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Institutional racism and racial stereo-typing in America.

The semester is over and you're flying home for the holidays. Near the end of the flight, you begin talking to the white, middle aged woman sitting next to you. She asked what you're studying at GWU and you tell her about the classes you have taken. When you mention the Race and Minority Relations class she gets animated. She is 'fed up' with complaints about racism in the society. 'We have a black President; she asserts. 'What better evidence is there that we are now in a post-racial society? People have equal opportunity, and if they don't succeed, it's their own fault. We need to stop obsessing about our history and about isolated cases of racism and pay attention to the deficit and how to cut all this spending for people who are just too lazy to succeed'. You start to answer, but just then the flight attendances that the plane is preparing to land. 'I'd like to continue this conversation', you tell the woman. 'Would you mind if I wrote you letter during the holidays explaining my views on this?' She gives you her address and says she'd be happy to receive your letter.

Assignment:

Thinking about our class lectures/discussions, the required reading, the videos we saw, and the newspaper articles you've read, write a letter to this woman that clearly, persuasively and specifically:

A. Describes the concepts of white privilege and the self-perpetuating cycle of negative stereotyping, explaining how they are legacies of our history of racial oppression, and illustrates how they still affect us today.

White privilege refers to benefits and incentives that white people enjoy simply because of their skin color. Because white people have been in control of government, business, religion and other areas of society for several hundred years now it makes sense that they have organized these areas to best suit them. By administrating these organizations in ways that are beneficial to whites they are purposefully or perhaps unwittingly making it very difficult for minorities to succeed in these organizations.

It should be understood that white privilege does not automatically mean that there is hatred toward specific minorities or even hatred of a minority group in general. It is very possible that white privilege is something that white people do not even consciously think about. They just assume that things have always been this way and don't see the system as racist, rather it is normal to them.

I would encourage the lady from the plane to consider the following series of questions and ask herself if she can identify with them or not. All of these questions illustrate the principle of white privilege.

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A. Describes the concepts of white privilege and the self-perpetuating cycle of negative stereotyping, explaining how they are legacies of our history of racial oppression, and illustrates how they still affect us today.

White privilege refers to benefits and incentives that white people enjoy simply because of their skin color. Because white people have been in control of government, business, religion and other areas of society for several hundred years now it makes sense that they have organized these areas to best suit them. By administrating these organizations in ways that are beneficial to whites they are purposefully or perhaps unwittingly making it very difficult for minorities to succeed in these organizations.

It should be understood that white privilege does not automatically mean that there is hatred toward specific minorities or even hatred of a minority group in general. It is very possible that white privilege is something that white people do not even consciously think about. They just assume that things have always been this way and don't see the system as racist, rather it is normal to them.

I would encourage the lady from the plane to consider the following series of questions and ask herself if she can identify with them or not. All of these questions illustrate the principle of white privilege.

If I need to move, can I be sure that I will be able to find a house that I can afford in a neighborhood that I like? Could I be pretty sure that my neighbors in this scenario would be happy to have me as a neighbor?

Can I turn on the television or read the newspaper and see people of my race widely represented?

When my children learn about their national heritage and/or our great country in school, will they learn that people of their race made this country great?

Can I buy something with a check or credit card and be confident that my race will not play a part in the store's perception of my financial responsibility?

Do I worry about how my children will be treated as a result of their race rather than their personal behavior and choices?
Have I ever been asked to speak for all the people in my racial group?

If I ask to speak to the manager or person in charge can I be pretty confident that I'll be speaking to someone of my own race?

Can I easily buy postcards, greeting cards, picture books, dolls, toys and magazines that feature people of my race?
Can my children get into an elite university without people wondering whether the only way they were accepted is because of affirmative action initiatives?

If the answer to all or most of these questions is yes then you probably have or are currently benefitting from white privilege.

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html (for your personal use)

Negative stereotyping has been around as long as humans have been around. I used to live in Tennessee and we would tell jokes about rednecks from Alabama. The Germans told jokes about the Poles. Brazilians tell jokes about the Portuguese. Italians poke fun at Sicilians. The English mock the Welsh and Londoners mock other Englishmen from the north. We tell blond jokes which are almost without exception negative and stereotype all blonds into one category.

Negative racial stereotyping simply lumps people into one group based on race rather than gender, nationality or other factor. Racial stereotyping is the result of the historical interaction of Europeans with other civilizations they came into contact with. Europeans enjoyed many advantages over other races such as weapons, literature, technology, science among other things. When they came across they recognized their superiority but inaccurately assumed that their superiority was a result of their race rather than as a result of other factors.

Historical racial stereotypes ...

Solution Summary

This discussion focuses on racial issues such as profiling, stereotyping, oppression and institutional racism. Over 2,650 words of original text along with links to informative websites.

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