Final Thoughts (Online Writing)

We all entered the classroom with assumptions and thoughts about race in contemporary society.  Write about these ideas and how they might have changed during the course of the semester.  Give at least 5 examples


Last day May 3

250-300 words


36 thoughts on “Final Thoughts (Online Writing)

  1. Coming into this class I didn’t necessarily have any expectations right off the bat but I figured it would be a class that would make me think. I wouldn’t say I was completely comfortable with talking about racial issues before this class but I can say that over the semester I was challenged and have learned to engage in an active conversation about race without feeling pressured or offensive. It is a subject that really should be talked about more openly because there are so many issues that people don’t know about. For example, before this class I would have never thought about the relationship between race and environment. I wouldn’t have learned any of the frightening statistics about incarceration rates or economic issues such as why minimum wage was originally used for. It’s important for people to know the impact that our government has had on racial issues and keeping things the same, like red lining certain areas thus leaving them with stereotypical long lasting economic issues and a reputation of high criminal rates. I found a lot of the videos insightful and interesting, especially the one that discussed hip hop music. I found it so interesting that women could say “they aren’t talking about me theyre talking about other girls.” And that most people don’t realize what lyrics are slipped into songs such as “I slip molly in her champagne she don’t even know it.” I can’t believe that society has accepted these offensive lyrics hinting at rape. It made me take another look at my music and challenged me to analyze it more.

  2. When I took this class, I expected to learn about things like racism and other things that different cultures can have an affect on how I should live my life. However, this class offered more than that. It went beyond what race meant in our society. As we had discussions in our classrooms and talked about how we felt about the subject, I got a good idea of how each an everyone of the students thought about the subject. The issues that we talked about and the very events that happened at the time opened my eyes about looking into race and its differences. I didn’t feel the pressure to engage in certain ways but the fact that the things we were discussing in class was interesting made me want to partake in the discussions. Talking about minimum wages, music and even religion at times made me feel like this class is more than just a ethics class. Its not about how we should look at the different cultures but really to act on it do something different, and maybe even make a change. The relationships between the race, culture and the environment also helped me to realize that I should be thankful for being multicultured and to be living in the US with middle class parents. As this semester finishes, I will be thankful for the things that were shown and taught in this class because it made me think about the things that were beyond my thoughts about comparative ethics.

  3. As I registered for this class I knew it would be interesting and a good opportunity to learn more about my ethnicity. Although I had an idea about what this class would be like, I had no idea how in depth this class would go. This class not only taught me about the true meaning of race, but it also taught me the history behind it. Before taking this class I didn’t realize how “privilege” and “race” go hand in hand in our society today for the majority of people. Learning the scholastic statistics of an African American male, compared to a White male made me realize how privileged I am to be attending an university, and be of an ethnic background. While taking this course, the one thing that really interested me more than anything was the policing/prison lecture. I found it very interesting that the government spent millions of dollars teaching cops how to profile a person in operation pipeline. I believe the government should have put that money elsewhere, because all the cops were taught to do was “judge a person by their looks.” Another thing I enjoyed about this course was learning the history of racism. Personally I think how minorities were treated is horrible, but it also made me respect and appreciate the minorities for the troubling times they went through. Learning about racism made me think of holidays such as MLK Day as more than just a day off school. It made me think deeper and appreciate the people who fought for the rights we have today. Lastly, this course introduced me to the hidden racism that the media produces. It might not seem racist at first sight, but once you look deeper into the product and what they produced, there is controversy. Overall, this was my favorite class this semester.

  4. When I registered for this class I really only did so because a friend told me it wasnt that hard to get a good grade. But very quickly I found that this class makes you really think about the world we live in. Just the first day when we come in and we here people talking about where they came from and how there life has given them this different outlook then me was interesting. When we talked about racism in class I learned more about how the law and rules of this country are almost made to keep minorities down. Then the garden showed how again minorities have such a hard time finding the basic necessities that I grew up used too, like fresh veggies and fruit. Next seeing the stats on the drug usage in the country and how the majority is used by whites wasnt a total shock to me growing up in a predominantly white area, but the huge difference in incarcerations based on that did shock me. Also being from an area with reservations and native Americans I didn’t expect to hear that many of them live by toxic and hazardous areas, gives me a little more respect for the people in my town. But overall I think I did more out of class thinking based on what we did and discussed in this class than any other class I’ve had at school so far. Loved the class.

  5. This is an interesting question for me to answer. The reason I took this class was to fill credits in a subject I already had a solid academic background in. Through my sociology and women’s studies classes I have done plenty of studying up on race and inequality. Therefore I did not come in with any assumptions but I can comment on how I grew my knowledge of the subject. For one I did not have a vast understanding of environmental racism. I knew that poor communities are typically in industrial areas but I wasn’t familiar with the higher rates of diseases and death within those communities. Secondly I knew about racial profiling but was not aware of how or why it came about. Through the subject of the war on drugs I learned that the policy of profiling was put in to disproportionately target and incarcerate people of color who would likely not be able to defend themselves leading to a conviction. Third I learned that America, due to the war on drugs, incarcerates the most criminal of any other developed country and by a long shot. Fourth I expanded my knowledge of privilege and how it affect the opportunities that I have in my life as a white male and how others are not afforded similar opportunities based on a trait. Last but not least I expanded my knowledge of how race is socially constructed. I knew the saying from soc classes but this class helped to expand my understanding of the saying. Overall this class say greatly expanded my knowledge of race and inequality.

