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Reflection on Race, Ethnicity, Racial Relations, and Racism
Sociologist C. Wright Mills coined the term “Sociological Imagination,” which he defined as “the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society” (Mills, 1959). What Mills was describing was our ability to connect our personal experiences to public issues and to perceive our individual situations and circumstances in a wide social context. Individuals could see their daily lives as part of a larger social experience and compare their experiences with that of others.
In this Discussion, you are asked to look at race and ethnicity issues within your immediate personal sphere and to examine your experiences and observations in light of the larger structural and social forces influencing race and ethnicity. You are also asked to reflect on the values, beliefs, and assumptions that inform the actions and perspectives you observe. Values are a fundamental source of individual and cultural behavior, so understanding values sheds light on the motivation and rationale behind the actions you observe.
- Review the Learning Resources for this week.
- Consider diversity in your work, school, neighborhood, religious setting, and entertainment environments. What is the racial distribution of the people in each of these environments? What do you observe that you may not have noticed were you not investigating diversity in these environments?
- Consider prejudice and discrimination in the context of your own immediate environment and your experiences.
- Consider values and beliefs, both positive and negative, about human differences with regard to others who are different. Consider how these values have made an impact on your lives and those around you.
By Wednesday 7-12-17
Post a 300 word analysis of race, ethnicity, racial relations, and racism in your immediate environment and your experiences, addressing the following:
- How does your racial and/or ethnic identity affect your life?
- Share an example (or examples) of negative and/or positive race relations you have experienced or witnessed.
- What is the source (historical, structural, political, cultural) of racism in your environment?
- What underlying values support the nature of the race and ethnic group interaction you’ve observed?
- How might positive social change be encouraged to improve race and ethnic group relations in your immediate context?
Be sure to support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and any additional sources.