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CES 101

Introduction to Ethnic Studies

Spring 2012

Instructor Dr. David Leonard E-mail
Phone 335-6854 Office Hours MWF, 9-10 and by appointment
Office Wilson 117

Introduction and Course Description

In 1969, students at San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley launched massive protests at their respective campuses in demand for Ethnic Studies, an increased number of students of color, and a more diverse/representative faculty body.  Challenging the Eurocentric nature of the academy (America) and the systematic exclusion of faculty/students of color, the field of Ethnic Studies emerged through struggle, political organizing and resistance.  More than forty years later, this course challenges our assumptions of race, privilege and racism as well as the connected social constructs of gender, sexuality and class.  It pushes the conversation beyond the United States, looking at how race and racism exists in other parts of globe, emphasizing how globalization connect us in a myriad of ways.  Exploring a number of different sites in which racial meaning is created, articulated and challenged, we will come to see how central race (racism) is to the structural organization and lived experiences of our society.

In 2011, Washington State University instituted a series of changes to its general education requirements. Included within these changes was an alteration of its diversity requirement.  The new requirement reads as such:

The diversity requirement challenges students to critically analyze cultural differences and systems of inequality by learning about the diversity of human values and experiences.  This form of analysis assists cross-cultural (both within the United States and trans-national), communication and understanding, as well as personal development, by helping students to identify, analyze and propose alternatives to current systems of inequality and adapt empathically and flexibly to unfamiliar ways of being.

Specifically, Diversity courses should: (a) promote cultural self-awareness; (b) inform how culture is influenced by history, politics, power and privilege, communication styles, economics, institutionalized discrimination and inequality, and cultural values, beliefs and practices; (c) develop empathy skills that enable students to interpret intercultural experiences; (d) promote curiosity on the part of students to ask complex questions about other cultures and classes, and to seek out answers that reflect multiple cultural perspectives; or (e) encourage students to initiate and develop interactions with culturally different others

Broken into three distinct, but connected sections, this class examines diversity through a discussion of identity differences, inequality in privilege and opportunity, and other experiences that illustrate the range of human experience within our contemporary world. The initial portion of the class provides a foundational understanding of a number of different key themes and concepts.  It will allow us to gain an understanding of the ideas of race, privilege, racism, and institutional racism all concepts mentioned and discussed at great lengths in both public and private discourses, but rarely understood with the necessary critical depth.  For example, while the idea of “race” is used on a daily occurrence, more often than not people embrace a biological or a cultural approach (race as ethnicity).  However, we will approach the notion of race as a constructed idea that is central to American life and the tenets of white supremacy, capitalism and American nationalism.   We will also look at the social construction of race outside of the United States, reflecting on racialization, privilege, and inequality as it has manifested in other parts of the globe.

The second section of the course will provide an opportunity to think about the impact of difference, inequality, and racialization within a global economy.  Emphasizing how it not only impacts others but how we collectively connect to these larger social processes, this section will focus on how cultural, economic, racial, and other divisions impact us all, especially in patterns of consumption.   The third and final section of the course will focus on Affirmative Action, examining how race, stereotype, and privilege operate at the local level.  We will specifically reflect on the affirmative action in a global context, examining similar programs in other context all while thinking about privileges across varied racial boundaries.

Key Realities

It is important that everyone arrives in class with an open-mind, a critical gaze (a willingness to go beyond common assumptions) and most importantly a willingness and desire to read, attend class, and learn.  Without preparedness and reading skills (as well as a desire to engage in those elements of learning) this class will be a struggle. For those students who want to improve these skills, this class will facilitate that process.  For those who want a class that does not require thinking, that does not mandate completion of the reading, that sees attendance as superfluous, and is in all ways easy on the mind, this may not be the class for you.

Required Readings

  • Kelsey Timmerman, Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes (Wiley, 2008): ISBN-13: 978-0470376546
  • Peter G. Schmidt, Color and Money: How Rich White Kids Are Winning the War over College Affirmative Action (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007): ISBN-13: 978-1403976017
  • RF LCD “Clicker”


Course Requirements



You are expected to attend class every day, arrive on time, and participate in an informed and consistent manner.  Lecture notes will not be available online so it is imperative that you attend class.  If you are absent from class, it is your responsibility to check on announcements made while you were away.


In order for this class to be productive you will need to come to class each and every day prepared to discuss the material.  This requires more than simply doing the reading (WHICH IS ESSENTIAL), but arriving at class with a readiness to discuss the issues for that day.  Despite the size of this class, it is my hope that we can have engaging and productive conversations.  In an effort to facilitate dialog and to encourage collective interaction, I am requiring that you purchase a clicker for this class.  Your daily participation and contributions/participation via the clicker will be the primary basis of your participation grade.  However, participation extends beyond clickers and being engaged within the class.

