Friday, February 09, 2007

more about the history of race in the U.S.

The quotes below are from a resource on race and racism that I found today. It's a website accompanying the 2003 PBS documentary Race: The Power of Illusion. I haven't seen it, but the website has some good stuff on it such as historical information and a discussion on the role of race in science research and medicine.

The most concrete action that any one individual can take is to educate themselves about the ways that race and racism work and to see things in terms of social relations rather than discrete individual acts. Every racial group is always linked to every other racial group. So when you talk about something like white privilege, you have to understand it's a system of inequality that relates groups together. That's a very important part of how institutional racism works: it perpetuates inequality in a way that most people who gain the advantage don't realize. People need to understand these relationships and recognize that if we do the same thing we've always done, we're perpetuating inequality.

- John Cheng, Assistant Professor at George Mason University, where he teaches American history, Asian American studies, and cultural studies.

There needs to be collective action. As an individual you may have to take the SAT even if you are convinced it's racially biased. At the same time, you can take action with others who are likeminded to lobby the University of California to get rid of it, like it is currently happening, or lobby the ETS to change the way they pre-test the questions. You have to do it in the larger public sphere.

- Dalton Conley, Director of the Center for Advanced Social Science Research (CASSR) and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at New York University.

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