2-paragraph ESSAY, 5 sentences per paragraph (25 points): Which lecture(s) from this semester stood out to you the most? Why?

lecture 1:

What is a racial group?

Scientifically, humanity itself is a race. Therefore, attempts to group people according to skin color and to call those groups “races” are inaccurate; they claim that races are somehow within the human race. “White” and “black” are examples of these racial groups.

Also, these races within races are not consistent across the globe. Some countries identify people with any European ancestry as “white,” no matter how much of other ethnic groups they have. Other countries identify anyone of non-European ancestry as “black” or “colored,” no matter how much European ethnicity they may have.

In the United States of America, people of exclusively European ancestry have received social, political, and economic advantages because of their ability to claim the “white” category with social acceptance. Those in the “white” category were exempt from slavery, forced mass removal and mass migration from their homes, segregation, and warfare for their natural resources. As a result, they have had the most wealth and prestige to pass down to successive generations.

Those excluded from the “white” category suffered theft and violence over the generations; and many of these actions were federal and state government policies.

The ethnic standards for “whiteness” in the United States have changed over time. People without European heritage have never been part of the group, but Anglo-Saxons have always been in the category. However, some European ethnic groups such as Italian Americans and German Americans were once excluded; eastern European emigrants to the United States also struggled for inclusion into the “white” category.

Think about the benefits of “whiteness,” and think about the costs of missing out of those benefits just because of having a different skin color.

lecture 2

Chapter 12 of Chang revisits the year 2001. Right after 9/11, profiling by religion accelerated, and African American and Latinx minorities were not profiled as often as usual for a brief moment. It was a moment of hyper-patriotism, where people talked about “coming together” and being “one America.” But as usual, the talk of unity came with some disunity. Inspired by the anti-German renaming of World War I, a restaurant-owner in North Carolina renamed his French Fries “Freedom Fries;” he did this because France did not support the United States’ decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003. This idea caught on, and the House of Representatives did similar renaming in its cafeteria. This lasted in Congress for three years.

Chapter 12 also talks about how people began to see Ethnic Studies programs like this one as threatening to that national unity they wanted. Since you are taking such a course now, I’ll leave it to you to decide if they are right. They complained that Ethnic Studies courses sowed divisiveness and made people hate each other, and the critics wanted Ethnic Studies to highlight examples of religion and patriotism and to minimize discussions of oppression.

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