American Ethnic Studies paper

Paper should have two components. First, you must identify and discuss your film/book/etc., in terms of how it attempts to say something about people of color. In other words, you might ask, how does the plot involve African American women? Asian American men, or whatever other group you decide to focus on (you can look at more than one racial ethnic group in the United States or just focus on one, depending on the movie, etc.)? Who is the hero/ine? What types of activities/dialogue do people of color have? How do the characters interact? What literary/film/musical strategies are used to depict particular aspects of racial ethnic life?The second aspect of your assignment is an historical analysis of what you have read/seen/heard. Find out what the historical/political/social context was when the piece was created. How does the storyline reflect the historical context in which it was created? What is the evidence of this impact in the story/film?You must use information from the class to support your paper. This may be in the form of lectures and/or readings. Some additional research may be necessary. Suggested reference films to help with your analysis include Ethnic Notions (for African Americans), More Than Bows and Arrows (for Native Americans), Bronzed Image (for Latinos/as), Slanted Screen and Slaying the Dragon (for Asian American & Pacific islander American men and women, respectively). You are encouraged to use the recommended readings before relying on any other material. The main objective is to understand and explain how cultural productions occur in particular historical contexts and how people of color are affected by such productions.You must be sure to type (double space) your assignment, how no more than 1.25” margins about 8 pages, and use conventional footnote/bibliographic citations. Here are some films and notes:Spirit of Crazy HorseEthnic NotionsDays of WaitingCarved in SilenceI am Joaquin

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What is Ethnicity?
What is Race?
– Blakcs/ Negoriod
– Asians/ Mongoloid
– Whites/ Caucasoid
Either everyone in the group must have these traits,
No one else has these traits except for people in your group
– Culture
– stereotypes
– Ethnicity
– Nationality
– Race
– Miniority:
• population?
• Whites smaller population in South Africa, but held the power
• More women in the United States than men, but women are considered a minority
• Power?
• Economic (money) v. Social Construction (perception) ?
• What are the classes?
• Teachers v. Carbage Collectors
• Social Construction:
• In many countries, more racial (e.g., joe Morgan, etc.)
Melting Pot
• A+B+C…=Z (an amalgamated entity)
• Popularized be Israel Zanguill, Russian Jewish playwright in his play, The Melting Pot (1907)
• In America, everyone should forget his/her old native prejudices and become a new group the
• Metaphor of the “Stew”
• Criticism
• Only meant for whites — note the date of the play
• Symbolically, not everything melts in a stew — who is the beef?
• In terms of what appears to be American, tends to be the my this norm:” White Anglo – Saxon
Protestant, etc.”
• So to be more American is not to become something new, but to become more like the mythic
norm assimilation
• bad for psychological reasons
• can never assimilate because of perceived racial differences
• A+B+C+,,, = A
• “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
• Theory promoting anglo – Conformity
• Popularized by the University of Chicago’s School of Sociology, esp. Robert Park (1920)
• According to Park, this is the most natural thing to do — part of the 4 step “race relations
4 Step “ Race Relations Cycle”
1. A-B Interaction; meet at the same territory
2. A v. B Competition; fight to win the territory
3. A wins; B loses Accommodation; one is victorious over the other & they both know it; A
wins, takes the best territory, jobs, but allows B to stay if B accepts lesser position
4. B to A Assimilationl; loser eventually imitates winner to fit into society; ambitious members
of B do not want to stay a loser; tries to become more like A; A eventually accepts these
members of B (who becomes a role model for other group B members)
Milton Gordon (1964) 7step process to assimilation
• University of Massachusetts Sociology professor
1. Cultural assimilation (change core culture to become more like dominant group)
2. Structural assimilation (change neighborhood, friendship to be closer to dominant group)
3. Marital assimilation (wants to have spouse from the dominant group; must be among “best”
member of B who gets a “lesser” member of A)
• A+B+C+…=A’+B’+C’+….
• Changed somewhat because a person is no longer in the other country; but do not change
entirely: “keep what’s best of the old world and take what’s best of the new world.”
• Partical assimilation; but not complete – attitude is the main difference
• Popularized by Horace Kallen of the Nation (1919) as he visited Northeastern slums
• Began metaphorically as an “orchestra”
• Now seen as a “salad bowl”
• Aka “ Cultural Pluralism” model
Criticism — lack of equality/ inclusion
• Orchestra metaphor: not everyone is equal; maestro controls everything; there is ranking in
seats and instruments
• Salad metaphor: not everyone is equal; what is lettuce? what is anchovy?
