Race and Charged Labels

These pages offer a few lenses and activities to explore racial issues in a classroom. Racist categories are presented as a social construction, offering value in the form of cultural heritage and poison in the form of exclusion, prejudice, and stereotypes. The ultimate goal is for students to recognize the lens of racism as disastrously flawed and to empower them to eradicate racism both in their communities and in the wider world.

Summary Points:

1. Racism is based on an extraordinarily weak inference that skin color is a salient trait for determining character, positive or negative. Understanding this flawed thought process is a crucial step to understanding how racism operates and how it can be stopped.

2. Racial stereotypes and assumptions have been internalized by just about everyone in the US due to the prevalence of widespread archetypes in popular culture. It takes work to recognize these cultural biases and uproot them.

3. Bias and oppression are not exclusive to race. Exploring the impact of exclusion for other reasons (sexuality, gender, ethnicity, gender, ageism, social class etc.) offers an important parallel and a way for many students to connect emotionally to the bitter impact of racism.

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