  6. When I signed up for this class I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. The only real reason why I took this class was because someone mentioned that it was a pretty interesting and fun class. After taking the class I can agree with them that it was interesting and fun, but there was much more to it. Our particular class was supposed to teach about racism, but teach racism in an environment filled with people of all different types of ethnicities and beliefs. In that matter the class environment was different, depending on what you said has the potential to affect someone positively or negatively so you have to think about what you’re going to say. Before this class I wouldn’t have known any of the percentage facts about different ethnicities have advantages or disadvantages, which I found very interesting. This was shocking to see some races were more subject to things more than others. I also didn’t think about how some women have accepted the fact that men degrade them in their songs and they’re okay with because they’re talking about “the other girls.” One of the more interesting things I learned was how there is actually racism that goes on everyday, but some how manages not to be seen: colorblind racism. Not only did we learn about the different types of racism, but the actual history of racism. Where it started, how it started, and how it evolved over time. At times I felt a little uncomfortable to talk out loud about certain topics, but as time went on I was able build confidence and share my thoughts with the class. Another interesting thing I learned was understanding privilege. That word means a lot for people all around because it can affect the opportunities an individual may have. Overall, it was a great year and I was excited to be apart of such an interesting class and for the future would recommend it to others. Thank you. ps. Listening to some of the music in the morning kept things pretty interesting and was a great way to start class.

  7. Being a sociology minor, I have had classes that discussed race and stereotyping before. I felt that there was nothing new that I would learn in this class because I thought there was only so much you could say about the subject. However, I learned that instead of just racism, there were many other topics to be discussed in this class. I’m not going to lie, being a white female made me feel a little uncomfortable in this class. I knew that I was privileged and when we discussed certain topics such as privilege I was going to feel guilty, and I did. I was assuming that the message that came out of some lectures were “minorities are good, white people are bad” because some days we discussed why white people get everything handed to them. I know it seems pretty vulgar, but it’s hard not to feel that way when it is something out of your control. I was offended when we had these type of discussions because I physically cannot do anything about my race or the fact that I get certain things easier than minorities. One turning point of the semester I felt was the video and discussions on rap culture and rape culture. This is something very relative to my life and I didn’t even consider how my life would be if I was not a female and if I did not listen to rap music. Rap music subconsciously changes my thoughts on how women are supposed to look and how men are supposed to act. I now realize that my personal thoughts have changed because I listen to rap music so often and it is usually very derogatory. This topic was one of the most interesting in the semester because it was something that has a real impact on my life. I realized that being a woman can make me feel like a victim even when I am not being specifically targeted. However, after being appalled at the seemingly judgemental discussions, I felt that it was a breath of fresh air when we started talking about stereotyping and privilege for people based on things other than their skin color. One of my major thoughts that have changed throughout class was the idea of equality. I remember the picture of the 3 people looking over the fence while standing on pedestals to look and that image really stuck with me. I feel that in a class like this, it is important to also mention things like gender and age. For example, I didn’t even consider poverty for children and for the elderly before taking this class. I did however take into consideration that women are treated much differently than men.
    When teaching a class like this, I know it can be very challenging not to upset certain groups and that while something may be carefree to some, it could be a really touchy subject to others. Sometimes in this class I felt victimized while also feeling like the villain which is something I have never experienced before in a class.

  8. When first entering into this class I did not really have any preconceived notions going in. I was taking it in order to get credits but also to further my understanding of the world around me. I have learned about racial issues on several occasions throughout my educational past. Just based on previous knowledge I know of our countries past with racial issues. I also know that race is still an issue today. But before taking this class I did not understand how bad some things still really are. (1) I would have never even considered race an issue when thinking about environmental matters. (2) I also did not quite know how much white privilege really is powerful and prevalent. Such things as whites having 8-11 times the wealth of blacks and whiteness being as much an asset as 8 years of experience blows me away. (3) I also had never really realized how often police officers use racial profiling. It is disheartening to hear that millions of dollars were spent due to operation pipeline to teach officers how to profile. (4) Although university admittance is very prevalent to my life I did not know how many factors were being addressed and how many negative effects occurred just due to someones color or financial background. It is pretty unsatisfactory to find that rich kids are 25 times more likely to gain admission to a university. It is not like all rick kids are super smart or way ahead of people with less financial means in schooling. (5) In conclusion, I really did not realize how bad some things still really were. This class served as a wake up call to understand what is happening in the world around me. it forced me to come to the realization that there are still many things needed to be done in order to help solve some of the problems with race in the contemporary setting.

