Sociology 120

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Last updated: May 13, 2019

Takaki’s interaction with cab driver representative of the connection between race and American identity in the US:
Based on Takaki’s interaction with the cab driver, this event was representative of the stereotyping in America according to race.

This unconscious assumption that those who do not have the typical ‘American’ look (light hair and pale skin) must be a new foreigner to America (seen through a filter – Master Narrative).

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How does the description of the experience of Jewish American and Irish American immigrants complicate our definition of racial minorities:
The definition racial minority stems from the size of a certain race. But in fact, more and more foreigners come and are hardworking and active in society to create a better life for their future generations (Jewish Americans= textiles, cramped impoverished homes, assimilation; Irish Americans= labor competition with blacks).

The growth of foreigners has led them to be a ‘majority’ (p. 5 currently 1/3 of Americans do not trace ancestries to Europe). These minorities are central to America’s growth.

Why is it important for Americans to develop a more multicultural understanding of our history:
In Takaki’s view, it is so important for Americans to develop a more multicultural understanding of our history because he feels that it is important to know the ‘full’ history of American, not just focusing on European/White American history, which is what is the majority taught in class. Although African American history is touched on in schools, the Master Narrative controls what is focused. Asian American, Mexican-American, Irish-American, Jewish American, etc.

are barely taught or not even at all even though these minority groups were a big contribution to what America is today. Takaki finds this important because he believes in not having a “complete lack of information” and “ignorance” (p. 6) to where we live. I do agree that there should be a balance of information when it comes to what different races had struggled through in order to appreciate what America is today. As a Filipino-American born in the U.

S., I do not recall learning much about Asian/Jewish/Mexican culture in American schools.

Laying a racist foundation:
Slavery was a side matter at the Constitutional Convention.

Slavery was central – James Madison made clear. Madison accented how the convention was scissored across a north/south, slave/not slave divide among states. Southern and northern regions were gradually diverging in their politicoeconomic frameworks. Northern states were moving away from slavery because of their local economies, and some were growing a abolitionist sentiment.

But, northern merchants, shippers, and consumers still depended on products produced by southern slaves.

A house founded on racism:
historical events represent, reflect, and embed the tangible realities of everyday life—both means of concrete oppression and means of symbolizing and thinking about domination. Anti-Black racism is centrally about the lived experiences and interactions of black and white Americans.

The founders’ decisions and understandings still shape lives of all Americans in many different ways.

Patterns of undeserved enrichment and impoverishment:
Du Bois demonstrated that extreme poverty and degradation in the African colonies was a main cause of wealth and luxury in Europe. The results of the poverty were disease, ignorance, and crime. Du Bois showed that this impoverishment was directly and centrally linked to European prosperity and affluence. Unjust enrichment is associated with relationships between individuals; discusses the reality and consequences of racist oppression.

Unjust impoverishment should describe conditions of those who suffer oppression. For over 14 generations, the exploitation of blacks has redistributed income and wealth earned by them to generations of white Americans.

Social reproduction:
Transmitting wealth over generations: For systemic racism to persist across many generations, it must reproduce the necessary socioeconomic conditions (conditions include substantial control by whites of major economic resources and possession of the political, police, and ideological power to dominate subordinated racial groups). Systemic racism is perpetuated by social processes that reproduce not only racial inequality but there is a fundamental racist relation between the oppressed and the oppressors.

This alienated relationship, which undergirds the racial hierarchy, is reproduced across all areas of societal life, from one neighborhood to the next, from one city to the next, from one generation to the next. Each new generation inherits the organizational structures-both economic and political institutions- that protect unjust enrichment and unjust impoverishment. Important too is the reproduction from one generation to the next of the ideological apparatus—the racist ideology and the concomitant set of racist attitudes—that rationalizes and legitimates racial oppression.

The extraordinary costs and burdens of racism:
Unjustly gained wealth and privilege for whites is linked directly to undeserved immiseration for black Americans (this is true for past generations and today’s). The average black person lives about six years less than the average white person. An average black family earns about 60 percent of the income of an average white family—and has only 10 percent of the economic wealth of an average white family. In the social science literature much has been made of the impact of historical racism on black families, subculture, or values, sometimes as part of a blame-the-victim perspective. The impact of systemic racism on the social, economic, political, and educational resources and opportunities available to black Americans for over fifteen generations has restricted their achievements and has shaped the opportunities of descendants for generations (blacks can not prosper and their descendants will retain a serious and long-lived disadvantage relative to whites).