Recognizing that silence is not always a result of a lack of interest or preparation, I envision participation along many lines.  Participating in class not only consists of talking, but also includes listening (please do not talk while others are speaking), interacting with your peers, and contributing to our classroom energy (body language, being engaged – no newspapers, no playing “rock, paper scissors,” or cell phones).

There are three additional ways to enhance your participation grade and contribution to class:

□   You can participate in online discussions, comment on the course blog or otherwise engage our learning community

□   You can e-mail me comments or questions prior to class

□   You can hand me a note at the beginning of class that asks specific questions (or relays comments) about readings, a previous lecture or film – I will do my best to incorporate into that day’s class

□   You can also enhance participation grade by reading the daily newspapers in print or online and bringing the class’s attention to relevant articles/developments

Participation Portion of grades based on following:

85-100 Points:              Active participant in class in all regards; enhances and invigorates the

class; active and successful with student response device

70-84.99 Points:             Participates and contributes regularly; does not push class conversations

in new directions but often contributes

55-69.99 Points:             Contributes on occasions but does so at basic level; engaged, but not


40-54.99 Points:             Rarely contributes, but present; shows limited effort and interest in class

25-39.99  Points:             Does not contribute, but physically present for most part; brings little

energy and generally demonstrates little interest or effort within class

0-24.44  Points:             Detracts from overall success of class because of disinterest, use of cell                                                phone in class, sleeping during class, disengagement, negative attitude,

rudeness, non or   disruptive/destructive participation, etc.

Online writings and discussions (150 Points)

In order to advance our discussions, to push reflection and dialogue, and to otherwise foster engagement, this class will use our course blog space to expand upon course issues.  There will be a particular focus on diversity and the ways in which inequality, differential access to opportunity/privilege, and history defines diversity within the United States and globally.

Every two weeks, I will post a different question.  It will be your responsibility to respond to the question at hand and also respond to at least one peer comment. You will be responsible for participating in at least 3 conversations. The key to success here is both self-reflection and engagement with course materials.  The questions will, thus, connect to course materials but also push you to think about your own experiences.  Below you will see examples of types of questions you may find throughout the course

  1. Is colorblindness the same as equality?
  2. Are all “whites are born to privilege”?
  3. If you identify as white, what does it mean to you to be white? If you do not identify as white, what does whiteness mean to you in this society and/or beyond it? Using readings, film, course discussions, and your own personal experiences, please focus on racialization and the connections between whiteness, privilege, and white supremacy.
  4. Describe in detail the racial and ethnic make-up of either your hometown or your high school.
  5. What are the important facts, historical events, legal and political issues, court cases, etc., that you think are important in the larger history of race in America?  Which of these events are still relevant today?
  6. Do people of color in the United States have more in common with people of color from other parts of the world or with whites in America?
  7. How does guilt function within conversations about race?
  8. Who do you represent?
  9. Do you have memories of family or friends challenging racism during your life?  Impact here?  What examples of anti-racist activist did you learn about in school?
  10. What experiences have shaped and impacted your views about race and racism?
  11. Is every person either a racist or anti-racist?  Can only whites be racist in the context of contemporary America?
  12. The injustices and inequalities experienced in other parts of the world prove that things aren’t so bad in the United States
  13. What is the global economy?  How do you fit into a global economy?
  14. Do our dollars give approval to the business practices used around the world? So now the question is what can you do as a consumer?
  15. What are the pictures, feelings, smells, sounds, and words that come to mind when you read the word “sweatshop”?
  16. Are sweatshops a production or consumption problem? How does poverty and inequality contribute to the existence of sweatshops?
  17. What is affirmative action?  What sorts of myths and stereotypes impact our conversation about affirmative action

Racial Identity Response Paper

(Due at the end of week #1 & November 30): 250 Points.

At the start of class, each member of the class will be responsible for writing a 1-2 page essay that explores the significance of race.  Each essay should answer the following question (and sub questions): Does race matter? (Does race matter in your own life; does it matter in your community; does it still matter in the United States; does it matter outside the United States).  This essay should both engage course materials and apply them to personal experiences.

At the end of the semester, each student will return to this topic, writing a new essay that again answers this question, while also reflecting on the changes in analysis and argument.  Students should submit both essays at the end of the semester along with a short paragraph reflecting on the changes between the essays.