  9. When I first entered the class, my thoughts on race were very open. I have grown up in diverse communities my whole life, because my dad is in the navy, and we moved around a lot. I was always exposed to different races, and it was rarely an issue for me. I loved meeting Filipinos, African Americans, Japanese, Mexicans, etc. The list goes on. Even though race wasn’t a big issue, I did learn one thing, racism is not one-sided, as this class, at least the way I have interpreted it, as promoted. I noticed different racial groups stuck together. I was not one to fall into one specific group or another. I had friends in each one of the groups, but when I went to hang out with the friends I had in Filipino group or the African American group, I noticed some people from each of the groups who clearly did not enjoy my presence there. And yet I had said nothing to anger them. I struggled with this course, because it was often hard for me to see how White people are always the cause of racism. I did learn alot still from the class. I learned that racial issues can be found in every aspect of life. Environmental racism, racism in the criminal justice system, racism in the food industry, racism in politics, racism on the streets, etc. Racism is everywhere. Its just very hard to see sometimes. I think the best way to begin to dull the effects of racism is for people to grow up in diverse settings, like I have. Of course, easier said than done. One thing I did take out of this class is the unseen privilege that white people have. It does appear that whites have an inherent advantage over minorities. Its like a giant club that I didn’t know I was apart of. But again, not one sided. When I played on a predominantly black basketball team (me and one other white kid), I always got the short end of the stick, because the majority was more likely to select one of their own then one of the minority. I see privilege as more of a behavioral issue. For example, if I were the boss of a company, and 10 equally qualified people showed up for the job, and 7 of them are WSU graduates, I would be more inclined to pick from the WSU group than from the minority group. I don’t think racism is right by any means, but I think it is really a behavioral issue.

  10. My ideas and thoughts about race did change during the course of this semester. One example of where my thoughts of race changed was the idea that it can’t be talked about and it can’t be positive due to all the racial profiling. I know that racial profiling isn’t everything and that it can be avioded and I know that anyone can talk about it as long as it’s positive. Another example is about how lucky I am to be Asian. I didn’t know we had it so easy because it seems as though in the class that the most injustice done to them were African Americans. That brings me to the next example . The term African Americans could be very racial and I didn’t realize how much it could damage someone, I thought it was going to be respectful, but I didn’t know it was more disrespectful to use that term. My last example is what I thought about the privelages. I didn’t realize that we were so cheated out of things just because we were a different race. This class has taught me that I need to be more fair in whatever I do day to day.

    • Anti-Asian racism is a reality that plays out within media, as evidence by model minority myth (how does unemployment rates amongst some groups get erased). Also, what do you mean that African American is a damaging or disrespectful term? While there is variance in terms of preference not sure what you mean here

  11. Before stepping into the classroom on the first day, I had heard that Dr. Leonard was great at involving students in lecture and pushing them to think beyond the narrow minded scope that many of us are guilty of. So I knew on the first day that I was going to need to step outside of my comfort zone and participate. What I didn’t know was how enjoyable that experience would be. Not only does the structure of his class provide students to engage and provide their opinions, but I’d say it increased the learning of every student in that classroom. Too many classes in college are cookie cutter and easy to predict.
    With that being said, the biggest surprise I had was learning about environment racism. Making the connection between that and hurricane Katrina in New Orleans made complete sense. When watching clips of video on news stations, you did not see mansions and gated communities being flooded. The second thing that made an impact on me are the laws that have been implemented that nearly push families and people of poverty and misfortune even further down and essentially keep their families within a repeating cycle. The third thing that stuck out is how prevalent stereotypes are within mass media and advertising. It’s amazing how some agencies target specific groups for their products and use stereotypes that are often false and extremely exaggerated. The fourth example is the impact of privilege on ones life. I had never thought about privilege and how it takes a role in almost every aspect of life. The fifth and final conclusion that I can make after attending this class, is that race is still very prevalent in our lives. It may not be as extreme, but most people cannot go through a day where race does not impact them directly or even indirectly.

  12. When I entered this course, I had absolutely no idea what to expect of it. I did not know what I would be learning about, it was just a course that my advisor said I needed for a diversity credit. And I know that at the beginning of the semester anytime I thought about diversity, it made me feel uncomfortable. Growing up as a white female I never thought it was acceptable to talk about other races, it was just a topic I wanted to ignore. After taking this course I feel like I have a better understanding and I am not always scared to talk about other races. I have a better understanding of the kind of things different races go through and the hardships they have experienced. I also feel that I have a better grasp on how to talk about race without sounding harsh or offending anyone. The main reason I never wanted to talk about it was because I did not want to offend anyone. Now I feel like I can talk and I should talk about it. I’ve learned that if we talk about race we can learn from it; we can learn about the different backgrounds and also learn how to better our country and community and move forward together without anyone feeling superior or anyone feeling looked down upon. At the beginning of the semester I thought we were past racism in America for the most part. I had no idea how bad it still was. After watching the video of the 3 white and 3 black boys damaging a car and getting the cops called on them, I realized just how much America still needs to grow.