The public wages of whiteness:
White workers have accepted what W.E.B.

Du Bois called the “public and psychological wage” of whiteness, instead of the greater economic wages they might have had if they had joined in strong organizations with black workers. Class consciousness among white workers has to a substantial degree been decentered by a racial consciousness. Class oppression is obscured by the elites’ use of a racist ideology and by white workers’ buying into that ideology and into the concrete advantages they see as stemming from it.

The white racial frame:
White Americans have developed a strong ideology defending their own privileges and conditions as meritorious and accenting the alleged inferiority and deficiencies of those being oppressed.

Resisting systemic racism:
Historical analysis indicates that racist oppression regularly breeds resistance. Racist structures heavily shape the lives of human beings, but when human agents gain solid knowledge about these structures of oppression, they can use that knowledge to rebel. We see evidence of changes in the racist system in the many conspiracies to revolt, and periodic insurrections, of enslaved African Americans that took place between the mid-1600s and the 1850s. In addition, in the decades before the Civil War hundreds of thousands of black and white (female and male) abolitionists organized actively against slavery. Continuing resistance could again be seen in the rise of the Niagara movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the early 1900s, which built a strong tradition of legal action and educational efforts against racism (see chapter 8).These movements also laid the basis for the later civil rights movement that brought some changes in the operation of systemic racism by the 1960s and 1970s.

Over their long and arduous history with racism, black Americans have created or participated in many resistance organizations, some of which are still working actively today.

MLK’s curious formula:
it declares that a black man is only 50% of a person. Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. Of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites.

The curious formula’s historical origins:
the Constitution

Concrete examples of the curious formula that King discusses:
Thus, half of all Negroes live in substandard housing. And Negroes have half the income of whites. When we turn to the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share: There are twice as many unemployed; the rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites; and there are twice as many Negroes dying in Vietnam as whites in proportion to their size in the population.`

King’s 5 concrete goals:
1.

Massively assert our dignity and worth2. Organize our strength into economic and political power3. Reaffirm our commitment to Nonviolence4. Stick with Love5. Restructure the whole of a American society

Triple Evils:
racism, militarism, materialism (economic exploitation)

How to overcome triple evils:
whole structure must be changed-America must be born again.

How was the Spring of 1967 a turning point for MLK:
“Vietnam was the axis around which the whole planet seemed to be seeking new directions, new ways out of darkness. The coming 12 months would draw a dividing line in world history as critical as any in the 20th century.”

What does Burns mean when he says that Dr.

King decided in May of 1967 that the civil rights movement was over – had blacks actually achieved equality in America?:

“It is necessary for us to realize,” he explained, “that we have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of human rights. When you deal with human rights you are not dealing with something clearly defined in the Constitution. They are rights that are clearly defined by the mandates of a humanitarian concern.

” Blacks had not achieved equality because “During the previous two years, when it became evident that the historic civil rights laws would not sweep away racism or poverty, he had come to see the inadequacy of individual rights.” “By 1967 King seemed to be following the example of Malcolm X, who near the end of his life stressed the need to “expand the civil-rights struggle to a higher level—to the level of human rights.”

Why was King moving away from an emphasis on individual civil rights – what was he moving toward?
“By 1967 King seemed to be following the example of Malcolm X, who near the end of his life stressed the need to “expand the civil-rights struggle to a higher level—to the level of human rights.” there was a necessity to go beyond constitutional rights. According to this deeper view that King took on, rights were more than private possessions. They were a moral imperative that transcended individual needs. He was rehabilitating the old preindustrial meaning of right: something that was right or just (righteous), that one therefore had a “right” to.

Rights rightly understood were not whatever a person claimed as his or her due, with no boundaries; but what was required for all people, and thus for each, by the higher laws of justice and love. They were those entitlements that constituted the moral foundation of the beloved community.

