This paper, based on my experiences teaching Africana Studies at a Northeastern public university, argues that anti-racist pedagogy must include a RaceSyllabus which reveals to diverse students the artificiality of race as a man-made ideology, neither biologically rooted nor divinely-inspired. Barbara Jean Fields and Karen Fields use the term racecraft to describe how race ideology persists as a subterranean, almost occult force in American institutions and minds. In my teaching I have developed a syllabus which propels students into a novel mental terrain where the racial categories we inherit and inhabit are neither inevitable or natural, but instead are created and re-created by our national economic, political, social, and cultural choices. The RaceSyllabus includes two interrelated learning objectives which, together, propel students to see outside our society’s race-tinted lenses. 1. Students should consider that racial identities in the United States are historically specific. 2. Students should consider that racial identities are geographically specific. These two insights, when taught together, are remarkably effective in exposing the artificiality of our national racial myths.
Joyce E. King, “Dysconscious Racism: Ideology, Identity and the Miseducation of Teachers,” Journal of Negro Education 60, no. 2 (Spring 1991): 133–46; Manning Marable, “Black Studies and the Racial Mountain,” Souls 2, no. 3 (2000): 17–36; Karen Brodkin, Sandra Morgen, and Janis Hutchinson, “Anthropology as White Public Space?,” American Anthropologist 113, no. 4 (December 1, 2011): 545–56, doi:10.1111/j.1548-1433.2011.01368.x; Frances V. Moulder, “Teaching about Race and Ethnicity: A Message of Despair or a Message of Hope?,” Teaching Sociology 25, no. 2 (1997): 120–27, doi:10.2307/1318657.
Barbara J. Fields and Karen Fields, Racecraft : The Soul of Inequality in American Life (New York, NY: Verso, 2012).
Adolph Reed, “Marx, Race, and Neoliberalism,” New Labor Forum 22, no. 1 (2013): 48.
Stephan Palmié, “Rejoinder: Genomic Moonlighting, Jewish Cyborgs, and Peircian Abduction,” American Ethnologist 34, no. 2 (2007): 245–51.
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Herder and Herder, 1971).
See the following texts about the significance of instructor identity and race pedagogy: Kamini Maraj Grahame, “Contesting Diversity in the Academy: Resistance to Women of Color Teaching Race, Class, and Gender,” Race, Gender & Class 11, no. 3 (2004): 54–73; Chavella T. Pittman, “Race and Gender Oppression in the Classroom: The Experiences of Women Faculty of Color with White Male Students,” Teaching Sociology 38, no. 3 (July 1, 2010): 183–96, doi:10.1177/0092055X10370120.
Jennifer Gilroy Hunsecker, “Teaching About Race in Introductory Anthropology Courses: An Ethnographic Study” (Doctor of Philosophy of Anthropology, University of South Florida, 2015), http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6698&context=etd.
Ann J. Morning, “Reconstructing Race in Science and Society: Biology Textbooks 1952- 2002,” American Journal of Sociology 114 (2008): 106; Ann Morning, “Reconstructing Race in Science and Society: Biology Textbooks, 1952-2002,” AJS; American Journal of Sociology 114 Suppl (2008): S106-137; Okay Odocha, “Race and Racialism in Scientific Research and Publication in the JNMA,” Journal of the National Medical Association 92, no. 2 (February 2000).
Stephan Palmié, “Genomics, Divination, ‘Racecraft,’” American Ethnologist 34, no. 2 (2007): 205–22; Alan H. Goodman, “Toward Genetics in an Era of Anthropology,” American Ethnologist 34, no. 2 (2007): 227–29; Nadia Abu El-Haj, “Rethinking Genetic Genealogy: A Response to Stephan Palmié,” American Ethnologist 34, no. 2 (2007): 223–26.
