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Understanding Racism and Prejudice

Understanding Racism and Prejudice

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Understanding Racism and Prejudice

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  1. Understanding Racism and Prejudice Diller & Moule, Chapter 3

  2. Introduction • Diller & Moule (2005) argue that the majority of White Americans believe that this country is European in ancestry and White in Identity and that people of color are disturbed by their second class citizenry.

  3. Defining and Contextualizing Racism • Racism is • Universal • Exists across cultures • Emerges when there are perceivable differences among groups struggling for social power (look at the conflict in Kenya between Kikuyu and Luo)

  4. Defining and Contextualizing Racism • “Prejudice is a negative, inaccurate, rigid, and unfair way of thinking about members of another group” (Diller & Moule, 2005, p. 29) • Racism = prejudice & power that translates into behavior of the majority that impacts the object of the prejudice.

  5. Defining and Contextualizing Racism • Racism is broad and pervasive in all levels of society and has three levels • Individual Racism – actions of individuals that support racism • Institutional Racism – manipulation of societal institutions to benefit the majority and restrict the choices, rights, mobility, and access of others. • Cultural racism – cultural ways of one group are superior to another

  6. Defining and Contextualizing Racism • “…people tend to deny, rationalize, and avoid discussing their feelings and beliefs about race and ethnicity…. It is hard to look at and talk about race because there is so much pain and hurt involved” (Diller & Moule, 2005. p. 60). • Please read the example on pp. 31-32 in Diller & Moule (2005).

  7. Individual Racism and Prejudice • Why is it so easy to develop and maintain racial prejudices? • It grows out of normal human traits, comfort with similarity, suspicion, categorical thinking, over simplification. • In and out group • Stereotype of categorical thinking • “Re-fensing” deals with contradictions to the stereotype

  8. Psychological Theories of Prejudice • “In reality, there does not seem to be single theory that can adequatelyexplain the impetus toward racism in all individuals” (Diller & Moule, 2005, p. 35). • Frustration-aggression-displacement • Authoritarian Personality • Manipulation to achieve certain economic and political objectives (Look at the change in the political positions of George Wallace)

  9. Implications for Teachers • Dealing with racism in a healthy and non-self-destructive manner is, therefore, a major life challenge for many students. To be the continual object of a person’s hatred, as well as, the hatred of an entire social system is a source of enormous stress, and such stress often produces educational problems. (Diller & Moule, 2005, p. 36)

  10. Implications • See the “Murder of Emmett Till” at

  11. Implications for Teachers • Awareness of your own prejudices, previous knowledge, and how they might impact your perceptions, judgments, and behavior. (what is this picture)

  12. Implications for Teachers • The preceding picture was the Rift Valley

  13. Institutional Racism • Conscious or unconscious – the individuals working in the system may or may not be aware of the practices’ existence and the impact. • Intended or unintended – the practices may or may not have been purposely created. • “Lack of intent or awareness should never be regarded as a justification for the existence of institutional or individual racism” (Diller & Moule, 2005, p. 39)

  14. Implications for teachers • To the extent that the general structure, practices, and climate of a school make it impossible for Students of Color to receive culturally competent teaching, the efforts of individual teachers, no matter how skilled, are drastically compromised. (Diller & Module, 2005, p. 42)

  15. Cultural Racism • Schools, like ethnic groups, have their own cultures: languages, ways of doing things, values, attitudes toward time, standards of appropriate behavior and so on. As participants in schools, students are expected to adopt, share, and exhibit these cultural patterns. (Diller & Module, 2005, p. 43)

  16. Cultural Racism • Herein lies the real insidiousness of cultural racism: those who are culturally different must either give up their own ways, and thus a part of themselves, and take on the ways of the majority culture or remain perpetual outsiders. (Diller & Module, 2005, p. 43)

  17. Implications for Teachers • Be aware of the cultural values they bring to the classroom and acknowledge how different these values may be from those of some their students and their parents. • Teaching across cultures must involve negotiation around values that define the learning environment. • Teacher preparation is culture bound; cultures differ in terms of definition of success and the teacher’s role.

  18. Summary • U.S is European in ancestry and White in identity in culture. • Racism = prejudice + power to create behavior that leads to the systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have little social power … by members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power.

  19. Summary • Racism involves • Individual • Institutional • Cultural

  20. Summary • Implications for teachers • Understand how the stress of racism creates challenges for students of color • Understand how your culture and values impact what you perceive, think, and do • Understand how your organizational culture impacts the interactions among you, your students, and their community • Understand what elements of culture need to be negotiated to create an effective learning environment in each class.

  21. Reflection Exercise • When did you first become aware that people were different racially or ethnically? • When did you first become aware of yourself as a member of a racial or ethnic group? • When were you first made aware of people being treated differently because of their race or ethnicity?

  22. Reflection Exercise • When did you first become aware of being treated differently yourself because of your own race or ethnicity? • Are the things about you as a person that make you feel that you are different from other people? Describe them and describe how having these qualities makes you feel and has affected you over time?

  23. Reflection Exercise • When were you proudest being a member of the group to which you belong? • When were you least proud of being a member of the group to which you belong? • How do you identify yourself racially/ethnically? Culturally? How has your sense of race/ethnicity or culture changed over time?

  24. Reflection Exercise • How would you describe the extent of your contact with people who are racially/ethnically different from you? How has this changed over time?

  25. Reference • Diller, J. V. & Module, J. (2005). Cultural Competence: A Primer for Educators. Belmont, CA. Thomson Wadsworth.