1) What are ethics? What is ethical reasoning? Outline either a “Framework for Ethical Decision Making” (Student Guide) or a “Model of Ethical Reasoning” (Starnberg)?
Ethics refers to a set of principles of right conduct or the rules of behavior based on moral concepts of good or bad. Ethical reasoning is the way of thinking about issues of right and wrong. Sternberg’s framework involves recognizing an event, noting its ethical dimension, taking responsibility, and finding an ethical solution and acting on it.
2) What is “framing”? How does it help to shape and create cultural perceptions. Give a concrete example?
Framing is the set of perspectives that allow people and groups to perceive reality a certain specific way. This involves the most simplified mathematical expressions that define a problem. For example, “a virus could either kill two-thirds of a population, or one-third of a population could be saved from the virus.”
3) Comment on the following statement using statistical data to support your position: “We are, essentially, a middle class nation. Despite some variations in economic status, most Americans have achieved relative affluence in what is widely recognized as a consumer society.”
This is a myth, as 13% of Americans live below the poverty line, and the richest 1% of Americans own 34% of the national wealth. The number of people who consider themselves as middle class has reduced from 49% in 2012 to 44 % in 2014.
4) Make a list of the many attributes Andrew Delbanco associates with a liberal education. What, in his view, should students gain from the experience of college? What should a college education do for—or to—you?
Delbanco thinks that students should use college to expand their horizons and challenge their preconceived notions of the world, finding alternative perspectives on the world at large. The students should be able to discover their passions and test the ideas and value systems.
5) What is white privilege?
6) Explain what Gloria Yamato means when she writes: “It's true that the various elements of racism, while repugnant, would not be able to do very much damage, but for one generally overlooked key piece: power/privilege.”
Yamato means that, even though we recognize racist stereotypes and thoughts as being bad, they are still harmful because the people who think about them are still in power. They therefore, cannot give away the power and privileges they hold.
7) Given that slavery is roughly as common as homicide in the United States today, how might you explain why the authorities and the media don’t treat it as an urgent civil rights or public safety issue?
Racism has long been thought to be ‘solved’ due to a comparative increase in media representation of POC, the Civil Rights Movement, and even the election of President Obama, so not as much attention is paid to it. The long history of slavery has made it an almost a normal occurrence. The reports have been almost exhausted in various ways in which slavery occur. There are also laws that tend to guide issues related to slavery and hence the can be used.
8) Why does JoYin envy the African American students at Columbia? How does she finally come to terms with her own culture?
Yojin envies the free spirits and independence and freedom that black women enjoyed at Columbia, seeing them as strong and soulful. She learns that she can do what China did and re-appropriate racial insults and perceptions into forming connections with her fellow Asians. This shall eventually give themselves the independence and freedom as that of the Columbian women.
9) Consider Thomas Jefferson’s reflections on race in “Notes on the State of Virginia”. On the surface he presents what seems to be a systematic catalog of the differences he sees between blacks and whites; he then attempts to demonstrate the “natural” superiority of whites based on these differences. What flaws do you find in his analysis?
One significant flaw is that his assertion that blacks are not the equal of whites is not supported by testing in an equal situation; blacks simply did not benefit from the education and freedom that whites enjoy, therefore, seeming inferior. The thought that Blacks were inferior in terms of beauty was erroneous and subjective to the opinion holder. His thought that Blacks were less intelligent was a flaw since placing all in an equal opportunity, there would be no difference in intelligence. Even at the time of writing, there were many elite black men in America.
10) What did President Obama fail to acknowledge in his Father’s Day speech at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, according to Michelle Alexander, and why does she find that disturbing?
Obama talked about the problems associated with black fatherhood in the black community, but did not address where the good fathers could be found. This was imperative that the white fathers are better than black fathers. She thus felt that this perpetuated the stereotype that black men are bad fathers which is not true.
11) What did President Obama fail to acknowledge in his Father’s Day speech at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, according to Michelle Alexander, and why does she find that disturbing?
Wright’s mother was beating him and telling him to stop fighting because she knew that Jim Crow laws would permit them to kill him, needing to be passive in order to survive. This was a case of suppressed freedom that needed to be addressed.
1) What extent does the story about Ragged Dick embody the American dream? Be specific! How does the understanding you have gained in this course relative to social class, race, gender, and the role of community (i.e. Liu and Hanauer) alter your perspective on the message of that story?