• Cannot overcome the emphasis on Europeans as “normal”; for all the “Others”, certain groups
dominate more than others; “Tokenism” at best
• What is the difference between someone who is assimilated versus someone acculturated?
Attitude – and people lie
• Not everyone agrees with the degree of assimilation that makes someone an acculturationist
• Sometimes, when people think they are acculturating — they are actually assimilating because
they have bought into a stereotype
• Too much division emphasized; America will balkanize
Internal Colonialism Model
• Popularized by Robert Blauner, UC Berkeley, during the Third World Strike of the 1960s
• Based on Oliver Cox work, Race, Caste & Class
• Experience of people of color cannot be understood like that of Europeans in the US
• People of color are “Thired World People”
Frantz Fanon
• Algerian psychologist turned revolutionary
• Author of Wretched of the Earth; Black skin, White Masks
• After the nation-state period; by the 18th century:
1. First World: colonizers (Europe)
2. Second World: former colonies, turned colonizer (US,Canada, Australia)
3. Third World: the colonized (most countries of color)
An Internal Colony?
Why colonize others? For labor and resources
US & other colonists need both for their development
Since people of color came from colonized countries, they are forced to go to the colonizers
country for menial jobs because land (e.g, Native Americans, Latinos in the US, Africa, Asia) is
taken from them)
3 Factors to Satisfy
1. Forced Entry: Immigrants/ migrants had no choice but to go to the 1st or 2nd, world country
because of colonization
2. Labor Exploitation: The reason they are allowed to come to US is because we would like to
exploit their labor; must prove that they are paid less, etc.
3. Cultural Subordination: The reason why immigrants/migrants and their descendants perform
these jobs is because their culture has been interiorized – “hegemony”
Antonio Gramsci’s “Hegemony”
• Noted for his prison writings
– Hegemony:
1. How the dominant group controls others without the use of force (e.g, education, media,
2. How the oppressed collaborate in their own oppression (e.g internalize & perpetuate
stereotypes, self-hate, etc.)
• Not all countries of color colonized (e.g, Thailand/ Siam, Erhiopia, Japan)
– Voluntary assimilation/ colonization; still segregated in US
• Many new immigrants from Asia and Africa are among the most elite of country; no longer
• New “Tokens” or “subordinate elites” used to put down others
• not accurate; example of hegemony
• What is solution? Socialism? Arguably more ethnic conflict
What is “Prejudice”?
• “A set of attitudes which causes, supports or justifies discrimination” (Rose, 1951)
• “…an emotionally rigid attitude, or predisposition to respond to a certain stimulus in a certain
way toward a group of people”
Racial prejudice is an attitude towards an ethnic group that is directed in negative and often
stereotypic terms, and is based on a social, not a scientific definition of race and groups. An
individual is hated, despised, shunned and avoided because of membership in a particular group.
Four categories used in Sociology to explain how prejudice develops:
1. Exploitation
2. Ignorance
3. Racism-Ethnocentrism
4. Symbolic
These categories are not mutually exclusive & do overlap
Marxian theory
– History of the world is a “class struggle”
– Offers strongest explanation for prejudice as a tool
• One group dominates another sexually, economically and socially
• The “inferior” griyo must be kept in its place so that the “superior” group can achieve and
enjoy the advantages of better employment and social status
• “Mask of Privileges”: how the economically advantaged are able to use and exclude rising
groups from full participation in American life
Tenets of Exploitation:
1. Culture must have one primary goal: maximization of profit
2. Societal organizations such as business, religious and educational establishments must also
support this primary goal
3. There must be a large labor force for the unpopular and menial jobs
4. The inferior group must be considered heathen or subhuman and, therefore, deserving of
unequal treatment
5. Skin color for racial prejudice is an important factor
• Under capitalism, labor is just another factor of production to be used in maximizing profit.
• Can be bought and sold on a dehumanized basis so that the importance of individuality and the
family is minimized
• Human beings are treated as commodities, little different from land and capital
• In the history of the United States, non- “White” groups have felt the relationship between
prejudice and economic exploitation
• Overt discrimination – restrictive covenants; bans on naturalization, etc.
• Covert discrimination (e.g “gentrification” when whites are moving in; “ghettoization” when
people of color moving in, etc; language – “white” v. “black”
Summary of Exploitation Theory
• At the heart of the theory is not race hostility or prejudice, but the issues of capitalism and
imperialism which creates a “class conflict”
• White people, in order to bolster their positions in the class structure, have been brought to
look at “non-whites” as “the Other” – as the lower class.