There are three exams for the class.  Each exam will be an in class exam that consists of objective/ multiple-choice questions.  The final exam will be cumulative. These exams will test your knowledge and mastery over course lectures, readings, films, and other course materials.  Except under unusual circumstances, there will be no make-up exams.

Extra Credit

There is the potential for extra credit opportunities available throughout the class.  These opportunities will come in the form of in-class activities (via the clicker) and participation in other online activities facilitated through Angel.

Assignment Schedule


Due Date** Assignment Grade Value
February 24, 2012 Exam #1 150 Points
April 13, 2012 Exam #2 150 Points
January 27 & April 20 Racial Identity paper 250 points [150 for first paper and 100 for second paper]
May 2, 2012, 8-10 Final Exam 200 points 
Daily Participation 100 Points
3 x semester (minimum) Online Discussions 150 points

**We hold right to make adjustments to class and assignment schedule as needed

Grading Scale

1000-930: A

929-900: A-

899-870: B+

869-830: B

829-800: B-

799-770: C+

769-730: C

729-700: C-

699-670: D+

669-600: D

590 and Below: F

Course Schedule


Course Schedule


1/9 – Introduction

1/11 – What is Race?

Film: Race: Power of an Illusion (Part 1)


1/13 – Race as Social Construction

Reading: Lisa Wade, “The Census and the Social Construction of Race,”

Sally Raskoff, “The Social Construction of Race, Ethnicity, Sex, and Gender,”


1/16 – No Class

1/18 – Talking about Race

Readings: Bob Blauner, “Talking Past each Other,”; Steve Locke, “Why I don’t want to talk about Race”

1/20 – Talking Past each other

Readings: Sarah Jackson, “Why I Want to Talk about Race, And Why You Should, Too,”; Jen Graves, “Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race,”


1/23 – Racism and New Racism

Readings: “Why there’s no such thing is ‘reverse racism;”; Asraa Mustufa, “Study: Whites Think ‘Reverse Racism’ is on the Rise,”

1/25 – Racism – Case of Home Loans
Readings: Kai Wright, “Hard Knox in the Bronx,”; Michael Powell, “Bank Accused of Pushing Mortgage Deals on Blacks,”

1/27 – Home Loans contd.

1/30 – Colorblind Racism

Readings: Sally Lehrman, “Colorblind Racism,”; Larry Yu, “Color Blindness: The New Racism?,”; Monica Williams, “Colorblind ideology is a form of racism,”

2/1 – Privilege

Readings: Robert Jensen, “White Privilege Shapes the U.S.”; Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”

2/3 – Privilege

Readings: Allen Johnson, “Our House is on Fire”; Tim Wise, “White People Swim in Preference,”

2/6 – Living privilege

Readings: Phillip S. Smith, “Dorm Room Dealers: A Peek into the Drug World of the White and Upwardly Mobile”; Nicholas Peart, “Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?”

2/8 – Challenging Privilege

2/10 – Stereotypes

Readings: ; John Cloud, “How Stereotypes Defeat the Stereotyped”,9171,1900261,00.html

2/13 – Stereotypes

Claude Steele, “Thin Ice: Stereotype Threat and Black College Students,”; “The Surprisingly Limited Malleability of Implicit Racial Evaluations,”

2/15 – Living Stereotypes

Reading: Black stereotype college parties spark outrage,  Emanuella Grinberg, ‘We’re a culture, not a costume’ this Halloween,

2/17 – Challenging Stereotypes

2/20 – No class

2/22 – Review

2/24 – Exam

2/27 – Race and Globalization

Readings: John a. powell and S.P. Udayakumar “Race, Poverty & Globalization,; Lucky Sleigle, “An ethical guide to your home: from mobile phones to sofas,”

2/29 – Race, media, and Globalization

Readings: “Rihanna, Race, Globalization and Media or “Hey Netherlands!,”; “Oprah, Race, and Neoliberalism: A Series of Diaries,,-Race-and-Neoliberalism:-A-Series-of-Diaries

3/2 – No Reading

Film: Life and Debt


3/5 – Global perspective 

Reading: Timmerman, xiii-20


3/7 – Made in Bangladesh

Reading: Timmerman, 23-52


3/9 – Made in Bangladesh

Reading: Timmerman, 53- 84

3/19 – Made in Cambodia

Reading: Timmerman, 85-106

3/21 – Made in Cambodia

Reading: Timmerman, 107-152

3/23 – Made in China

Reading: Timmerman, 151-186

3/26 – Made in China

Reading: Timmerman, 187-218

3/28 & 3/30 –NO CLASS

4/2 Harvested in America

Reading: Timmerman, 219-243; Gabriel Thompson, “The job you won’t do: Try working a season in the lettuce fields of Yuma,”;

