Thursday, February 12, 2009


It is interesting. I have never been so interested in a class before that I have gone out and gotten more material on what we were studying, and I have had some classes I absolutely love. But my Teaching English Language Learners has really peaked my interest. Earlier this semester we read the introduction to a book called Revealing the Invisible: Confronting passive racism in teacher education by Sherry Marx.

I highly recommend it. It raises some very good points about racism in a way that unless your purpose is to be highly offended, you will not be.

Here are some terms I have learned so far that really help clarify.
White- to be a person of some European descent who is thoroughly assimilated into the dominant culture and who receives the benefits of racial privilege.

racism- a system of advantage based on race that benefits Whites in the US. Clearly Operates to the advantage of Whites and to the disadvantage of people of colour.

Critical race theory (CRT)- perspective that emphasizes the systemic state of racism- aka, system is always in place, whether or not we admit to it or agree to it.

Whiteness- amalgamation of qualities including the cultures, histories, experiences, discourses and privileges shared above that are necessarily influenced by invisible racial privileges intertwined with white culture, so that as whites when we benefit from them, because we are white, we cannot reject whiteness.

White Privilege- ways that whites are advantaged in society because of their race.

Prejudice- a preconceived judgment or opinion, usually based on limited information.

Discrimination- Practices which emphasize group power and institutionalized factions, an institutional process of exclusion against an out-group, practices carried out by members of dominant groups which have differential and negative impact on members of subordinate groups, done with our without the conscious intention of perpetrations which are interwoven with negative 'racial myths' 'fictions and other 'ideological constructions'.

Active racism- blatant intentional acts of bigotry and discrimination

Passive racism- unprotected racism, and the act of ignoring race-related issues.

Biologically Different Paradigm- People of colour constructed as biologically inferior to whites
Downfall- 1) Great Depression, 2) Hitler, 3) Anthropologist working against it 4) decline in activity dealing with intelligence due to WWII 5) Jean Pigeat

Ethnically different paradigm- understand that cultural rather then biological factors influence differences between whites and people of colour.

Meritocracy- intelligence and hard work determines who ends up at the top of society

Culture of poverty- people living in poverty tend to create a unique, self devastating lifestyle or way of life marked by a host of negative values, norms and social practices

antonymous- people who are minorities primarily in a numerical sense- Jews, Mormons, Amish - no 'non-white' groups included

Immigrant or voluntary minorities- people who have moved more/less voluntarily seeking economic wellbeing, better overall opportunities and/or greater political freedom. (query- wouldn't this then include all of our founding fathers?)

Involuntary or castelike- people who were brought into the US society against their will

At-risk-of-failure- children who are predisposed to drop out of school for reasons such as language, family income, family structure, age as compared to peers, and other person centered explanations of school failure.

Economically ad Nationally Different- reaction against the idea that all people can be 'White' inside

Colorblindness- mode of thinking about race organized around an effort not to 'see' or at any rate, not to acknowledge race differences - polite language of race

Color-blind language- language which superficially accepts diversity with the provision that it not be significantly different from the White norm and, most importantly, that it not challenge the White norm.

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