• The correlation between racism and the development of capitalism is one of cause and effect;
therefore, the prediction is that race prejudice would disappear with the collapse of capitalism
• Is the history of the world really just a mere “class struggle”?
• Permeability. What about upper-income people of color? Mixed race? If you were once upon a
time a working class person, does that mean you will stay that way?
– What about college students? Tend to be poor while in college
• Too broad; prejudice is “relative” — not an absolute in the sense that only one country or
culture has it and another does not
2. Ignorance
• Prejudice can result from a simple lack of information and knowledge, preset attitudes, false
beliefs, stereotypes and images projected through the media
• Explanation about perpetuation more than creation of prejudice
• Pure ignorance caused by
• segregation: Asians generally unknown in the midwestern & southern states; not many Latinos
in the northern states; general segregation of Native Americans, etc.
• Problem is not solely regional, but results from segregation and separation practices — Many
people feel more comfortable with people who appear to be more like themselves, i.e, from the
same neighborhoods, religion, etc, so they are ignorant of others because of little intergroup
• Mass Media becomes extremely important — whatever information is received comes from
those who control the existing information – mass media
• Many people do no intentionally exploit people. but are duped into following the system
created by the media/bourgeoisie
Selective Perceptions & Experiences
• When stereotypes of a group are already given wide credence, selective perceptions &
experiences can validate the attitude
• “self-fulfilling prophecy”
– E.g when a group is labeled “loud and pushy,” an experience with someone of the group who
is actually loud and pushy reinforces the prejudice
– Evidence of those who do not fit the label is usually ignored, making exceptions such as “but
he or she doesn’t act like one of them”
Blaming the Victim
• Consolidation of strong monarchs
• England had just gotten through the
Reign of Ferdinand & Isabella of Spain
• Outside the Moors (a moslem tribe from north africa called Berbers)
• Shortly afterwards, sponsored Christopher Columbus’ journey — On April 17, 1492
Columbus and the Americas
• Columbus was trying to get to India when he came across the Americas — Hence he term
• Where did he actually got to?
• WHO DID HE MEET? — We celebrate Columbus day
• Columbus went to San Salvador
• The Tainos treated him as a “friend” — They gave him gifts and were extremely generous
• Columbus notes that they were really nice, peaceful even gentle. but he saw them as
“heathens” because they were not Christians.
• So the qualities of being peaceful, nice, etc. became signs of “weakness” and “depravity”
• Before Columbus left, he kidnapped 10 of the Tainos, including his host, and took them to
spain so that they could be introduced to the white men’s ways.
• One died soon after his arrival, but as Columbus wrote, not before he was baptized as a
Following year, 1493, Columbus returned, told his ment to capture ore Indians
This time, Columbus took 550 Indians with him; only 200 survived the trip
As Dee Brown writes, the Tainos & Arawaks were not opposed to Christianity until hordes of
Spaniards started coming & pillaging the village and its people
• E.g., in 1492, it was estimated that there were 1 million Tainos; 20 years later, there were less
than 46000
• The kidnapped hundreds people – men, women, children
Later Spaniards
After Columbus came other Spaniards
European colonization/ settlement of the Americas started with the Spanish, but US history
emphasizes Anglos
Probably the first European to touch US soil was Ponce de Leon in 1513 who was looking for the
Fountain of Youth in Florida; later killed by Calusa Indians.
