Florida International University Cultural Competency American Race Discussion

I’m working on a health & medical discussion question and need guidance to help me study. “The Story We Tell” uncovers the roots of the race concept, including the 19th-century science that legitimated it and the hold it has gained over our minds. It’s an eye-opening tale of how America’s need to defend slavery in the face of a radical new belief in freedom and equality led to a full-blown ideology of white supremacy. Noting the experience of Cherokee Indians, the U.S. war against Mexico and annexation of the Philippines, the film shows how definitions of race excluded from humanity not only Black people, but anyone who stood in the way of American expansion. The program traces the transformation of tentative suspicions about difference into a “common-sense” wisdom that people used to explain everything from individual behavior to the fate of whole societies, an idea of race that persists to this day 1. What are some ways that race has been used to rationalize inequality? How has race been used to shift attention (and responsibility) away from oppressors and toward the targets of oppression?2. What is the connection of American slavery to prejudices against African-descended peoples? Why does race persist after abolition?3. Why was it not slavery but freedom and the notion that “all men are created equal” that created a moral contradiction in colonial America, and how did race help resolve that contradiction?4. Contrast Thomas Jefferson’s policy to assimilate American Indians in the 1780s with Andrew Jackson’s policy of removing Cherokees to west of the Mississippi in the 1830s. What is common to both policies? What differentiates them?5. What is the significance of the episode’s title, “The Story We Tell”? What function has that story played in the U.S.? What are the stories about race that you tell? What are the stories you have heard? Did the film change the way you think about those stories? If so, how?6. Organizers of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair put on display people whom they defined as “other.” Although few would do this today, many still see others as distinctly different from themselves. In your community, who is seen as “different”? What characterizes those who are defined as different?7. In the film, historian James Horton points out that colonial white Americans invented the story that “there’s something different about ‘those’ people” in order to rationalize believing in the contradictory ideas of equality and slavery at the same time. Likewise, historian Reginald Horsman shows how the explanation continued to be used to resolve other dilemmas: “This successful republic is not destroying Indians just for the love of it, they’re not enslaving Blacks because they are selfish, they’re not overrunning Mexican lands because they are avaricious. This is part of some great inevitability… of the way races are constituted.” What stories of difference are used to mask or cover up oppression today? Why do we need to tell ourselves these kinds of stories **Tips:** 1. There is no specific word count, but 200-500 words are probably adequate. 2. Secondary responses. 1. To get the credit you **must** engage in discussion. This is your main assignment for the week. “I like what you said,” “Great article” or similar are not adequate responses. 2. A response has no specific word count, but likely 50-150 words are adequate. **Rubric:** **20 Points possible** **4 Points – Displays a great understanding of the concepts in the assignment** **4 Points – Utilizes APA formatting** **** **4 Points – Clear and concise writing with no errors in grammar, spelling, or context.** **** **4 Points – Make a timely initial response.** **4 Points -** **Make a timely and appropriate secondary response.** (see tips)

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