4/4-4/6 – Chocolate and Roses: Not so sweet anymore

Readings: Caroline Tiger, “Bittersweet Chocolate,”; Kate McMahon, “The Dark Side of Chocolate,”; Ginger Thompson, “Behind Roses’ Beauty, Poor and Ill Workers”;;  Ross Wehner, “Valentine’s Day, and all is not rosy”

4/9 Mugged: Coffee and Global Poverty

Readings: Rosemary Ekosso, “Starbucks and Ethiopian Coffee: The Bitter Taste of Exploitation,”; Look at information here —  

4/11 – Review


4/13 – Exam #2


4/16 – Schmidt, chapters #1-2

4/18 – Schmidt, chapters #3-4


4/20 – Schmidt chapter #5


4/23 – Schmidt, chapters #6-7


4/25-4/27 – TBA



This syllabus and schedule are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances and shifts in class needs. If you are absent from class, it is your responsibility to check on announcements made in your absence.

Course Policies

  1. To be successful in this class you must read prior to arrival to class; you need to be prepared each and every day
  1. The following are unwelcome and unacceptable within this class
  1. Sleeping, daydreaming or otherwise tuning out during class
  1. Habitual tardiness.  If you are late, you MUST SIT IN THE FIRST ROW AND SPEAK WITH ME AT THE CONCLUSION OF CLASS
  1. Packing up your notebook and other materials prior to the end of class
  1. Reading the newspaper, another book, or otherwise focusing on something other than class
  1. Chatting to classmates
  1. Getting up during class because you feel thirty or hungry.
  1. Leaving class early

2.                         Turn cell phones off upon arrival to class – Please note that if I see your cell phone/other handheld device (not if it rings) whether because you’ve decided to text message, check scores, show a friend a picture or listen to messages, you will be marked absence for the day


3.             Computer usage within class is strictly forbidden except in specific circumstances (disability accommodation) and with permission from instructor

Course Expectations

Despite the size of the class, it is my hope that this class is a lively educational space defined

by interaction, discussions,  and critical thinking.  It is important to produce a classroom

that is open, respectful, and trusting.  Following the above rules will contribute to a

productive educational environment; of equal importance will be the respect shown for the

class, its members, and the ideas discussed therein.  As such, it is crucial that we adhere to

certain guidelines.

  1. Be respectful of others, in terms of engaging and listening to lectures, peer comments, and other course materials.
  2. Reflect on social location and work to understand alternative arguments, analysis, and narratives, as well as anger.
  3. Acknowledge that racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and other institutionalized forms of oppression exist.
  4. Acknowledge that one mechanism of institutionalized racism, classism, sexist, heterosexism, etc. is that we are all systematically taught misinformation about our own group and about members of other groups.  This is true for members of privileged and oppressed groups.
  5. Read in an engaged way, recognizing the ideology and politics imbedded in every text.  Make notes in the margins – “dialogue” with the text, using exclamation points, questions or issue complete statements, questions or critiques.  Ask yourself: what is significant in this piece, what elicits anger/sadness/laughter, but go beyond emotional responses to be prepared to make specific statements about the reading!
  6. Be aware of your own subject position, ideologies, privileges and prejudices.  Recognize your own relationship to institutions of power and structures of domination.  This can help you make specific connections to the reading, class discussions and other forms of feedback.  Rather than proclaiming, “This article sucks,” or “You are wrong,” you can get more specific about the basis and origins of your reaction.  For example, rather then engaging in a discussion about homosexuality with statements of disgust and contempt, it might be better to state: “From my position as a white male, who was raised with the teachings of the Bible, I find homosexuality a bit troubling, especially in the context of the arguments made by ________ on page ____.”
  7. Agree to combat actively the myths and stereotypes about your own “group” and other groups so that we can break down the walls that prohibit group cooperation and group gain.  Read and listen with recognition of other people’s subject position and ideologies.  LISTEN TO OTHERS!
  8. Reflect on our choice of language in and outside of class, striving to rid our vocabulary of racist, sexist, homophobic words, phrases.  Recognize that your choice of words reflect your own ideological position and may bother others (think about how others may react to your words – not just content, but the way we chose to express those thoughts)
  9. Create a safe atmosphere for open discussion.  If members of the class may wish to make comments that they do no want repeated outside the classroom, they can preface their remarks with a request that the class agree not to repeat the remarks.  Also, think about your language (including body language), posture, etc. contributes to safe/empowering or disempowering/unsafe learning environment.
  10. Take Risks: I want this class to be a space where everyone should feel comfortable enough to disagree with each other.  This needs to be safe space so reflect on the ways you engage others with your own pronouncements and how you react (with words, body language) to their statements – react privilege and positionality
  11. Read and dialogue in a politically engaged way.  Racial Dynamics, for our purposes here, reflects power, and relationship to systems/sources of power.  Power dynamics are contextual (situational) and relational.  You may have power in some spaces and lack it in others, all depending on social location.  Ask yourself these questions while reading and discussing within the classroom space: Is the analysis leaving anyone relevant out? For what reasons?  Where is this analysis coming from?  Whose knowledge base is being explored or forwarded?
  12. Speak with evidence and “facts” on your side.  Despite the popular pronouncements that there are no wrong answers, there are incomplete, problematic, superficial, surfaced, and unsubstantiated answers.  Reflect on your own answers and the basis of your conclusions
  13. Go beyond an either/or dichotomyIncorporate a both/and approach rather than an “either/or.”
  14. Recognize the knowledge base of your peers.  Its ok – recommended and great, in fact – to respond to a counterpoint with “hey, I’ve never thought of it that way,” or “well, you do make a good point – I’ll have to think about that for a while.”  Discussion in this class isn’t about proving, embarrassing, showing off, winning, losing, convincing, holding one’s argument to the bitter end – its about dialogue, debate and self-reflections.