According to Burns, what was at the core of the revolution of values that King advocated at the end of his life ?
“For the last 12 years we have been in a reform movement.” But “after Selma and the voting rights bill, we moved into a new era, which must be an era of revolution. We must see the great distinction between a reform movement and a revolutionary movement. We are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society.

” The rules must be changed. There must be a revolution of values. Only by reallocating and redefining power would it be possible to wipe out the triple interlocking evils of racism, exploitation, and militarism.

In Burns’ view, what is relevance of King’s legacy today?
King’s calling for a full-blown human rights movement, a “human rights revolution” that would place economic justice at the center.

The aim of the human rights movement would be to achieve genuine integration—meaning shared power—and genuine equality, requiring a “radical redistribution of economic and political power.”

Why do you think we learn so much about King the dreamer, and so little about King the revolutionary?
We learn what the master narrative wants us to learn to keep us in place, to not give us any ideas of starting a revolution.

How does Howard Zinn describe relations between Europeans – the Spanish and British – and indigenous Americans in the “New World”?
The indigenous Americans welcomed the Europeans with food, water, and gift while Columbus’ first thought was that their passiveness would make them good servants

How do Zinn’s version, and the version presented in The Canary Effect, differ from other versions of this history that you’re familiar with (i.e., the “master narrative”)?
Zinn’s version and the Canary Effect differ from the master narrative because it taught me of the horrendous acts that were made to conquer and establish the United States. I think that is why we don’t usually learn about this-because we can’t fathom that our country was ‘founded’ by horrible terrorists.

As Feagin put it, “This nation was born in blood and violence against the racialized “others.”

What approach to history does Howard Zinn adopt in his article, “Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress?
That we must not accept the memory of the states as our own, that nations are not communities and never have been, and that it is the job of the people to not be on the side of the executioners.

According to Feagin, what was the “largest case of human destruction” in recorded history? Under international law, what crime is the perpetrator of these acts guilty of?: attacking native americans is the largest case of human destruction in recorded history.
Under international law, what crime is the perpetrator of these acts guilty of?: attacking native americans is the largest case of human destruction in recorded history.

How many Africans are thought to have died during the transatlantic slave trade (also known as the “Black Holocaust”)? 28 Million
28 Million

What was New York’s famous Wall Street known for during the colonial era?
One of the first large colonial markets where whites bought and sold slaves.

What percentage of African Americans are believed to have at least one white ancestor? Why?
It is estimated today that at least three-quarters of “black” Americans have at least one white ancestor because many black women were raped by white men.

How was slavery in the U.

S. distinct from other forms of slavery? American slaves were forbidden by law to read or write, they were denied human liberties (could not own anything, make no contracts, could not hold property, could not legally marry), they were reduced to the status of things to be bought and sold, they were forced to learn the language of their oppressors.

American slaves were forbidden by law to read or write, they were denied human liberties (could not own anything, make no contracts, could not hold property, could not legally marry), they were reduced to the status of things to be bought and sold, they were forced to learn the language of their oppressors.

How significant was slavery to the economic development of Great Britain, France and the U.

S.? A substantial proportion of the wealth of the New England and Middle Atlantic colonies came from slave plantations. From the early 1700s to mid 1800s, much of the surplus capital and wealth of North American came directly from slave trade and plantations. Cotton-a labor of slaves-spurred the wheels of British, U.

S., and international commerce. Industry, and without the cotton textile industry—the first major U.S. industry— it is unclear how or when the United States would have become a major industrial power.

A substantial proportion of the wealth of the New England and Middle Atlantic colonies came from slave plantations. From the early 1700s to mid 1800s, much of the surplus capital and wealth of North American came directly from slave trade and plantations. Cotton-a labor of slaves-spurred the wheels of British, U.S., and international commerce. Industry, and without the cotton textile industry—the first major U.S. industry— it is unclear how or when the United States would have become a major industrial power.

In the decade before the Civil War, what was the total value of enslaved Americans, and what does that figure “exceed”?
$2 billion; exceeding the total value of all northern factories.

