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1.3: Summary/Review

  • Page ID
    • Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick

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    In summary, the social structure plays an integral role in the social location (i.e., place or position) people occupy in society. Your social location is a result of cultural values and norms from the time-period and place in which you live. Culture effects personal and social development including the way people will think or behave. Cultural characteristics pertaining to age, gender, race, education, income and other social factors influence the location people occupy at any given time.

    The field of Ethnic Studies is a dynamic source of inquiry and action. As we have explored its history, we can see that it joins many roots of resistance with a commitment to a relevant education. It is also particular to the racialized history of higher education in the United States and the resistance and liberation movements of the 1960s. While activist movements respond to the emerging needs brought about in the larger political environment, each generation has invested in Ethnic Studies as a source of education, research, and sharing knowledge to inspire further liberation and pursuits of justice. The need for Ethnic Studies is apparent when considering the long history of educational institutions in reproducing systemic oppression, including violence at the hands of educational institutions as well as exclusion from high-quality schools. Fortunately, Ethnic Studies has been shown time and time again to help improve disparities in school achievement and contribute to a more positive, inclusive school culture.

    Further, while Ethnic Studies was developed as the educational arm of broader struggles of decolonization and racial justice, it has also taken on its own life through the students and educators who carry out creative pedagogies and put knowledge into action. This has also led to the field becoming a target for politicization by outside commentators and stakeholders who consciously organize misinformation campaigns using the media and local activist networks. In the face of many misconceptions about Ethnic Studies, students and educators alike benefit from the knowledge and approach of Ethnic Studies scholarship. The future of the field depends entirely on today’s students, who will come to shape the direction of the social movements that are central to the unfolding discipline and become the next generation of scholars to build innovative solutions to persistent systems of injustice in our society.

    Key Terms

    • Geohistorical Macroscales of Ethnic Studies: A perspective put forward by Tolteka Cuahutin to describe the dynamic principles that guide Ethnic Studies scholarship in terms of scope and approach:
    • Coloniality, Dehumanization, and Genocide: Systems of oppression that are carried out through political, cultural, and militarized means, leading to the assault on Native and Indigenous lifeways.
    • Double-consciousness, the sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others
    • Hegemony: Systems by which violence and exploitation are maintained in regular patterns to advantage socially dominant groups and maintain the oppression of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities, including women and non-binary people, as well as people of diverse faiths, abilities, and immigration statuses.
    • Decoloniality, Regeneration, and Transformational Resistance: Going beyond revealing and examining violence and pain to bring students and education into the work of transformation, resistance, and social change.
    • Native and Indigenous Pedagogies: Diverse perspectives in tribal communities that are commonly place-based and incorporate the cultural, historical, environmental, economic, and literary context of local Indigenous realities.
    • Colonial Education: Settler institutions that have attempted erasure and genocide of Indigenous lifeways, including the government and Church-run Boarding Schools in the United States and Canada.
    • Third World Liberation Front (TWLF): A multi-ethnic coalition of students that were awoken to the fact that they were being taught in ways that were dominating and irrelevant to themselves (Maeda, 2012), and included a coalition of the Black Student Union (BSU), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Intercollegiate Chinese for Social Action (ICSA), Mexican American Student Confederation, Philippine (now Pilipino) American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE), La Raza, Native American Students Union, and Asian American Political Alliance
    • General Education Graduation Requirement: A type of course that all students are required to take as part of their degree. In California, Ethnic Studies has become a general education graduation requirement in all public high schools and colleges.
    • Critical Race Theory: A legal perspective put forward by scholars to identify the link between U.S. laws and the structure of racism, with the goal of better ending racial discrimination and disparities. This perspective has been misrepresented by conservative activists.
    • Sociology is the systematic study of society and social interaction.
    • Sociological imagination a tool to help people step outside subjective or personal biography, and look at objective facts and the historical background of a situation, issue, society, or person.
    • Minoritized a term used in place of minority (noun) to highlight the social oppression that minoritizes individuals. The term minoritized uses active voice to reveal the system of social oppression that is often rendered unseen through the use of passive voice within the term minority.

    Reflection Questions

    1. The field of Ethnic Studies is deeply rooted in activist traditions. This has included linking the work happening in classrooms and through education to the diverse struggles of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color groups. Reflecting on the students, families, and individuals that you learned about in this chapter, what are some strategies that lead to social change? Consider how these strategies relate to your own life or the things you have witnessed around you.
    2. The time period we live (history) and our personal life experiences (biography) influence our perspectives and understanding about others and the world. Our history and biography guide our perceptions of reality reinforcing our personal bias and subjectivity. Relying on subjective viewpoints and perspectives leads to diffusion of misinformation and fake news that can be detrimental to our physical and socio-cultural environment and negatively impact our interactions with others. We must seek out facts and develop knowledge to enhance our objective eye. By using valid, reliable, proven facts, data, and information, we establish credibility and make better decisions for the world and ourselves.
    • Consider a socio-cultural issue you are passionate about and want to change or improve.
    • What is your position on the issue? What ideological or value-laden reasons or beliefs support your position? What facts or empirical data support your position?
    • What portion of your viewpoint or perspective on the issue relies on personal values, opinions, or beliefs in comparison to facts?
    • Why is it important to identity and use empirical data or facts in our lives rather than relying on ideological reasoning and false or fake information


    This page titled 1.3: Summary/Review is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .