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"Racism as a Social Construct of Education"

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Dayna Batto

on 25 June 2015

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Transcript of "Racism as a Social Construct of Education"

The Role of the Teacher

Racism: A Learned Trait

"The use of positive role models from the community is an integral and valuable component for promoting multicultural education in the schools." -- Jenne Parks
Learning with the Curriculum

Richard Morgan from D'Youville College states, "One tactic a teacher could utilize to remove racism from classrooms is to take a critical look at the materials which the students use to learn."


Dr. Suess -- "The Sneetches" & "The Zax"
"Racism as a Social Construct of Education"
By: Meagan, Dayna, Maria and Melissa
Work Cited
Zack, N. (2002). Philosophy of science and race. New York: Routledge.
The Social Constructs of Racism
• According to Nieto, “one of the reasons schools are reluctant to tackle racism and discrimination is that these are disturbing topics for those who have traditional benefited by their race, gender, and social class”

• (Teacher Dilemma) Donaldson found that many teachers were in denial about racism and it effects in schools.

• Teachers tend not to go out of their comfort zone and research students backgrounds, the community they are in.

• Teachers do not broaden their understanding and do not create an affirming learning environment for all their students.

Racism in Education
Multicultural Techniques: Incorporating Anti-Racism in the Classroom
The Realities of Racism
The Science of Racism

Why We Need A Multicultural Educational Society
Philosophy of Science and Race by Naomi Zach

○ Phenotype-
the observable constitution of an organism
○ Genealogy-
a record or account of the ancestry and decent of a person, family, group, etc.
○ Transmission Genetics-

inheritance of specific biological traits

Overview of Nieto and Bode
"There is no scientific evidence that so-called racial groups differ in biologically or genetically significant ways"

● Race vs. Racism:

Why there is no such thing as "race"
Race is a Social Construction
○ Racial Bias
African Americans and Haitians are Both




People Inherit Appearance
● So why should we refer to students as
Color is the Salient Issue
● "The failure of a phenotypical basis for race entails the failure of hypothesis that phenotypic differences between social races are the evolutionary effects of differences in environmental conditions, because the apparent phenotypic differences in social races cannot be translated into scientific generalizations. There is too much phenotypic variety within social racial groups to scientifically identify those groups based on phenotypes".
Henrietta Lacks
○ HeLa

○ Recognition
(Or lack of)

● "The overall difference within the human species is believed to be 0.2 percent of all human genetic material"
○ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“Race is socially constructed” -

it is an idea produced by human thought and interaction rather than something that exists as a material fact of life on earth. Even though biologically, there are no 'races', the social construction of race as a category is alive and well today.
Influences of Racism

short video to show racist today.
Most of the time can occur unconsciously. In their own behavior – facial expressions and body language. Sometimes it can be more obvious – people talking about their biases out loud. Friends and family teach kids at a young age that it is right to discriminate among people and culture.
Family and Family
Personal Experiences
Racial Profiling: the use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense.

Example: Racial profiling also became a concern for Arab Americans and Muslim Americans following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Because the perpetrators of the crime were of Arab descent, Arabs in America complain that they are placed under intense scrutiny at airports and other locations. Although whites have committed domestic terrorist attacks, they’ve yet to be profiled in the way Arabs in America have been.

Racial Profiling
Stereotyping is something that all individuals do on a daily basis, whether consciously or subconsciously. A stereotype is an inaccurate generalization about a person or a group of people, and can be both positive and negative. Whenever you make judgments about people without knowing them, you are stereotyping them. Stereotyping makes people generalize things

Racial discrimination. It can occur when certain people experience unequal treatment due to their possession of specific characteristics associated with certain races.

The Media
As a major institution in society, the media play a critical role. They provide us with definitions about who we are as a nation; they reinforce our values and norms; they give us concrete examples of what happens to those who transgress these norms; and most importantly, they perpetuate certain ways of seeing the world and people within that world.

When talking about the people in Afghanistan, they do not mention the innocent civilians just trying to provide a decent living for their family. They talk about them killing Americans.

Racial Stereotypes:
All Hispanics don’t speak English very well or not at all.
All Muslims are terrorists.
All white people are racist.

Gender Stereotypes:
Women are bad drivers
Men love sports

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

● Ruled that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution deals with political, not social, equality.
○ 14th Amendment states:
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

● Linda Brown was denied admission to her local elementary school because she was

● Judge Earl Warren overruled "separate but equal" doctrine, established by Plessy v. Ferguson

● Case developed because of resentment among Black and Creole residents in New Orleans and was supported by the railroad companies because they didn't feel like they should have to pay for extra, separate railroad cars

● Initiated the development of

Jim Crow Laws

○ legalized segregation between Blacks and Whites
○ Discriminatory laws enacted to wipe out the gains made by Blacks during Reconstruction
○ Railways, streetcars, waiting rooms, restaurants, boarding houses, theaters, buses, and public parks were legally segregated
○ Public institutions like schools, hospitals, and even places of employment, were designed to segregate Blacks, usually of inferior quality

○ For the first time, segregation in public schools was a violation of the 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution

○ Segregation was deemed to hinder full development of students--no matter how "equal" the school facilities might be

● In 1955, the Supreme Court declared that schools must be desegregated "with all deliberate speed".

● Decision gave impetus to the Civil Rights movement in the 50s and 60s

● Distinguished parallels between race segregation on trains and in education facilities

● Overruled Jim Crow Laws

Social construction
is how society groups people and how it privileges certain groups over others. Race, class and gender don’t really mean anything. They only have a meaning because society gives them a meaning.

Example: You are a woman or a man because society tells you that you are, not because you choose to be.

This social construction in this society is segregating us depending on our physical appearance and our material possessions. We are seen differently because of where we live, where we come from and how we look.

Examples of Social Construction: Women are weak, therefore men, who are strong and controlling, should be the ones in power. If you live in an apartment, then you must be from the lower class, but if you live in a house then you must be either middle or upper class. If you go to a private school then you must be rich, but if you go to a public school then most certainly you’re poor or low income.

TALKING About Racism

Bringing Reality Into Focus

Freedom Writers - "Not so different"

Why is this important?
Much like our writing assignment over, "Humans Need Not Apply", to keep racism out of the classroom means being able to connect with your students and observe their needs and growth. Where a student comes from is going to be an important part of how they learn and grow, and when an instructor shows that they are willing to learn about the culture and diverse background that theirs students have, those students will be more comfortable in their classroom environment and be more susceptible to change.
Improved Socialization

Life Long Opportunity

Connection and Understanding

"A sound multicultural education model manifests an acceptance of a respect for all cultures in our pluralistic society. It fosters positive self-regard in one’s own culture and positive attitudes toward the culture of others." -- Jenne Parks

Canestrari, A. S, & Marlowe, B. A. (Third Edition). (2013). Educational Foundations: An Anthology of Critical readings. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

May, L. (n.d.). Racism and its Affect on Society. Retrieved from http://www.teenink.com/nonfiction/travel_culture/article/464320/Racism-and-its-Affect-on-Society/

Stereotypes Examples. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2015, from http://fos.iloveindia.com/stereotypes-examples.html
Lorber, Judith. “Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender.” Race, class, and gender in the United States: an integrated study. Ed. Paula S. Rothenberg. Worth Publishers: New York, NY, 2007.
Richard, Morgan. "Eliminating Racism in the Classroom. Received from: http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/racism_morgan.html
Parks, Jenne. The Importance of Teaching Multiculturalism & Diversity. Received from: http://www.hatchearlylearning.com/teaching-multiculturalism-diversity/
Skloot, R. (2010). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown.
Brown vs. board of education decision: 40 years later. (1994, Jun 06). Jet, 86, 26. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/199978487?accountid=7122

Thomas, B. (1997). Plessy v. ferguson: A brief history with documents. Boston: Bedford Books.
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