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Write a response to at least 3 classmates. Responses may include the following:Ask for clarificationExpand on or clarify an important point.Offer an additional argument to support a position taken in

Write a response to at least 3 classmates. Responses may include the following:

Ask for clarification

Expand on or clarify an important point.

Offer an additional argument to support a position taken in an answer.

Suggest ways in which an idea could be more clearly expressed.

Identify passages where you think the writer misunderstood a concept or applied it incorrectly.

Disagree with a point or position made in an answer.

Original Discussion questions:

1. Compare the definitions of racism across the readings.

2. How do these scholarly definitions of racism compare to definitions used by the       general population?

3. How and why do race and racism matter in schools?

There is no minimum word requirement, responses only need to be interesting and include citations for outside information in (ASA). 


Discussion Board 1: Defining Race and Racism 

1. Compare the definitions of racism across the readings.

In the article "Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation", there were several different theorists that defined racism. Ruth Benedict (1945) was one of the first scholars to use the notion of racism. She defined racism as "the dogma that one ethnic group is condemned by nature to congenital inferiority and another group is destined to congenital superiority.  Van den Berghe (1967) states that racism is " any set of beliefs that organic, genetically transmitted differences (whether real or imagined) between human groups are intrinsically associated with the presence or the absence of certain socially relevant abilities or characteristics, hence that such differences are a legitimate basis of invidious distinctions between groups socially defined as races". Schaefer (1990) states that racism is " a doctrine of racial supremacy, that one race is superior". According to Ewing (2018: 11), laissez-fair racism, a form of discrimination that does not depend on the law, but instead relies on the market and informal racial bias to re-create, and in some instances sharply worsen, structured racially inequality. According to Lewis and Diamond (2015:4-5) while clearly race has consequences for one individual understandings of self and other, it matters much more with deep and broad consequences for the very organization of social institutions. In the article "Racial Formations", race consciousness, and its articulation in theories of race, is largely a modern phenomenon (Omi and Winant: 3). 

2. How do these scholarly definitions of racism compare to definitions used by the general population?

Typically scholarly definitions want to be precise, exact and all-encompassing. It would be fair to assume that the general population's definition of racism is based solely on skin color throughout history and not on class, housing, school or stature. Typically scholars seek to objective in their writing. So one could assume that the scholar's definition of racism has been well researched, well thought out, discussed with their peers, reviewed by a board before having been printed in textbooks or journal articles. Conversely, the general population's definition of racism will most likely be based off of how they were raised, what they were told to believe and what they believe in now. The end outcome is that the general population's definition of racism is going to be based off of feeling and not fact. 

3. How and why do race and racism matter in schools?

It is important to remain sensitive to others, not just based on race, but culture as well. Accessibility to housing, transportation and resources needed to be successful in school historically have not always easily available to minorities. Being sensitive to race and racism in academic settings is not about entitlement, but about acceptance. It is important that all people, regardless of race, sex, religion, gender, culture etc. have access to academic environments that are conducive to learning and facilitate acceptance on all levels. All too often persons of minorities have been forced to attend schools that are considered to be failing due to zoning and district restrictions. Perhaps the school districts should be more willing to allow students desiring a better education to attend public school of their desire regardless of its location.  


Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 1997. "Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation." American Sociological Review, 62:465-480

Ewing, Eve L. 2018. "Ghosts in the schoolyard: racism and school closings on Chicago's South side". Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018. 

Lewis, Amanda E and John B. Diamond. 2015. "Despite the Best Intentions". Oxford University Press 2015

Omi, Michael and Howard Winant, eds., “Racial Formation in the United States.” Second Edition, pp. 3-13.


Question 1. Compare the definitions of racism across the readings.

Lewis and Diamond (2015) discussed racism from a structural and institutional perspective. The authors argue that racism is deeply entrenched structurally with cultural beliefs suggesting one group is superior (dominant) and another group is inferior (subordinate). The authors also concluded that racism is embedded in our institutions such as education. This idea of dominant and subordinate created racial hierarchies in which those of the dominant group have access to power and resources affording them a level of privilege that those in the subordinate group lack.

Lewis and Diamond (2015) continued to argue that there is a new form of racism. The authors suggested this new form of racism is referred to as “new racism, laissez-faire racism, colorblind racism, aversive racism and etc.” According to Lewis and Diamond (2015), this new form of racism is no longer explicit and overt, it is more subtle and difficult to detect. The authors state “contemporary racial patterns are supported by structural inequalities, institutional practices, and racial ideologies that mutually reinforce each other, but appear to be nonracial” (Lewis & Diamond, 2015, p.8).  For example, racial inequalities in education such as the racial achievement gap or disproportionality in school discipline practices with students of color are examples of the “new racism” because these racial inequalities are not blatant and obvious discriminatory practices.  

Similarly, Ewing (2018) also discussed racism from an institutional perspective particularly in discussing school closures in Chicago. Like Lewis and Diamond (2015), Ewing (2018) also contended there is a new form racism that is hard to identify and detect. Ewing (2018) used the term laissez-faire racism to underscore the challenge of detecting this “new racism” because unlike individual racial epithets or behaviors, laissez-faire racism is a form of racial discrimination embedded in our political, social, economic institutions and structures that produce unfair and unequal outcomes for groups of color.