What are some of the major ways in which “segregation’s economic impact” allowed European Americans to further increase their economic advantages over African Americans during the Jim Crow era?
Economic servitude to whites was the rule. A key problem was disconnection from the means of production in an agricultural economy: the lack of good land. Freed slaves were given land but once Johnson became president, he took it from them (Homestead Act, 1862). By the time the Southern Homestead Act (1866) came to be, they were unable to take full advantage of it because of widespread discrimination, intimidation, and violence against them.

Peggy McIntosh describes white privilege as “an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious.

” (p. 10) What does she mean by this statement?

Whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege but it is still there for their choice to use.

What are some of the examples McIntosh lists as taken for granted privileges she has access to because she is white in America?
she can choose to work in a company with mostly whitesshe is certain she can move anywhere she can afford/neighbors will be pleasantshe can go shopping without being harassedshe can arrange the protection of her children from people who don’t like them

From McIntosh’s perspective, why are we taught to view racism only as individual acts of meanness by whites, rather than as invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on European Americans? (p. 12)
They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

As “open racial bigotry” gradually becomes “a thing of the past,” what is the paradox facing those who study American race relations?
Sociologists increasingly are relying on a new framework to understand racism and develop solutions.Just in the past six months, at least five books — including one co-authored by Duster — have put forward a fresh analysis of racial injustice.

They set aside overt prejudice and individual acts of discrimination, which they assert actually may have little impact in today’s world. Instead they pull back the covers on social practices and policies sewn into the fabric of work, school and the medical system that favor whites.

What new framework are sociologists developing to better understand and seek solutions for contemporary racism?
Color-blind racism combines elements of liberalism in the abstract with anti-minority views to justify contemporary racial inequality. Frustrated with theories plainly unable to explain the problem, sociologists increasingly are relying on a new framework to understand racism and develop solutions. Just in the past six months, at least five books have put forward a fresh analysis of racial injustice. They set aside overt prejudice and individual acts of discrimination, which they assert actually may have little impact in today’s world. Instead they pull back the covers on social practices and policies sewn into the fabric of work, school and the medical system that favor whites. Even the most well-intentioned white person, they say, benefits from a legacy of accumulated preferential treatment.

In part, these scholars hope to inject new ways of thinking into California’s debate over the potential value of “color-blind” government policies to create a more equitable society. They aim to create new paradigms for pushing beyond historical discrimination in order to understand the roots of ongoing racial injustice.

What historical examples do they present to demonstrate how “racial privilege has been structured into the day-to-day workings” of American institutions?
Roosevelt’s New Deal aimed to protect the working class but revised by Congress to safeguard racial segregation as wellWagner Act allowed labor to shut black workers out from closed shops.Loans under the Federal Housing Act differentially provided whites the wherewithal to move into new suburbs, while federal subsidies built public housing to contain black migrants from the South in urban areas.Social Security Act excluded domestic and agricultural workers from old-age pension and unemployment compensationGI Bill that made millions of returning veterans and war industry workers eligible for low-interest mortgages and free access to higher education, whites benefited most

According to conservative intellectuals, what two problems arise when we use race conscious policies to address the problems of racial inequality?
People who use race classifications promote racial awareness and separatism, which in turn foster exclusion and discrimination.

What are some of the areas where race researchers are discovering examples of “colorblind racism” in the 21st century?
Well-paying jobsSegregation in housingDiscriminationPrivileges in housing, jobs, and education

What is the irony regarding many white Americans who support “colorblind racism”?
Most whites don’t see white as a race.

Like a fish in water, they don’t think about whiteness because it’s so beneficial to them.

How does Wellman define white racism?
“There is another approach to white racism. If we view it as a culturally sanctioned, rational response to struggles over scarce resources, we can account for its widespread character and avoid the inconsistencies and meaningless distinctions that arise when it is viewed as prejudice. But to do so means dropping certain assumptions and adding others.”

What does he view as its determining feature?
The determining feature of race relations is not prejudice against blacks, but rather the superior position of whites and institutions-ideological as well as structural-which maintain it.

According to Wellman, what is the “concrete problem” facing white Americans?
How is racism a strategy employed by whites to deal with this problem? The concrete problem is how to come to grips with the demands made by blacks while at the same time avoiding the possibility of institutional change and reorganization that might affect them. The ‘problem’ claimed by white Americans is that they do not want blacks to ‘take their spot’.

