Identifying racial oppression in schools

A new article by Brian Willoughby in the Fall 2013 issue of Teaching Tolerance provides suggestions for examining the ways that your school maintains the system of racial oppression.

Drawing on the work of Mica Pollock, he suggests asking the following questions:

  • Am I seeing, understanding and addressing the ways the world treats me and my students as members of racial groups?
  • Am I seeing, understanding and addressing communities and individuals in their full complexity?
  • Am I seeing, understanding and addressing the ways opportunities to learn or thrive are unequally distributed to racial groups?
  • What actions offer necessary opportunities to students in such a world?

It’s important, he reminds us, not to jump to conclusions without sufficient evidence.  So he urges taking the following actions when feelings or accusations of discrimination arise:

  • Look at the issue from all angles.
  • Gather as much data as you can.
  • Sit down and have meaningful conversations without being accusatory.

Read the rest of the article here.

New Interdisciplinary MA in Diversity Studies

Check out the new MA degree offered through the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa–this is an exciting new opportunity for individuals interested in the scholarship of diversity.

The Wits Centre for Diversity Studies website also has a variety of useful resources and information.

Defining Gender Categories

A debate is brewing in the American Sociological Association over the set of categories the group should use to collect gender identification information from its members. As Colleen Flaherty reports on Inside Higher Ed:

Question: How many sociologists does it take to develop a working set of gender categories?

Answer: A lot.

Of all professional organizations, one might expect the American Sociological Association to have generally accepted gender categories on its membership form. But some in the association have accused it of being behind the terminological curve, and coming up with a better set of categories is revealing – to some – a surprising lack of consensus on the matter.

Tina Fetner, associate professor of sociology at McMaster University in Ontario and new member of the ASA Council, has taken the question to the blogosphere. In recent posts to Social (In)Queery and Scatterplot, she wrote: “The ASA is trying to respond to a request from its members to expand the options for gender on its membership form. Right now, the choices are female, male and prefer not to answer. There is no category that acknowledges transgender members at all, but creating a new category scheme is not as easy as it might seem.”

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed