UCB Summer Online Class – African American Studies W111 Race, Class, and Genderr Welcome

UCB Summer Online Class – African American Studies W111 Race, Class, and Genderr Welcome


Welcome to African American Studies: Race,
Class, and Gender. My name is Professor Stephen Small, and I’ve
been teaching courses on race, class, and gender for more than 30 years. I first carried out research and taught these
issues in my home country: England. Then when I came to the United States, I began
researching and teaching similar issues here. Whenever I go back to England, my friends,
students and professors always ask me about the apparent contradictions of race, class,
and gender in the United States. How is it that less than 0.1 of the U.S.
population owns almost 25% of the wealth in this country. That’s 160,000 families that own almost 1/4
of all wealth. While at the same time, tens of millions of
Americans and residents live in poverty, or have no health insurance. How is it that blacks and whites appear so
integrated on television and movies, in music and in sport, and yet so many black people
still live in segregated and impoverished communities. How is it that the United States elected a
black man as president in 2008, yet there are so few black senators or governors or
other politicians? For example, as recently as 2016, there were
only two black senators in the country, and not even a single black governor. My friends in England see images of black
multimillionaires, international sports stars, and celebrities, all suggesting black success
in this country. At the same time, they see images of profound
and extensive black poverty, unemployment, and massive numbers of black men in prison. They also see images of black businesswomen,
politicians, and role models alongside images of impoverished single parent mothers, drug
addicts, and prostitutes. And when they hear about policies to achieve
racial equality, they hear furious disagreements between those in favor of the affirmative
action and those against it, and they want to know why. It’s not just foreigners that want answers
to these questions. More and more Americans, and other groups
who live in this country, also want answers. These complexities, contradictions, paradoxes
even, are all examined in this course. We examine the facts first hand and explore
the various explanations for them. We introduce and define key concepts, like
race and ethnicity, wealth and income, sex and gender, and we explore the insights that
such concepts provide into the facts of inequality. And living and studying in the United States
ourselves, we can access information and evidence on all these issues, from the media, from
our college classes, in our communities, and in our daily lives. What students say they like most about this
course is that it provides insights into the lives that they live and the images that they
see around them everyday. It provides definitions of words that they
hear all the time and often take for granted, like ‘white privilege’ and the legacy of slavery,
like the gender division of labor, but words that they struggle to get a grasp on their
real meaning. And students say that this course provides
information on the history of race. For example, on slavery, legal segregation,
the civil rights movement, and black feminism. Information that they have never heard about
before. They also say that it provide insights into
the origins of policies and politics that created black ghettos and that put so many
hundreds of thousands of black men in prison. Most of all, they say it provides systematic
insights into the dynamics of race, class, and gender in the black community at the present
time. And this in a context of increased migration,
economic recession, and globalization. What students also say they like about this
course is having direct access to a professor like myself, and graduate student instructors,
who are available to offer feedback, answer questions, and provide insights for both the
United States as a whole, and for California in particular. Students also say that by the end of the course
they have a far greater understanding of the complexities of race, class, and gender. A greater appreciation of the need for systematic
evidence and facts on these issues, and a greater awareness of key theories and concepts
used to understand these facts. So let’s get right on with the course.

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