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Critical Race Theory
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Critical Race Theory

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  • 1. Critical Race Theory
  • 2. Race is a Social Construction
    • Race is not a matter of biological difference (race is understand differently across societies)
    • Societies often define “racial identity” in terms of positive and negative stereotypes.
  • 3. Whiteness
    • White is a “racial” category (thus “race” is present even in all-white films).
    • Whiteness is defined in opposition to other racial categories.
    • White privilege (the power and advantages that come with having white skin in the U.S.)---See http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc598ge/Unpacking.html
  • 4. Racism vs. Prejudice
    • To be prejudiced is to have an individual dislike for a group of people.
    • To be racist is to have the power to deny opportunity to another group of people.
    • Racism is often committed by institutions (corporations, the legal system, schools)
  • 5. Digital Divide
    • Unequal access to digital technologies (race, class, gender, geographic location)
    • Gap in United States is narrowing, but inequalities remain.
  • 6.  
  • 7. Race and the Gaze
    • Visual texts often implicitly assume a white spectator.
    • Nonwhite people often depicted as “exotic” and nontechnological.
    • Nonwhite characters less likely to be heros (more likely to be villains or comic sidekicks)
  • 8. Historical Legacies
    • European colonialism
    • Slavery
    • Native American Conquest / Genocide
    • (Depends in part on visual tropes that
    • position whites as civilized and nonwhites
    • as “primitive,” whites as “explorers” and
    • nonwhites as “objects” to be found)
  • 9. Questions to ask about race…
    • Is the camera’s gaze a racialized gaze? Who is the implied spectator?
    • How does the text reinforce or subvert racial stereotypes?
    • How does the text portray black, white, asian, latino, and indigenous identities in relation or opposition to one another?
    • Does the text challenge or reinforce/ignore structures of institutional racism?
    • How does the text (implicitly) reference tropes of colonialism, conquest, and/or slavery?