Pequot War
– In 1636, the colonists went on a war against the Indian to make the land vacant
– 700 Pequots killed
– Part of Algonquin tribe
King Philip’s War aka metacom’s war
• Over 1000 Indians killed; another 6000 died of disease & combat
• Metacom was the younger son of Massasoit; as a Wampanoag chief, he wanted to resist all the
European invaders
• To try assuage Metacom, the New Englanders tried to flatter him by crowning him King Philip
of the Pokanoket
• Meanwhile, Metacom/ King Philip formed alliances with the Narrangansetts and other tribes
in the region in order to save the Indian confederacy
• After his older brother, Wamsutta was murdered by colonists, King Philip attacked 52
settlements, completely destroying 12
• But after months of fighting, the colonists won and virtually exterminated the Wampanoags &
• Being Indian = being the Devil
• Purpose of making Indians the devil — as the Brits had also deemed the Irish in Europe —
was to not only take the lands, but to help create the notion of an “American”
Pattern of Warfare — Prelude to French-Indian War
• Not all Europeans were like the Brits — The spanish, while oppressive, recognized some
marriages between Native Americans & the Spaniards creating upper-class Mestizos
• At least 7 types of classifications of Mestizos
• The difference is that the Spanish thought that thy way to make Indians “civilized” was to
make them Catholic
• In time, skin color
French-Indian Alliance
• Although outnumbered, the French were able to withstand English expansion because of their
Indian alliances
• The Algonquins were the most important for the French in maintaining/ protecting their
• The french rulers gave tribute to subjects to preserve the alliance
• The indians knew how to expolit their function
Commital Ground — Common Ground
• The alliance was about kinship in the form of patriarchy
• There was a french “father” and his “children”
• Problem with French in relations with Indians is the French do not have the power to
• They must find a commital ground
• Lots of initial cultural misunderstandings, but a middle ground was often achieved
• Mixed children of French-Indian descent = Metis
• Difficulties initially arise from different cultural perspectives with regards to what is meant by
a father
Patterns of French-British Warfare
• Empire wars on the North American continent between the French and the English were
usually limited to warfare between the New england area and Cananda
• Typically, the english would attempt to strike the heart of Canada via water by sailing around
Nova Scotia and trying to reach Quebec and Montreal
• Sometimes, during these wars before the 7 years war, the english never captured Montreal or
• A stalemate typical resulted and the conflict would scale back to Indian raids across the
French & English borders
Prelude to 7 Years War (1756-1763)
Migration of people intersect
— Europeans were moving into the Pennsylvania region
— displaced Indians from New England moved into Ohio river valley
• Us Constitution, Equality of Women, US Representative government modeled after them
• Thomas Jefferson had marveled at their sophistication & morality
Iroquois tried to assert control over the Ohio River Valley, but they could not
Juan Gonzales argues that is because they were truly peaceful so that dictatorship by one person
over a group went against their belief in a democracy
After years of bloodshed to save their political independence, they ended up being defeated
So they sell the area to the english, even though they do not have control
• French were enraged, so they marched to Pittsburgh and set up Fort Duquesne to protect their
• Militia from Virginia, under direction of George Washington, marched to the area to protect
settlers & interests
• 1755, British General Braddock cut a road and marched to Ft. Duquesne
• his force is destroyed; this stars the French-Indian War
7 Years War
• Was basically a European war on North America
• Pattern of warfare broken because the British decided to fund the war with their own money
and to provide their own regular troops — prior to that time, wars financed by colonists
• French ended up ceding all of Canada to British with defeat
Consequence of 7 Years War
• Colonists started to believe that they might not need England for protection or help
• Indians were devastated; felt betrayed to have the balance of power shift entirely to England
• British viewed all Indians as savage – culturally & racially
• British General Thomas Gage, now Governor of MA, wanted to subjugate all Indians
• Indians planned rebellion – e.g, Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763
Pontiac’s War
• 1760s, Pontiac of the Ottawas United Tribes in the Great Lakes region tried to drive the Brits
back to the Alleghenies
• Proclamation of 1763 aimed to keep the English east of the Adirondacks
• Basic goal: bring back the French into his rebellion
• He failed; amor error was an alliance with French-speaking white men who withdrew aid
during siege of Detroit
Although Pontiac’s influence declined around Detroit after unsuccessful siege, he gained stature
in the Illinois and Wabash country as he continued to encourage resistance to the British
In July 1766, Pontiac made peace with British Superintendent of Indian Affairs Sir William
The attention which the British paid to Pontiac created resentment among other Indian leaders,
particularly because Pontiac claimed far greater authority than he possessed
Increasingly ostracized, in 1769 he was assassinated by a Peoria Indian (some say retaliation on
Peorias after this)
• Major issue impacting people of color in the United States
• Began before the revolutionary War
2 typical approaches to reaserching african Americans & Slavery
1. “top-down” model:
Form the perspective of the slave holders, policy maers, media; never hear from those enslaved
2. “bottom-up” model:
Slave narratives – but they are insufficient; supposedly from mouths of people
Two views on the advent of American slavery
1. Carl Degler – “ethnocentrism” perspective
2. Oscar Handlin – “exploitation” theory
Oscar & Mary Handlin Perspective:
Slavery was not always there:
• Emerged from European institutions
• Blacks were originally indentured servants
• First group of African indentured servants from Angola came to Jamestown on August 1619 a year before pilgrims arrived to plymouth Rock
– But by 1660s, the pressure of attracting white indenture servants led to making their conditions
more favorable than those of Blacks
– In the process, the status of Blakcs turned to slavery
– With the development of large plantations in the 1690s, & the importation of numerous sla …
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