Hunsecker, “Teaching About Race in Introductory Anthropology Courses: An Ethnographic Study,” 140; Brian K. Obach, “Demonstrating the Social Construction of Race,” Teaching Sociology 27, no. 3 (1999): 252, doi:10.2307/1319325; Nikki Khanna and Cherise A. Harris, “Teaching Race as a Social Construction: Two Interactive Class Exercises,” Teaching Sociology 37, no. 4 (2009): 369.
Katya Gibel Mevorach, “Race, Racism, and Academic Complicity,” American Ethnologist 34, no. 2 (2007): 238.
Linda Gordon, “Who’s White?,” The New York Times, March 25, 2010.
Marisa Alicea and Barbara Kessel, “The Socially Awkward Question: A Simulation Exercise for Exploring Ethnic and Racial Labels,” Teaching Sociology 25, no. 1 (1997): 65–71; Khanna and Harris, “Teaching Race as a Social Construction.”
Moises Velasquez-Manoff, “Opinion | What Biracial People Know,” The New York Times, March 4, 2017, sec. Opinion, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/04/opinion/sunday/what-biracial-people-know.html.
Anthony G. Greenwald and Linda Hamilton Krieger, “Implicit Bias: Scientific Foundations,” California Law Review 94, no. 4 (2006): 946, doi:10.2307/20439056; R. Richard Banks, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, and Lee Ross, “Discrimination and Implicit Bias in a Racially Unequal Society,” California Law Review 94, no. 4 (2006): 1169–90, doi:10.2307/20439061; Alexander R. Green et al., “Implicit Bias among Physicians and Its Prediction of Thrombolysis Decisions for Black and White Patients,” Journal of General Internal Medicine 22, no. 9 (September 1, 2007): 1231–38,
doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0258-5; Tobias Brosch, Eyal Bar-David, and Elizabeth A. Phelps, “Implicit Race Bias Decreases the Similarity of Neural Representations of Black and White Faces,” Psychological Science 24, no. 2 (February 1, 2013): 160–66, doi:10.1177/0956797612451465; Natasha Warikoo et al., “Examining Racial Bias in Education: A New Approach,” Educational Researcher 45, no. 9 (December 1, 2016): 508–14, doi:10.3102/0013189X16683408; Justin D. Levinson, Huajian Cai, and Danielle Young, “Guilty by Implicit Racial Bias: The Guilty/Not Guilty Implicit Association Test,” Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 8, no. 1 (2010): 187–208.
Nicholas Kristof, “Opinion | Our Racist, Sexist Selves,” The New York Times, April 6, 2008, sec. Opinion, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/opinion/06kristof.html; Nicholas Kristof, “Opinion | Our Biased Brains,” The New York Times, May 7, 2015, sec. Opinion, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/opinion/nicholas-kristof-our-biased-brains.html.
Laurie A. Rudman, “Social Justice in Our Minds, Homes, and Society: The Nature, Causes, and Consequences of Implicit Bias,” Social Justice Research 17, no. 2 (June 2004): 137.
Arusha Gordon and Ezra D. Rosenberg, “Barriers to the Ballot Box:Implicit Bias and Voting Rights in the 21st Century,” Michigan Journal of Race & Law 21, no. 1 (2015): 51; Warikoo et al., “Examining Racial Bias in Education,” 512; L. Elizabeth Sarine, “Regulating the Social Pollution of Systemic Discrimination Caused by Implicit Bias,” California Law Review 100, no. 5 (2012): 1359–99.
Mariela Nunez-Janes, “Diversity as an Orientalist Discourse,” Ethnic Studies Review 30, no. 1/2 (Winter 2007); Arjun Appadurai, “Diversity and Disciplinarity as Cultural Artifacts,” in Race, Identity and Representation in Education (Routledge, 2013).
Barbara Jeanne Fields, “Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America,” New Left Review, I, no. 181 (1990): 95–118; Yaba Blay, (1)Ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race (BLACKprint Press, 2013).
Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White, 1 edition (New York: Routledge, 2008); Jennifer Guglielmo and Salvatore Salerno, Are Italians White?: How Race Is Made in America (Psychology Press, 2003).