  13. I honestly don’t know how I thought about race. I mean I knew racism existed but I guess I never really thought about it. When first entering this class I really didn’t know what to expect. Honestly I had never made the connection of race and health care. I mean it was something that I knew to be somewhat a cultural thing for black people but I didn’t really know the history behind it. I just figured it was just a stereotype or cultural norm. Also I wasn’t aware of white normatively at all. It wasn’t something I knew existed at all, but then again I’m not white. Also I wasn’t aware of the history of Japanese land owners in the early post slave era and during the twenties and them trying to determine whether Asian and other groups could be considered white. I found that to be extremely fascinating. It was also really interesting and new to me, to also see that some white people today would not even have been considered white back then. I didn’t know they discriminated within European groups other than Jewish people, Irish and Italians. I always just thought most of the racism, especially in America was based on the current types of racism. Another thing that I learned in this class was the war on drugs was not only, not all that affective but it helped to perpetuate institutional racism and racial profiling.

  14. Thinking back on what my mindset was coming into this semester, it is incredible the change in mind I have gone through. To begin with, in my mind, my success was a result of me working hard and nothing else. Just within the first couple weeks of lecture my thoughts on race and privilege were challenged both in and outside the classroom. Hearing how minority races were red lined or may be just as qualified for a position but not get a call back because of their name made me think deeper about this new idea presented of institutionalized racism. I am a very proud white man, however when we started getting into housing and jobs and examples of how the white man sits on top and controls what happens underneath him and sets rules in place that benefit him and keep him on top, it really made me question my stance of the fact that its “that” races fault they can’t get ahead in the work force or in society. This course has made me question everything from, “is my canvas really blank” (which I now know it definitely was not), to the messages and self propitiating ideas that come from the music we listen to. Coming into this course I had thought it would be an easy A and it would go by and I would get my grade and go. But I am so thankful for the impact it has had on me and my thinking of the world that I live in.

  15. When signing up for this class, I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. At first, I just looked at the class as an easy A. Through just the first couple weeks of the course; I realized how beneficial the class could be for anyone. I really enjoyed all of the opportunities there were to participate in the many discussions held in class. The topics covered in the class are very eye opening and taught me a lot. I now know how privilege and race relate to each other in contemporary society. The first assumption that I had before this class was surrounding healthcare. I always figured it was a very easy thing to obtain and I didn’t really understand why so many people lacked healthcare. After the discussions in class and the budget online writing, I now realize why so many people can’t afford it. The budget assignment was a great way to illustrate how expensive healthcare is for many Americans earing the same wage. Secondly, this class has opened my eyes to the many problems associated with the War on Drugs and how it relates to race. I was very surprise to find out that while African Americans constitute for 15% of all monthly drug users, 95% of respondents pictured a black drug user. Another topic that has been very eye opening was race inequality in the justice system. It was very hard to believe that while African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, they account for 60-70% of all drug incarcerations. That statistic alone highlights the level of race inequality caused by the War on Drugs. Through this class, my viewpoint on the War on Drugs has completely changed. I originally thought it was a fight against drugs and violence but after this class, I have realized the racial inequality it has resulted in. In my opinion, the War on Drugs is a complete waste of time, effort, and money. Lastly, this class has taught me how race is an issue when talking about environmental matters. I was previously unaware of “food deserts” and the impact they have on many urban communities. This class was a great experience that highlighted many struggles Americans face, in which I had no previous knowledge about.

  16. Being very interested in psychology i signed up for this class. I did not expect to be discussing race as much as we did throughout the semester, but I believe it was good for everybody. When you are able to talk about race openly it makes everyone more comfortable so they can state their own opinion. In the beginning of the year i mostly ignored they questions and discussions, but by the end of the year I found myself thinking about everything that was discussed. Even if you dont raise your hand to answer a question, the topics in this class were relevant to today which caused me to be interested more and more. The part of the course that I found to be the most intriguing was how we as a society do not like to talk about race openly. I started to notice everyday that when it was brought up out side of class I didnt really like to talk about it much either. Now that we have had discussions and I have talked in class this helped me realize that there is nothing to be afraid of, as long as your are respectful to everyone when talking no matter what race. Overall this class was a lot more fun than expected, and I really enjoyed hearing others opinions.

  17. Coming into this class I though race and racism was all based on where you came from and the color of your skin. But after being in this class I have learned that we deal with racism all the time and its something that will never end. One example is the crack to cocaine ratio, you get more in trouble for having crack than cocaine and it’s a law set up to affect the poor drug addict that’s usually someone of color. Another one is the stop and frisk thing in New York where Latinos and blacks are always getting arrested for carrying small amounts of Marijuana. Another one is if you are in possessions of crack in government owned houses it’s a felony and you can no longer live their, its something that targets people of color. Another thing example was how we publicize things like rape through music one example was Rick Ross molly in a girls drink song that promoted rape also that nelly tip Drill song that shows him swiping a credit card on a girl. All these factors that I learned in class do effect race and is part of racism in some part, I would have never looked for that stuff in out media, but now I can see what things promote or represent what things some negative other positive. One thing that also was very surprising was how our media displays some pictures that are really racist or very stereotypical, or our media uses stereotypes to make jokes out of them and they most of them end up hurting some people. We also promote violence through video games, movies and music and most people most of the time don’t notice.

