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When Race Breaks Out

Conversations about Race and Racism in College Classrooms – 3rd Revised edition


Helen Fox

The third revised edition of "When Race Breaks Out" is a guide for college and high school teachers who want to promote honest and informed conversations about race and racism. Based on the author's personal practice and interviews with students and faculty from a variety of disciplines, this book combines personal memoirs, advice, teaching ideas, and lively classroom vignettes. A unique insideräs guide to the salient ideas, definitions, and opinions about race helps instructors answer students' questions and anticipate their reactions, both to the material and to each other. An extensive annotated bibliography of articles, books, and videos with recommendations for classroom use is included.


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Annotated Resources and More Ideas for Assignments


This section contains resources that are especially recommended for classroom use. V indi- cates full-length video or DVD; SV indicates a short, online video usually found on YouTube. Genetics and Human Origins V BBC (2008). In the blood: Episode #4, Divided we stand. Video, 49 minutes. Distrib- utor: Films for the Humanities & Sciences. A thought-provoking introduction to the history of racial essentialism—the idea that “race” is biological, fixed, and immutable. Popularized during the nineteenth century by European and North American scien- tists to establish the superiority of “whiteness,” the idea has more recently been taken up by several black academics to claim the even greater superiority of blackness. The film gently corrects the latter view by showing how new work on the human genome reveals the astonishing similarity of the human family—only six out of sixty thousand genes control skin color, for example. This film can lead into a discussion of more common essentialist ideas such as the “natural athletic superiority” of black basketball players, the “natural mathematical superiority” of Asians, or the “genetic connection” of Native Americans to the environment. V PBS (2002). The journey of man: A genetic odyssey. Video, 120 minutes. Geneti- cist Spencer Wells relates how scientists discovered, through DNA research, that all modern humans can be traced back to a single female ancestor, “Eve,” who lived in Africa around 150,000 years ago, and “Adam,” who (surprisingly) lived 60,000 years 168 when race breaks out ago. More details of how and why...

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