While Ewing (2018) and Lewis and Diamond (2015) discussed racism from both the structural and institutional perspective, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (1997) also discussed racism from a structural perspective, but also offered a theoretical framework for understanding racial phenomena. Bonilla-Silva (1997) used the term “racialized social systems” as a way to thoroughly understand racial phenomena. According to Bonilla-Silva (1997) racialized social systems refers to “societies in which economic, political, social, ideological levels are partially structured by the placement of actors in racial categories” (p.469).  In order to understand racialized social systems, it’s imperative to understand racialization. According to Bonilla-Silva (1997) people were placed in racial categories through a process of racialization. Based on ancestry, phenotype, and other physical features like skin color and hair texture groups of people were placed in racial categories. In addition to being placed in racial categories, groups of people were separated both physically through segregation and psychologically through attributing different characteristics or qualities to these groups.

Often time these different qualities were prejudice and stereotypical thus creating racial hierarchies. For example, black people are more athletic, feel less pain, and are less intelligent than whites. As different qualities were ascribed to groups, those groups were often treated differently because of the attributes ascribed. Bonilla-Silva argued that racism functions because racialization is endemic in racial societies.

Like Bonilla-Silva (1997), Omi and Winant (1986) offered a theoretical perspective to defining racism. The authors used racial formation theory to define racism. Racial formation theory suggest that race is socially constructed and groups of people are placed in racial categories. The theory posit that race is deeply embedded in societies’ structures and institutions and plays a powerful role in how those structures and institutions are organized and operate. Because racial categories shape racial hierarchies, racial hierarches are central to how structures operationalize.

The common theme across the readings from each author is that racism is more than an ideology. It deeper and more complex than individual acts of racism that intentionally express prejudice or bias against someone. Racism is a social construct that is deeply woven into the economic, political, and social structures of America and has real implications and outcomes.

Question 2. How do these scholarly definitions of racism compare to definitions used by the general population?  These scholarly definitions of racism do not compare to the general population’s definition of racism. As Ewing (2018) pointed out most people understand racism from an individual perspective. When most people talk about racism they are referring to their own personal values, ideas or behaviors. Because racial discrimination is no longer sanctioned by laws or socially accepted in some places, most people believe America is a post-racial society. However, many individuals are unable to understand that racism exist not only at the individual level, but is deeply embedded at the structural and institutional levels as well. At the structural level, racism is woven into the history, culture, and values of a society. Critical race theory suggest that racism is so enmeshed in American society that it is normal (Delgado & Stefanic 2012). At the institutional level, racism exist through the existence of systematic policies, laws, and practices that provide differential access to goods, services, and opportunities of society by race (York, 2016).  Because racism at both the structural and institutional level is often difficult to identify and detect, it’s challenging for some people to understand racism from these perspectives. This is especially true for whites who are rarely reminded of their racial identity and status.

Question 3.  How and why do race and racism matter in schools? Race and racism matters in school because racism is deeply embedded in institutions such as the educational system and it also exist at the individual level. At the institutional level, racial inequalities exist in school systems because racial ideologies and racialization operates within our social structures. For example, schools with more resources and affluent white families have greater privileges and access to varied opportunities than families of color. Often students of color are treated differently especially in terms of discipline, are less likely to be placed in gifted and talented programs, and are more likely to be overrepresented in special education programs.

At the individual level racial ideologies and racial biases influence how teachers and other school personnel respond to students of color. For example, it has been well documented that teachers particularly white teachers have negative perceptions of students of color especially Black students.  Okonofua & Eberhardt (2015) found that when Black and White children are engaged in similar unwanted behaviors, teachers regularly stereotype the behaviors of Black children as more intolerable than their White peers. Because racial inequalities are prevalent in our society including education, and the racial history and narrative that Black people are less intelligent and capable have permeated our institutions, race and racism will continue to matter in schools and other areas of social life.


After reading the four different view points of the writers on the topic of defining race and racism, I have to say that across the board I feel so sad. From one view point, it says when one group explored another land, it refereed to their discovery as begin set apart from people who looked different then themselves. As to another article stated that people of different levels or aspects of different social groups are only seen as that, different or set apart. Not looked upon as people but categories and defined for what they have or what they lack. But I do like how one writer said how people are trying to make their way given what they have from life. SO even though we may be different, we can still advance and grown and not be labeled or be a product of our surroundings. 

It is sad to say that the way these scholarly definition of racism compare to the definition used by the general population is on point. I mean we define our schools by not individual people but by overall test scores. We define people's first appearance on gender, skin tone, hair color, even down to culture. We are trained in looking at the outside verse the inside first. For example our towns, we look at the good areas and feel some type of way on the so called bad areas. Yet some of the greatest minds came from areas of struggles and areas of overcoming. 

Yet we teach that to our children even at a young age. We tell them what difference is and never teach them to embrace difference and that it is okay to be unique. We want to push them to conform to be great and perfect yet we don't live in a perfect world. We limit who they can become and shame ideas and dreams they have because we can not see the world through their eyes. We use data and test scores to define who our children are and never look at the potential they have or lack and just simply embrace that allowing them to blossom where planted.  The one book said that we had holes in our understanding and I agree that because of this, it does cause problems in our schools because we hold our children to a mental image of what and who they ought to be. 

We push, we stereotype, we make they feel they need to be so great, that in the end when our children don't meet or master these high levels of our goals, they tend to feel ashamed, as a failure, as unworthy, as useless. But in reality they are just perfect he way they are. I feel it is because of this that our suicide rate is so high in our young folks. There is just too much pressure and too much against them that they can't hear the voice saying you are perfect the way you are, as long as you know you tried. 

So yes, race matters on many levels but it also can be a stigma to so many in the school and can harm or limit the mind to want to advance and be more then a stereotype of society. I know I got a little off track but this was just what I got out of my reading of these four authors. 

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