  18. Coming into this class I knew some things about the topics that were covered however I did not think about some of the concepts we covered as deep as we had discussed them. I did not know when signing up for this class how much it was going to challenge me and my thinking about different issues regarding race, ethnicity, gender issues and many other things. I really enjoyed this class and would recommend anybody to take it. One thing that stood out to me was the relationship between racial issues and the environment. I never even considered the two to be related. After watching “the Garden” it realized how much the two are related and how it is so overlooked in discussing the topic of environmental issues. Second, the topic of rape and the rape rates in our society today. I knew that rape had been a very large problem however I was very shocked at learning about the different statistics and how many people (rapists) are actually incarcerated after being charged or accused of rape. It really sickened me and surprised me because it is such a large issue. Third, I really enjoyed discussing rap lyrics and how in hip hop so many controversial issues are praised. I really enjoyed watching the documentary and listening to how major hip hop artists are aware that their lyrics are offensive however they say them because that is what sells. Fourth, learning about the drug dealer rates and how racism is so present in the arrests made regarding selling drugs. Fifth, I was really happy that this class gave me the opportunity to listen to Monica Miller speak. I was opened up to many different views on religion that I have never thought of before and how spirituality is present in our everyday life even though we may not notice it. This class really showed me how different issues in our society all relate to each other. It changed my view on different races and opened me up to new ideas that I want to continue to explore.

  19. Well when I registered for this class, my counselor told me this would be a fun class and the teacher has had really good reviews and that many students loved this class. She told me it was just a class that was learning about race and that we would learn about another race, so I thought it was one set specific race. Of course I thought it was about the African American race or the black community but we varied from every ethnicity. I am not going to lie, just like every other person in this class, I can say that I was a little nervous to say anything about race because nowadays if you say one thing that’s an opinion, you are racist or prejudiced toward another race. That’s was also brought up in class that schools don’t even like to teach about race because then they would be seen as racist or prejudiced which I find really and honestly stupid because the children growing up get socially categorized by what they look like. I really didn’t even know about the minimum wage and how some don’t actually get $9.13 an hour like I thought everyone started at because I first thought that everyone is equal, we have established this already and there isn’t racism to the point where it affects one paycheck. Well that’s what I initially thought. Also, when we watched the movie about rappers nowadays that rap about women and exploit them and call them names, I knew that it was offensive; I just didn’t think other women would be okay with it and how they were portrayed in the male eye. Overall I loved this class, I loved the jeopardy games too. They really helped for studying for the exams!

  20. When I decided to take this course, I really came into the class pretty open minded but I knew that we would have to learn about/discuss difficult topics. Throughout the course of this semester, I have come to realize more of why people are so afraid to discuss racial issues. For some, there is a huge amount of pain and trauma around racial topics and that’s why it’s often avoided. As an avid hip-hop/rap listener and fan, I was aware of how crude and racial the lyrics of songs were but this class definitely put it into perspective more for me, specifically the Rick Ross and the Nelly controversy around their lyrics. Rape culture is so dominant in not only hip-hop/rap music but also in movies, television, and general pop culture today. Before this class, I never took into consideration the effect the environment, the government, or the economy could have on racial issues racial issues. I never before realized how many rapists walk free and how many victims know their rapist. I also never before knew how discriminated against black and Latino restaurant workers were and how often they were forced to work in the back. I have been to plenty of restaurants and never noticed this. Probably the most interesting thing to me that we learned about this year was The Garden video. I could not believe how mistreated the LA community garden people were and how far they went to try to prevent the garden from being taken over. I found it beneficial to learn about Terry vs. Ohio, Florida vs. Bostick, etc. because I never before knew how such law came to be and never took the time to research/think about it.

  21. When I entered this class i didn’t really know what to expect out of it really. I already knew (what i thought was a lot) about race, segregation, prejudice etc. but this class expanded that knowledge so much more. For example, I’ve learned before about the civil rights movement and how whites and blacks were segregated back in the day but i didn’t know much on the whole “white privilege” until this class. Another thing i wasn’t aware that made me think more on was that those with white sounding names are more likely to get hired for a job than those with black sounding names. Also, this class made me more aware of racial relations in songs more like the Rick Ross controversy for example. it was surprising to me and really made me think beyond of what I already knew. I also learned other things I didn’t know much about like rape culture, that 40% of waiters admitted they discriminate against colored customers, the war on drugs, and how people of different colors are treated in a restaurant when they are the workers. Even though I didn’t talk in the discussions I did reflect a lot on them and even did my own research on the topics that were also posted in the blogs to educate myself more. It made me not so afraid to talk about race because I used to be just in case I said something stupid and ended up offending someone, which is the last thing I’d ever want to do. It made me more comfortable to talk about it and be more aware of too.

