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Sociology of Immigration, Part 2

Subject Social Studies — Immigration
Grade Level PreK, Kindergarten, Grades 1-12, Higher Education, Adult Education
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Attributes English-Language Learners (ELL)
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Attribution Non-commercial NoDerivative

CC (BY-NC-ND)

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Lorna Rivera, PhD, tackles the question of whether or not we are living in a post-racial society. Drawing on research by sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and his theory of "colorblind racism," Dr. Rivera argues that discrimination against people of color and immigrants is a current social problem. She discusses language oppression, particularly related to Latinx students. She argues that rather than embracing the idea of the United States as a  "melting pot," we should consider emphasizing and retaining the diversity of different groups. 

Though questions for educators:

  1. What implications could Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's theory of "colorblind racism," and in particular his assertion that colorblindness is in itself a form of racism, have on your teaching?
  2. Dr. Rivera references research showing that some college instructors, perhaps unconsciously, assume that Latinx students do not speak English fluently and falsely accuse them of plagiarism.  In a well-publicized case from 2016, for example, a professor accused a student--a first-generation college student and a first-generation U.S. citizen--of plagiarism for using the word "hence." What lessons can teachers draw from this incident?
  3. Dr. Rivera challenges us to reevaluate the symbolism of America as a melting pot. Instead, she asks us to consider the importance of retaining the diversity of different groups.
    1. In what ways does the tension between melting/merging different groups and retaining diversity play out in the classroom?
    2. Can you think of times when your students identified as American, members of ethnic or racial groups, or as members of your school community?
    3. How can these ideas help us to create supportive and welcoming classrooms for all students?

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Sociology of Immigration Part 2, by Lorna Rivera PhD
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