Online Class #2 Discussion Responses

 

Online Class #2 Discussion Responses

Dear writer,
Please, see attached uploaded file, and respond to the 2 weekly posts by the students in 140 words each with at least one reference per response.

 

#1:Angela, Bishop
1) I have seen this video used in professional development settings at my school. The first time I saw this video, I was shocked by what the teacher

put her students through. Though a questionable technique, it definitely taught the students a lesson.
2) In the beginning, the students were furious when they heard that they were being treated differently for no apparent reason, or at least for reasons

that were out of their control. All students, whether they were in the in-group or out group, were outraged. As time went on, however, the students in

the in-group grew accustomed to their privileges. They were more willing to play along and treat others differently, or feel more proud of themselves.

When the roles changed, however, they felt the injustice. Group attitudes towards the “other” are definitely a taught behavior. The “other” can be

anyone, and it’s not necessarily based on actual negative aspects of the person or group. The “other” can be someone that sticks out in such a minor

way and has done nothing to deserve a negative light.
3) There are a couple of light-hearted games that help target our stereotypes of people. One of them is the easy activity “two truths and a lie.” The

person states two facts about themselves and a lie. The rest of the group has to guess which one is the lie. Often times, the rest of the group guesses

incorrectly. This is an easy way to see what we assume another person has done or what has happened to them.
Another activity is when you place chairs in a circle and someone stands up and says something that is true about themselves or something that has

happened to them. If the same things is true about a person sitting down, they must stand up and switch chairs. This is an easy way to see that many of

us experience the same things, even if it’s not apparent at first. We are more alike than different, in many cases.
These activities are not nearly as strong or effective as the videos we watched. Students will not suddenly reflect upon themselves and their biases.

These activities are most often used as get to know your activities. However, I still think they are effective ways of connecting ourselves to others

and realizing that there are other more parallels between our lives and the lives of the “others” than we otherwise would have thought.
4) Charles A. Gallagher, in his book Rethinking the Color Line, gives a list of the top ten things you can do to improve race relations. Two of them

are things that are fairly easy, introspective, steps we can take to decrease our tendency to engage in the in-group bias. First, he says, “Be

introspective. If you find yourself being a prejudiced nondiscriminatory or an unprejudiced discriminator, ask yourself how you got there. Be

introspective and honest about why you acted or behaved a certain way toward someone from a different ethnic or racial group. What scared you about the

situation that made you deviate from your core beliefs or values?” Then, he says to continue in on the introspection, “If you could relive that

experience, what would you do differently? Is it possible you were socialized or taught to react the way you did? What role did peer pressure play into

your actions? Be introspective and be willing to change how you think about groups different from your own” (Gallagher 417). I think this speaks

directly to the video that we saw. The peers and learned experiences were part of the motivation that the students had to continue on with the in-group

behaviors.
The second point that I take away from Gallagher is this ” When you watch television, realize that you are under constant bombardment by the most

simplistic and stereotypical images of ethnic and racial groups. What you watch on television is not just entertainment. The television industry uses

stereotypes to make racial inequality look like the ‘normal’ order of society. How are you being manipulated by the programs you watch?” (Gallagher

418). We are sponges. We take in every kind of stimuli. We need to learn to critically evaluate media and ideas that we intake, and continue to

separate that from our core beliefs. We always have the power to act according to our core values despite how society might lead us to act or believe.

Gallagher, Charles A. Rethinking the Color Line: readings in race and ethnicity 4th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2009. Print.

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#2: Christopher, Costa

1) I thought that there were some good things and bad things about the video. On the positive side, I will say that the teacher appeared to have a

genuine desire to teach the children to treat all people with respect and to avoid demeaning other groups, particularly African-Americans. This is in

keeping with the egalitarian spirit of Christianity which teaches that all human beings, not just humans from one racial group, are made in the image

of God. I sympathize with these sentiments. They do promote respect and kindness.
On the negative side, however, there are a few observations to make: 1) everyone in the video, including the elementary school teacher, was white, so

their knowledge (or non-knowledge) of minority groups should not be taken seriously; 2) this was an elementary school setting where the students are

impressionable and there is no intellectual seriousness on display; 3) (following #2) the issues in question were oversimplified to a truly childish

degree, 4) cultural and religious differences do exist, and what this nice little elementary school teacher’s thinking opens the door to is a) stifling

people’s thoughts if someone happens to rationally identify differences that are not palatable or pleasant and b) discouraging serious learning (both

and b have happened in America today), and 5) people like this elementary school teacher have been running the American education system, media, and

entertainment industry for 50 years and their ideas have largely failed to address profound racial challenges in America. This type of thinking is for

white people to pat themselves on the back within all-white communities and to show how moral and noble they are to other white people. It is a

religious experience for them that is independent of actually doing anything substantive to help a single human being. It is theology, not charity.
Overall, I found the argument implied in the video to be an attempt at taking the easy way out from an array of challenging questions. On the flip

side, I will say that I appreciate the genuine desire of the teacher to see all people treated with respect and to avoid demeaning other groups.
2) The children’s behavior indicates that if you tell people, particularly children, nothing but bad things about a certain group, they will start to

believe it and act accordingly. This is on display in America today when it comes to, for example, Christianity, which children are taught has been

responsible for nothing but bad things in human history. The result is that they grow up to be hypocritical anti-Christian bigots with a highly

distorted view of history.
3) My approach to dealing with negative prejudices is to focus on the clear strengths of different groups and portray them in their best and highest

forms while also challenging students to confront their own weaknesses as people. If, for example, you are born into a wealthy family, that does not

mean someone from a poor family may not be much better than you at something. We all have areas in which we can improve as people and we should focus

on those whenever we find ourselves gloating about superiority (whether real or imagined) to someone else. I heard a story from an American soldier on

duty in Iraq about 10 years ago who came home with a positive view of Iraqi Muslim society; he was a Christian and marveled at how well Muslims in Iraq

carried out their family lives and how Iraqi fathers treated their wives and children. He said that Iraqi society compared quite favorably to America,

where family dissolution is more common than family unity.
4) There are a number of ways in which this can be done, some healthy and others not so healthy.
On the healthy side, when pumping up our own group we may at times have to acknowledge that others groups are superior in some ways and temper our own

egos when it is obvious that another group does something better. Gudykunst touches on this with the concept of “collective self-esteem.” For example,

I as an American am willing to acknowledge that most Western European countries are much better at promoting foreign language learning than the

American education system is. Hardly anyone in the U.S. learns foreign languages and this is a clear cultural deficiency. When European tennis players

like Federer and Djokovic win a tournament, they can conduct interviews in multiple languages. When an American player wins a tournament (which is rare

because American players generally suck at tennis), they can speak one language and one language only: English. Another example is that Indian culture

promotes far more glamorous and elaborate style for women’s clothing than, say, American culture does for American women, who wear white dresses for

weddings as opposed to elaborate saris with gold jewelry.
A not-so-healthy way to avoid negative in-group bias is to do what Americans and Germans do, which is to teach young children that their ancestors were

nothing but evil bastards out to make life miserable for everyone. This approach amounts to a bigoted (not to mention profoundly stupid) cultural

assault on one of the world’s great civilizations and goes hand-in-hand with keeping people ignorant about truly enriching cultural legacies.
Gudykunst, W.B. (2004). Bridging differences: Effective intergroup communication (4th ed.). Fullerton, Ca: SAGE Publications.

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