  22. As a very strong proponent of efforts to support those in the gender and sexually diverse community (also referred to as LGBT+ or LGBTQQIAAP2 community) I quickly began to realize that this class would add to the background that I need. I understood privilege and would probably say that ‘racism isn’t gone, but dormant and receding. My definition of racism was really just about racial hatred. I was not aware of the actual inequity that existed in society. This class helped solidify my understandings of how the history of racism plays into today’s politics and shapes our conversations. Along with the inequities, discussions about institutionalized racism made me think about what policies and self-perpetuating systems of racial discrimination are currently at work and got me thinking about what can be done to stop them. An unintended result of taking this class is also understanding how students respond to questions pertaining to race/gender. Many students (it seemed) were not very accepting of the ideas of privilege and did not respond well to information that portrayed whites as oppressors in American society. Another assumption I had made that I later learned to be flawed was the idea of class mobility and how truly difficult it is to succeed when the road to success is not paved and has no signs. I never critically thought about how my race actually benefited me (being white) and how history largely dictated where I would end up. Along with race, ideas pertaining to rape culture were also very prevalent to my work and studies with the GSD community and it was very interesting to see in a different context. Again, before this class I never really saw these issues through a racial lens because in the time that I began working with the community I was surrounded by white people, and white ideas.

  23. I feel that this class opened my eyes to a lot of things pertaining to racism and it’s counterparts. It also make me a lot more aware and vocal about certain subjects. I would find myself talking to my friends about some of the topics that would be presented in class or I would be reading something online and I would be able to connect it to certain topics discussed in class. I was made more aware of how much sexist content is being shoveled into society through media such as movies and music. I realized that in certain situations, race my come into play whether a certain group of people get what they want or not (LA Urban Garden). I learned that whites are also subject to racism even though many might think that they are not because they are seen as the dominant race. I learned about how blacks can face negative effects that are worse than whites just because of their skin color for example when it comes to probations, sentencing, or the kinds of education they get. I also realized that races other than whites can have a disadvantage right of the bat for things such as employment opportunities, and other certain benefits.

  24. This beginning CES class has opened my eyes to the big picture in our society. First off, it has taught me to look for possibly racial profiling situations and see how actions of people are taken. Second, this course has widely opened the idea of purpose for white people, compared to other races in America. I have been extremely amazed by the facts this class has presented me with drug dealing and incarceration rates, along with past experiences with police and minority groups. I was also surprised to discover that whites can also be subject to racism in their own terms for the groups of people they hang out with, to the drugs certain groups sell to one another. This class has also brought upon many sad details of how minority groups are taken advantage of, as in the “Garden” video we watched in class. It is sad that the world has racial profiling like this that happens every day. Although racism happens, it is hard to prevent racism, for ignorant people still roam and negatively effect this world. In the end I feel that this was a great course and I am excited to take more CES classes in my future.

  25. When I initially entered this class, I was of the belief that America was no longer racist and that affirmative action was a completely useless thing in our society today. Obviously now, my views have changed significantly throughout the semester. When we first started talking about privilege, it changed my view of the fact that we were already equal in our current society and opened my eyes to make me be more understanding of the issues that minorities face on a daily basis. Then we started talking about how not only white people are privileged but also how there is still racism, since I am not racist, i didn’t understand that people still were out there and that there were still actions that were racist on a daily basis.After this, we started talking about college admissions. Here I was absolutely sure that we had already fixed this issue because of the affirmative action in this area, but again I was wrong, there are many things having to do with college admissions that are still biased and result in discrimination. When we continued on to talk about drug culture it really actually bothered me how much easier it was for whites to continue to deal drugs and not be caught when even the slightest move by a minority would be persecuted with the utmost scrutiny. Then finally, we talked about the corruptness of government, I understood that our government was corrupt and that politicians were daily making under the table deals, but not that they actually were violating people’s rights by making these deals illegally. These are all things that have surprised me and opened my eyes to the world around me this semester and I intend to share this knowledge with others I come across

  26. When starting out the semester I wasn’t sure exactly of what we would be covering. As many know, racism can be a touchy subject and needs to be handled in a respectful manner. I was expecting to go over the history and possibly talk about some current issues. I was really surprised at how in detail we got with the subject. I really enjoyed learning about the history. From past history courses I had learned about racism from an historical angle but this class allowed me to see things from a complete different perspective. We were able to see the histories of the African Americans in the south as well as the Jews and Japanese. I was also interested in the different films we watched. The one that has stuck with me was the one about the garden in LA. During that film we were introduced to how a city wants its society to look and the difference between right and wrong. Another thing that interest me was learning about the different laws and the history behind them. These laws included Florida vs. Bostick, Terry vs. Ohio and others. These laws surprised me in how much it has to do with stereotypes. I was really interested to learn about the different people who have had an effect on racism. One included Viola Liuzzo who moved south to fight against the Jim Crow Laws. I was also intrigued by the amount of racism in restaurants. I have never worked in one but I never imagined how poorly employees were treated. The low pay and segregation really surprised me. Finally we talked about the effect rap music is having on our society. Its profanity has caused a lot of controversy and Rick Ross has especially been brought to the publics attention.