Ragged Dick embodies the American Dream by been a poor bootblack who actually rises up to the status of the middle class. He was homeless just as the many young blacks in America at that time. He achieves success by working hard. He was honest and hence refused to steal, and using his money wisely. He never hurt others and therefore was referred to as a gentleman. The society expected the blacks to be submissive just as Ragged Dick. This is the dream for many Americans to rise from poverty to higher levels or middle class.
The book itself promotes the idea that hard work in the face of adversity will lead to positive financial outcomes; Ragged Dick saves the money that Mr. Whitney gives him, and spends less than he takes in, leading to many people admiring his ethics and fiscal responsibility, as well as riches and respectability. His story is the stereotypical American Dream, where your skills and gumption always lead to a successful life. Ragged Dick did not however succeed in all endeavors. This depicts the society progress that no one can succeed in all ambitions. Life expectations needs be realistic.
Based on Liu and Hanauer’s perspective, Dick is helped out in his journey by many people, including those who admire his determination, showing the collectivist nature of achieving social progress. He does not get there on his own; people like Mr. Whitney and his roommate Fosdick help him out. The community provides him with substantial assistance at every point along the way, showing a world in which the role of community is paramount to individual success. Community is crucial in determining ones success since it is the only possible comparison available. One can only measure success within the limits of the society.
2) How do class differences in American society (Mantsios and Anyon), structural discrimination (Pincus), racial segregation (Kozol) and racial and economic polarization (Marable) complicate the educational program outlined by Horace Mann?
Horace Mann’s assertion that everyone should get an equal opportunity in education, regardless of home life, ignores the fact that structural discrimination and racial prejudice does play a factor in hindering education. Mann’s perspective is that a student’s ethnicity, family life and income should not play a factor in what kind of education they receive. Each and every one should be given an equal chance of education and it is the balancing wheel of the society. It empowers all equally to the extent that one can be able to refuse the exploitation of other men in the society. If there is no equal chance to education, the consumers shall remain consumers and this may reduce the economic prowess of the nation as a whole.
Applying Mann’s philosophy to today’s world is incredibly difficult, however, as the world does not work as the report intends. Rich white children and poor black children may get the same education, but poor black children must worry about financial troubles, potential gang violence and a disruptive home life far more often than rich white children, making their prospects weaker for achieving results in education despite having the same playing field. Race and class discrimination contributes to structural inequalities that mean some children receive poorer education than others (e.g. private schools for the rich as opposed to public schools for the poor). The same education and syllabus is offered in both private and public school but in different ways. The private school children receive much attention and better environment than the others in the public schools.
3) Which of the models of ethnic relations described by George M. Fredrickson (on pages 568‐575) does Patrick J. Buchanan appear to endorse, which does he reject, and why? How would you describe Buchanan’s ideal vision of America? Why would Frederickson disagree with Buchanan?
Buchanan claims that unity is more important than diversity; he cites history to claim that our differences are starting to tear us apart rather than bring us together. He is certainly true on the surface: ever since the influx of secularism and people of other religions and races, America has found itself bickering with members of its own population over policy, legislation and rights. There are several groups that feel that they are not represented as they should in the laws. Due to this they tend to fight for their rights and label the others as oppressors. Buchanan likens freedom with division, as his position is that groups of different positions naturally do not want to work together.
Buchanan seems to advocate for Fredrickson’s idea of group separatism, in which the cultural minorities separate from the main group and form their own communities that would be autonomous and homogenous, or alternatively advocating for one-way assimilation (i.e. minorities adapting to the majority’s way of life so as to promote unity). This means that there shall be uniformity I the way of doing thing as well as the laws set. Therefore, the community shall be just and easier to work in homogenous groups or by assimilation than if it could exist in diversity.
Frederickson would disagree with Buchanan, as he believes that cultural pluralism is the best way to achieve a just society. Buchanan believes the problem is attempting to live with diversity at all, while Frederickson believes that unity will come through an exploration of our differences (the “diversity” that Buchanan rails against). The benefits associated with diversity go beyond the basics. A diverse community allows for diverse points of view either religiously or politically. Therefore, a diverse society is more tolerate to differences and hence leads to a just society devoid of discrimination. The inherent difference in the people shall therefore, not be an impediment in the justice systems of the society.