Review of Content & Suggested Discussion Questions: Talking about Race, Module 2
Module 2 opens with a group discussion in which eight students express their views. Notice the wide range of emotions as the students share their perspectives.
Dane begins the conversation by stating that he alone is responsible for his actions. He is then told that some people will hate him simply because he is White. Khanh brings up the issue that White people need to understand the ways they have internalized a sense of superiority as a result of racism. Marc feels uncomfortable in this discussion because he believes he is being blamed for everything. Judith states that she is not willing to temper her feelings so that White people will not feel uncomfortable. Tammy follows with the assertion that she wants to be judged as an individual. Duane says he also needs to be judged as an individual, but because of the many stereotypes about Black people, this rarely happens. Section 1 concludes with Freda expressing her need for White people to understand the benefits they receive from oppression.
Notice how the discussion progresses and then culminates with Freda’s comment. Her statement is one of the most crucial in the module because the understanding of White privilege is so critical to understanding and working to eliminate racism.
- How easy is it to judge people as individuals?
- Why does Marc feel like he is being blamed for everything?
- Freda says white people benefit from oppression. In what ways do they benefit?
The beginning of Section 2 is a discussion among all the White students. If you listen very carefully, as the scene opens you will hear Marc state that he believes the “tables are turning” and that he feels the need to apologize for being White. Dane and Tammy then share differing perspectives about what they have learned about the concept of “rugged individualism.” Tammy says she has discovered that the concept does not hold true for everyone in this country. The two also share their experiences of talking about race with their families. Tammy believes that although it is tough to do, she has to try to talk about it or else she is simply giving up.
Asian American Students
Section 2 continues with scenes from a “speak out” activity by the Asian American students. The students share some important information that they would like others to know about Asian Americans, what they never want to hear again, and what they expect from their allies.
- Why do you think Marc feels a need to apologize for being White?
- Do you think the American concept of “rugged individualism” applies to all Americans?
- What did you learn from the statements made by the Asian American students?
Awareness to Action
Section 3 focuses on taking action to eliminate racism. Marc asks Brian to clarify what he means by “action” and Brian shares several strategies for letting go of stereotypes. Marc admits that eliminating oppression is a big job, and he also admits that he does not have to worry about it because he is White.
Marc’s admission of privilege is very important and reveals a new level of awareness brought on by his involvement in this activity. Think about how different this statement is from his comments in Module 1.
Section 3 ends with both Marc and Brian stating that they don’t know what will happen in the future, leaving us to wonder what could happen.
- How easy is it to confront your friends about racist comments and jokes?
- How important is it to confront your friends about racist comments and jokes?
- What does Marc mean when he says “I don’t have to worry about it, I am all set”?
- Think of a prejudice you hold. What was its origin? What reinforces it today? Can you change it?