  27. When I first signed up for this class I had no idea what it was really about because my advisor briefly explained it but not into detail. I was only taking it because it covered one of my general education requirements. I came to class only knowing it was about race and so I knew that it was going to be an interesting topic because I come from a family who doesn’t have many friends with people of other races. Also my father is a professional house painter and he talks about all of the people he has hired and how people of different races are bad workers. Coming from this background I decided to enter the class with an open mind. During the class I learned many new things such as how much of a privilege white people have over blacks with statistics showing whites have 8 times the wealth of blacks. Also how much police officers are attracted to people of color over whites. The percentages between the to in prisons are astounding. The third thing is that how much the war on drugs impacted America. Because of the war the prison populations grew so high they couldn’t fit everyone in. another thing I learned was that we are all hiding race but if we talk about it we can it wouldn’t be as offensive to people. Last of all I grew a way wider knowledge of race and saw a different view through the conversations we had in class.

  28. Growing up and watching my friends face racism challenges on a regular basis prepared me for most of the controversies and debates that we discussed in class. Coming into the beginning of the semester I thought CES would be a class I could come to and just listen to the professor. I soon realized after the first couple of classes that Professor David Leonard’s class was very student interactive based. I used to not like talking about my experiences growing up but after the completion of this class I am now comfortable sharing these experiences.

    The discussion regarding neighborhood segregation really hit close to home. Whites prefer to live in a neighborhood with other whites, and so on. I started looking at the residents of the neighborhood I grew up in and noticed I lived mainly in a white neighborhood with few outliers.

    Another example is the issue of privilege. At the beginning of this class I didn’t always think about another persons background before crossing judgment. This class has made me realize that everyone comes from a different place and more than likely has been through more hardships in life than the next person. The fact that people are born with a better chance of being successful in life than someone else is the sad truth.

    At first I was aware of racial profiling but not aware of how or why it came about. Through the subject of the war on drugs I learned that the policy of profiling was put in to disproportionately target and incarcerate people of color who would likely not be able to defend themselves leading to a conviction.

    Lastly, this class has opened my eyes in many different ways. It teaches to learn about a man rather than judged based on the look of him. I would recommend this course and this professor to any incoming freshman @ WSU


  29. Coming into this class I had many mixed emotions and presumptions floating in my head. I have always gone to relatively diverse schools growing up in Seattle, making WSU being somewhat of a change being very primarily white. Although I am white as well so this has less of an effect on me in everyday life, being in a class where race was discussed I was concerned. Are a lot of kids in my class going to be extremely ignorant? Am I going to get into argument? I also wondered what was going to be discussed about my religion (Judaism) and whether I could be of help or just end up in anger. Finally I wondered whether a teacher at a university as white as WSU, was going to teacher a Comparative Ethics Class in an actually informative way. I can say without lying, that I was pleasantly surprised. To start without trying to suck up, Professor Leonard did a great job leading discussions. I really enjoyed how he stressed discussion instead of just content. This allowed me to hear perspectives from classmates from all different backgrounds. I was pleasantly surprised at how much people really wanted to learn, especially the kids who had never been in a classroom with people of other races. Overall the statistical information was extremely interesting but I believe I learned the most from hearing other kids backgrounds and perspectives.

  30. Being a business/economic major, I was slightly aware of economic problems in black communities.
    I came into the class not knowing what to expect. At first I was hesitant to participate because I am a privileged white male. I had no idea how much racial profiling the police did. I didn’t know how often minorities were stopped for nonexistent reasons.
    Rape Culture is another thing I was educated about primarily in this class. I never really opened my eyes to the sexism in rap music and rap culture.
    The way the media portrays racial problems is another thing I never payed attention to. The mainstream media does not cover many stories that concern the minorities and underprivileged communities.
    Neighborhood segregation was not brought to my attention until this class. Thinking back on my life, I have always lived in neighborhoods that are 95% white.
    The restaurant industry is the last subject that was learned in CES. My mom has been a chef for a while and we never really talked about racism in the workplace. Talking to her now, she has some interesting stories to share, and our conversations are very interesting because I’m educated in the topic as well.
    This class has opened my eyes to many different topics, not just these five. I will take these lessons wherever I go in life. Thank you for your time.