DON’T DO IT!  What constitutes cheating: Turning in any work that is not yours and yours completely, which includes using a “cheat sheet,” copying the answers from a peer, copying and pasting from a website, copying a friend’s work, etc.  If someone else said it, wrote it, thought it, etc. give them credit – DON’T STEAL THE INTELLECTUAL WORK OF OTHERS.  Your failure to follow these basic instructions, to respect the classroom, to take the easy route, to be in the business of pretending to learn, think, analyze, and otherwise be a student, is not acceptable in any regard.  What this means is that if you cheat, you will receive a “0” for that assignment and you will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students.  Any decision to violate the sanctity and purpose of the classroom leaves me with little choice in this regard.  If you are unfamiliar with WSU policy regarding cheating and confused as to what constitutes cheating (plagiarism), please consult the Standards for Student Conduct found here:

Students with Disabilities

I am committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accommodation to fully participate in this class, please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC). All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC, located Washington Building, Room 217. To make an appointment with a disability specialist, please call 335-3417.

Emergency Notification System:[1]

WSU has made an emergency notification system available for faculty, students and staff. Please register at myWSU with emergency contact information (cell, email, text, etc). You may have been prompted to complete emergency contact information when registering for classes on RONet. Please refer to the University emergency management website as well WSU ALERT  for information on WSU’s communication resources WSU will use to provide warning and notification for emergencies. The entire WSU safety plan can be found at

Primary Learning Outcomes


At the end of this course, students should be able to: Course topics (& dates) that advance these learning goals:  This objective will assessed primarily by
LG1 To understand the ways in which race matters 8/26-9/24 (topics: race, racism, privilege, stereotypes) Racial identity paper; midterm; online discussions; class participation; and in-class writing
LG2 To understand the persistence of racism and inequality within the United States and elsewhere around the globe 8/26-9/24 (topics: race, racism, privilege, stereotypes) Racial identity paper; midterm; online discussions; class participation; and  in-class writing
LG3 To reflect on the ways in which privilege impacts opportunities and outcomes 8/26-9/24 (topics: race, racism, privilege, stereotypes) Racial identity paper; midterm; online discussions; class participation; and  in-class writing
LG4 To comprehend the nature of globalization and its impact on individual communities 9/22-11/16 (globalization; Made in; coffee and chocolate production; slaughter houses; agricultural work) Midterm; online discussions; class participation; and  in-class writing
LG5 To understand the ways in which race, national, class, and gender differences effect and are impacted by globalization 9/22-11/16 (globalization; Made in; coffee and chocolate production; slaughter houses; agricultural work) Midterm; online discussions; class participation; and  in-class writing
LG6 To understand the production of various products and goods and the ways in which racial and class differences impacts this process 9/22-11/16 (globalization; Made in; coffee and chocolate production; slaughter houses; agricultural work) Midterm; online discussions; class participation; and  in-class writing
LG7 To be able to discuss affirmative action, its history, the ways in which race, class, and gender operate in the context of higher education 11/30-12-9 Final exam; online discussions; class participation; and in-class writing
LG 7 To reflect on the diversity of the United States (cultural, racial, privilege; economic; power) in a global context Final exam; online discussions; class participation; and  in-class writing

[1] From T & L 589 syllabus of Dr. Paula Groves Price

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