt-HarrisPhotoBy Natasha C. Pratt-Harris, Assistant Professor & Criminal Justice Program Coordinator
Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Morgan State University      

When I was a college student, I scheduled classes around syndicated episodes of Good Times, a 1970s sitcom about the intact African American Evans family of five who lived in a housing project on the south side of Chicago. Although the show had been off the air for nearly 15 years and I had watched every episode, I found myself running back to my dorm room between classes to watch the show. 

I am sure that if YouTube or a smart phone were around then, I would have had more ease in satisfying my Good Times fix.  While I thought I was being purely entertained, I was an evolving sociologist who was experiencing social problems on the tube.  My near-obsession with the show made sense when I became a professor.  When I teach social problems in the classroom, I often discuss the Good Times story lines.  I had come to realize that what I once thought was purely humorous could become a tool in an online class. 

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August 15, 2013

Reducing Bias and Prejudice

RaskoffBy Sally Raskoff

How can we work to reduce bias and prejudice?

In past research we have seen that working together on a common task with equal status reduces bias and prejudice. The film, American History X, has a good example of that as the main characters work together in the prison laundry and slowly get to know each other as human beings rather than as members of different races about which they have strong opinions. Homeboy Industries, the Los Angeles gang intervention program that Karen Sternheimer has blogged about, includes former gang rivals working together to eliminate conflict. However, considering the issues of confirmation bias, where we seek out information that reinforces our pre-existing beliefs,  not to mention the impracticality of setting up such situations, these might not always work to reduce bias and prejudice. What else can we do?

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August 05, 2013

Discrimination, Prejudice and the Law

RaskoffBy Sally Raskoff

When the U.S. Supreme Court makes decisions, it is to enforce and clarify the limits of the law. We, the people, rejoice when legal decisions come our way or compliment our point of view. When those decisions are not aligned with our way of thinking, we complain.

In 1965, the Civil Rights Act and other laws that were passed which resulted in advancements in opportunity and equal rights based on race, ethnicity, and gender. In response to the Civil Rights and women’s movements, many states eased their laws restricting abortion and in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court’s  Roe v. Wade decision improved women’s access to reproductive health care by legalizing abortion and asserting a woman’s constitutional right to control her own body and make decisions about her fertility. In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court made two decisions that improved access to marriage rights for same-sex couples.

In each set of decisions, some people applauded the changes, some protested.

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July 11, 2013

What You See Isn’t Always What May Be: Confirmation Bias

RaskoffBy Sally Raskoff

Confirmation bias is a fascinating dynamic. What we see may not be what we judge it to be. What we think we are seeing may just be what we expect it to be.

A new study by sociologists Aliya Saperstein and Andrew M. Penner highlights how social status cues, mixed with gender, may change judgments and perceptions about racial group membership.

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