"When all the talk, all the propaganda has been cut away, the criterion is nothing but the color of skin. My experience has proved that. They judged me by no other quality. My skin was dark. That was sufficient reason for them to deny me those rights and freedoms without which life loses its significance and becomes a matter of little more than animal survival."
Griffin finds through his own experience what racial discrimination is really like. Perhaps his discovery is even more profound because he is white, because he experiences both the cruel ignorance of bigotry and the knowledge that his own race can be so inhuman. Griffin's experiences took place in the American South in 1959. The Civil Rights Movement began in earnest in 1963. What has transpired since then, since Griffin went into oblivion? This assignment asks you to think about race in the 21st century. Where are we now? What needs to be done? How can we promote racial equity in our lives?
Preparing to Learn
Write all your answers on this sheet of paper. You will turn it in at the end of class.
Open the homework site for today and download this exact Word document, so you have the links to the sites you need to visit.
Complete all three sections below.
Part 1: Getting a Good Education (~10 minutes)
Read the introduction (first three paragraphs) to the article by Linda Darling-Hammond about inequality in education. Then, skim the five sections to find the main idea in each. A short one-two sentence response should be sufficient to represent the main point in each section.
Why do you need to know about this achievement gap? After all, you go to a good school and are not denied an excellent educational experience. So, in other words, how does this issue affect you? Why is it important that all children have good schools, good teachers, and quality learning environments? (four-five sentences)
Part 2: The Future through the Lens of the Past (~15 minutes)
President John F. Kennedy spurred the national Civil Rights Movement in 1963, four years after Griffin's experiences with racial discrimination. In his speech, Kennedy gives a vision of America that many found hopeful.
Read the announcement.
What goals were accomplished? Explain in a few sentences.
What part of Kennedy's vision has not yet been fulfilled? Explain in a few sentences.
Part 3: One America (~10 minutes)
President Clinton's One America initiative asks us to be more aware of who we are as Americans. This site gives a list of the things every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Read this list.