How do the interviews with white UC Berkeley students and white residents of Bensonhurst provide evidence to support Wellman’s argument?
White students of Berkeley:”Affirmative action is terrible for them””It’s no help fro black students””Affirmative action bring is people who don’t deserve to be here”Affirmative action recruits the wrong people”Affirmative action is unfair; it’s reverse discrimination””It’s people like us who belong at the university”White residents of Bensonhurst:”Blacks are taking over””Blacks are looking for trouble””Getting down for the neighborhood”

Do you find Wellman’s analysis of racism informative? Explain.
Yes and also extremely disturbing. Every white person’s conclusion was that minorities did not belong at Berkeley because they were not as qualified as anyone else, which is bullshit. How do they know that someone whom they’ve never spoken to isn’t smarter than them? They based their premises on the common stereotype that minorities, especially blacks, did not put in the work to study at a prestigious university and rather they earned the spot because of affirmative action. Some people even said that when they see minorities at school, the first thing that comes to their minds is affirmative action.

How are they not embarrassed to say that?

What does Thomas mean when he refers to the “the other history” of American race relations?
Few racial minorities and concerned whites are aware of the other side of American race relations – the interracial struggle for racial justice; cooperative efforts among blacks and whites for the social and economic advancement of African Americans; and the development of love, harmony, and fellowship within various religious communities. It has the greatest potential to inspire good race relations in contemporary America and it can help us break out of the contemporary cycle of racial polarization and fragmentation and move into a cycle of racial unity and harmony

Why does Thomas believe that it is so important for Americans of all racial backgrounds learn about the other tradition? Do you agree or disagree with Thomas? Defend your answer using course materials.
“Throughout the protracted struggle for racial justice and African American social advancement, there have always been courageous whites willing to sacrifice social status and even their lives for their African American brothers and sisters.

The vast majority believed in the social equality of all people. They tended to be concerned about the humanity of the slaves as about slavery. They were not satisfied with simply mentioning the wrongs of slavery and segregation; they wanted to participate in the struggle to elevate black men and women.”It is important for everyone to learn about the other tradition so they know that the decisions and acts of white supremacists did not reflect everyone’s beliefs of minorities, especially African Americans. Not all whites agreed on slavery and although we tend to focus on the wrongs that were done to African Americans, there were people that did all they could do to go against the common/popular belief.

Thaddeus Stevens
was the “greatest and most uncompromising of abolitionist democrats.

..No man demanded more for Negroes.

..or was more thoroughly an advocate of complete democracy.

” Spent most of his life fighting against slavery and the racial oppression of blacks. One of the few moral giants against slavery and defending runaways. Was a defense lawyer for African Americans even though white lives were lost, he crossed the line into the camp of whites who sided with black rights over white oppression with this. Kept the pressure on Lincoln to protect the rights of newly emancipated slaves. He hounded Lincoln on behalf of black rights.

He wanted more than to free the slaves. He played a leading role in the political empowerment of African Americans by working ceaselessly to obtain for them to vote. He realized they also needed economic independence.

Grimke sisters
demonstrated that whites born in the midst of the horrors of slavery could transform their lives into instruments of racial justice.

Both sisters gave up the privileges of Southern wealth and status to become abolitionists. They attacked the racial status quo (humiliation of blacks/what was popular). They were pioneers in the anti racism struggle. They fought racial prejudice among white abolitionists and slavery at the same time. They believed in social equality of blacks and whites. Angelina invited blacks to her wedding, a courageous act, because she was committed to the principle of social equality. Their lives offer a model of how far one can go in commitment to social justice and spiritual bonding across racial lines.

Both were deeply spiritually.

John Brown
made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of African Americans: his life and those of his sons. Was a white revolutionary. Believed in social equality of blacks and whites, did not accept the racial status quo, ate with blacks in the same table, shared his table and food with black workers. Brown provides the picture of a white person who was willing to sacrifice all he had to his passion for freedom for African Americans. His life holds more meaning for African Americans than any of the so called founding fathers.

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