Evelyn Hu-DeHart and DeLinda Wunder, The State of Native America: Genocide, Colonization, and Resistance, ed. M. Annette Jaimes, First Edition edition (Boston: South End Press, 1999); Eva Marie Garroutte, Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).
Matthew Garcia, “The Importance of Being Asian : Growers, the United Farm Workers and the Rise of Colorblindness,” in Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), http://site.ebrary.com/id/10577732; Natsu Saito, “Model Minority, Yellow Peril: Functions of Foreignness in the Construction of Asian American Legal Identity,” Asian American Law Journal 4, no. 1 (January 1, 1997): 71, doi:https://doi.org/10.15779/Z38FZ9V.
Alisha Roopchand, “Dear Yuri: A Thank You and Tribute to Yuri Kochiyama,” Tapestries: Interwoven Voices of Local and Global Identities 4, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 1–6; Rea Tajiri and Pat Saunders, Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice | CAAM Home (Center for Asian American Media, 1993), http://caamedia.org/films/yuri-kochiyama-passion-for-justice/.
For media, photographs and primary sources about Australian Freedom Rides: the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies https://aiatsis.gov.au/exhibitions/1965-freedom-ride. Rolf de Heer, The Tracker, 2002; Paul Kelly, From Little Things Big Things Grow, Comedy, 1991; admin, “Bringing Them Home: The ‘Stolen Children’ Report (1997),” December 14, 2012, http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-social-justice/publications/bringing-them-home-stolen.
Mohamed Adhikari, Burdened by Race: Coloured Identities in Southern Africa (Juta and Company Ltd, 2009).
Evelyn Nakano Glenn, “Yearning for Lightness: Transnational Circuits in the Marketing and Consumption of Skin Lighteners,” Gender & Society 22, no. 3 (June 1, 2008): 281–302, doi:10.1177/0891243208316089; L. Ayu Saraswati, “‘Malu’: Coloring Shame and Shaming the Color of Beauty in Trnasnational Indonesia,” Feminist Studies 38, no. 1 (2012).
Priya Kandaswamy, “Beyond Colorblindness and Multiculturalism: Rethinking Anti-Racist Pedagogy in the University Classroom,” The Radical Teacher, no. 80 (2007): 11, doi:10.2307/20710420.
Shaun R. Harper, “Am I My Brother’s Teacher? Black Undergraduates, Racial Socialization, and Peer Pedagogies in Predominantly White Postsecondary Contexts,” Review of Research in Education 37 (2013): 183–211; Enid Logan et al., “Double Consciousness: Faculty of Color Teaching Students of Color About Race,” in Teaching Race and Anti-Racism in Contemporary America: Adding Context to Colorblindness (Springer Science and Media, 2014).
Rita Kholi, “Breaking the Cycle of Racism in the Classroom: Critical Race Reflections for Future Teachers of Color,” Teacher Education Quarterly 35, no. 4 (Fall 2008): 177–88.
Deanna Blackwell, “Sidelines and Separate Spaces: Making Education Anti-Racist for Students of Color,” Race Ethnicity and Education 13, no. 4 (2010): 473–94.
Walter Johnson, “Brute Ideology,” Dissent 61, no. 4 (September 19, 2014): 127–32, doi:10.1353/dss.2014.0090.
Michael A. Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (Univ of North Carolina Press, 2000).
Shaun R Harper, “Race without Racism: How Higher Education Researchers Minimize Racist Institutional Norms,” The Review of Higher Education 36, no. 1 (2012); Ibram X. Kendi, “Why the Academic Achievement Gap Is a Racist Idea – AAIHS,” October 20, 2016, http://www.aaihs.org/why-the-academic-achievement-gap-is-a-racist-idea/; Moulder, “Teaching about Race and Ethnicity.”
Tamar Szabó Gendler, “On the Epistemic Costs of Implicit Bias,” Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition 156, no. 1 (2011): 37.