  31. Coming into this class I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I knew thath we would discuss race and usually with that I assumed we would also cover racial inequalities. I think that the most important think I learned over this last semester is the whole concept of colorblindness being bad and how race is something we need to acknowledge and discuss. Previously I thought that be best way to deal with race was to completely disreguard it and see people for people, not for race. Another extremely important thing I learned in this class was about institutional racism, I learned that this plays a bigger role in our society than I would have previously thought. I think that it is one of the key elements that we as a society need to remedy to be truely equal. Another thing that was important that I learned this semester is that race is just a social construct and that two people are of different races are just as likely to have similar DNA than two people of the same race. This was really eye opening to me as I always thought that people of different races would be completely different DNA wise and that race just a difference between people, not a way to normailze inequlitiy. One of the other things that I changed my mind on was the arrest rates and jail time that minorities done. I previously thought it was because they just were involved in more crimes; I now know that certain law, such as the war on drugs and stop and frisk laws, are targeting minorities. Lastly, my eyes were opened to how hard the restruant industry can be, how a large majority of people do not even make minimum wage and that it makes up a fair amount of sexual harassment cases in the US. I had no previous knowledge of how bad this industry could really be.

  32. When I first entered the classroom my assumptions were that we were going to talk about different races in our society. I wish we could have touched base on a variety of more races but overall I enjoyed the class. I was really excited to learn about different races because before this class I did not have much knowledge about racism in our society. I didn’t know about certain laws and the history of hip hop culture. When in lecture I was always afraid someone was going to get offended by a comment or a remark. However I realized that everyone was open about their comments and I felt like it was a safe place to say what you thought about certain topics in class. I honestly thought this class was going to be another history class but it wasn’t. The videos and films were always interesting. After the course of the semester I have a stronger view towards racism, hip hop culture, and equal rights. I always knew racism in our society was not good but this class really opened my eyes. After this class, I want to take more similar classes to learn more about the ethnic studies because it is such an interesting topic.

  33. Since I am an international student here, I`d like to know about how other peoples` thinking of Eastern world people and their views about racism, different cultures and so on; that`s the reason I chose this class. To my surprised, I felt so comfortable to have this kind of discussions in the class; students no matter where they from, they always are willing to listen to any students` thinking and respect them even they probably not agree. I`m so happy that i learned more than I expected in this class. In the past, I thought people in Western hate foreigners a lot; sometimes I even can see incidents happen abroad; however, not all of people in Western word. Through this class, I found out that most people are still willing to accept Eastern cultures and some of them even love Eastern cultures. People from different countries will have conflicts; because they cannot understand other cultures, some of them may misunderstand peoples` behaviors, that`s how accidents happen. I`m so glad I know that actually so many students like me are willing to know more things about different races, ways they are thinking, things they are actually are facing and so on. Because of knowing more about other races situations, people will stand on each others` points and respect others more.

  34. Coming into the class, I did not know what to except from the many lectures that were given. I had taken a class taught by Professor Leonard in the fall and I was able to learn so much from the course lectures and participation opportunities. Throughout the semester I learned many things about different types of racism, such as institutional racism and how it effects our society.
    The clicker points had some questions that really allowed me to think. The questions about hiring different workers of different races and if it was considered to being wrong based off of their appearance or what they wore based off of their religious background.
    Another subject that I found to be interesting was that of the restaurant industry and how certain restaurants treat their employees, especially women who work as waitresses. Sexual harassment cases, are one of many cases that are reported while working in the restaurant industry. Also, some employees that do not reach minimum wage, are forced to use tips to help add up the remaining balance. This was something that I have not heard of before, I have not had a job working at a restaurant but I know many people that have and the fact that what you earn in tips is calculated into your check is ridiculous to me.
    Engaging in class lecture has really allowed me to take the opportunity to learn more about our society and how racism still exists today. Although things have changed, racism will forever exist in contemporary society unless everyone tries to make a difference.

  35. Coming into this class I was aware of the stereotypes that todays society had on different races of the world. Before the first day of class I thought it was going to be a walk in the park, I was wrong in a good way. After the first day I realized that the class was going to be very thought provoking. One idea was I thought since universities were elite that they were also equal. This was not the case after all they put all these requirements in place so they could exclude Jewish people. That’s not what the best minds in America should be worrying about. Another thought came from the movie The Garden and how someone could be so selfish not to let people of less fortune be able to try and make a better life for themselves with good old fashion hard work. One thought that had never crossed my mind but I am glad that it has now was the fact that 50% of all Native Americans live in communities live were toxic waste is uncontrolled. That is just plan wrong we already have taken so much from the native Americans now half live were there is a high possibility of getting sick. On the news you always hear of how drug crimes in black communities is on the rise. That may be the case but it is a crime that up until a couple years ago somebody with 5 grams of crack could go to prison for the same amount of time as somebody with 500 grams of cocaine. This is obviously directed towards lower class people because of the relatively low price of crack. The last idea that surprised me was the restaurant one how that 40% of servers admitted to discriminating against black customers. This is just ludicrous; they pay the same price as a white person or an Asian person. Mind you that this is all from the perspective of a privileged white male. However without taking this class my eyes would still have blinders on them and I would keep on going through life not noticing the racism and inequalities that people face everyday of their life.

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