Reflection Journal and Paper on Racism.
This assignment requires you to keep a journal of oppression that you witness or experience, “interview” 2-3 people and write a summary paper. You will fail the entire assignment if you do not turn in all three things. The paper, journal and interview questions/answers are due on the start of class. I do not accept papers that are late, via e-mail or on D2L. If you are not in class that day, you should arrange for it to be given to me before class begins.
1. Keep a journal of racist language or behavior that you experience or witness. Include jokes or actions made by friends, relatives, roommates, romantic partners, acquaintances, co-workers, classmates, professors, administrators, strangers, etc. You cannot use examples from the media – this includes music, movies, TV, magazines, the internet and advertisements. Your journal should begin immediately and end when you turn in your paper. For each incident, you should include the date, what occurred and your reactions/thoughts.
2. Challenge the behaviors. This can include speaking out, refusing to go along with others who are racist, not laughing at racist jokes, educating yourself and/or others on why what they are saying or doing is racist, writing letters of protest and many other actions. You do not have to challenge every behavior but if you do not challenge any, you will not receive credit for this assignment. For each example, if you do not challenge the behavior/comment, include a brief statement in your journal as to why you did not. For example, “I did not challenge Dahlia’s jokes because I did not realize that she was being racist until after she left my apartment and I did not know how to bring it up” OR “I wanted to challenge my manager but I was concerned that I might lose my job”.
3. Think about whether or not the comments or actions you witnessed are also intertwined with other oppressive actions or comments (sexism, religious oppression, classism, ableism, heterosexism, etc.) Keep track of those intersections in your journal as well. For example, “this was an example of racism, sexism and homophobia”.
4. Talk informally to 2 or 3 people (friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, etc.) about their views on racism and white privilege. You can decide what questions to ask them. Staple your interview questions and answers (these can be hand-written) to your assignment when you turn it in. Do not ask people to fill out a survey. You should ask them the questions and write down their responses. Do not interview strangers as it is against SCSU policies and US laws to ask strangers questions without following a particular process that ensures their safety and consent.
5. Write up a 3-4 page paper of your experiences observing, challenging and talking about racism. How are the views of the people that you interviewed similar or different than your own and why? How do you think that personal experiences with racism connect with institutional forms of racism? How do you think your own racial identity affects your viewpoints? What examples of white privilege have you experienced or observed? How have your views changed from when you started this assignment to when you finished? How does racism affect the overall climate on campus and/or community? Do you think that racism is a common occurrence at St. Cloud State? Why or why not? How does racism affect the learning environment at St. Cloud State University and why?
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