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Discussion Topics

Internalized Racism

Definition:Internalized racism is the personal conscious or subconscious acceptance of the dominant society’s racist views, stereotypes and biases of one’s ethnic group. It gives rise to patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that result in discriminating, minimizing, criticizing, finding fault, invalidating, and hating oneself while simultaneously valuing the dominant culture.

Reference: Suzanne Lipsky

Media Links and Discussion

Each of the following topics includes a link to a piece of media and discussion questions that can be used in discussion.

Margaret Cho on Media Images of Asians

Audience: High School Seniors/College Students/Adults
Content: Margaret Cho discusses how her childhood dreams were limited due to the limited and stereotyped ways Asians were portrayed in the media
Discussion questions:

  1. How do images of a group in the media (or in toys, books, video games) influence what we learn that we are or can be?
  2. Can you remember seeing images that looked like yourself growing up? What were they? How did that impact you?

Being Smart Does Not Mean Acting White

Audience: High School/College Students/Adults
Content: Short clip describing resistance to oppression, external and internalized
Discussion questions:

  1. What are examples of "acting White" in school settings?
  2. Slurs such as coconut, Oreo, apple, and banana are different terms used to describe people of color who "act White" What do these kinds of terms bring up for you? What are underlying messages?
  3. How might stereotypes limit a person's behavior and expectations of him or herself?
  4. How might we search out role models for reaching high regardless of negative stereotypes?

Asian Americans and eyelid surgery

Audience: High School/College Students/Adults
Content: Tyra Banks confronts an Asian American woman who had surgery to make her eyes look more like the Euro/American ideal of beauty.
Discussion questions:

  1. What are ways in which people are teased for physical characteristics?
  2. Tyra Banks talks about "ethnic tweaking" to look more Caucasian. What are examples of this?
  3. The doctor and another guest mention European standards of beauty. What are some of the underlying messages for people in our society? How might these messages impact people of color?

Uncle Ruckus – On How to exorcise an “N*****”

Audience: High School/College Students/Adults
Content: Individuals will see an example of an African American condemning another African American and speaking bigotry as if it were fact (has explicit language)
Discussion questions:

  1. How would you characterize uncle Ruckus?
  2. How does he feel about Blacks?
  3. What views do you hold about African Americans that may be untrue and/or hurtful?
  4. Can you think of instances where other African Americans or minorities have shown racism towards each other?

Michael Jackson’s face transformation over the years

Audience: Middle School /High School/ College Students/Adults
Content: Short clip utilizing morphing technology to illustrate Michael Jackson’s physical transformation from Africentric features to more Eurocentric features
Discussion questions:

  1. “If this is what’s happening on the outside, what’s happening on the inside?”
  2. Is this representative of internalized racism?
  3. What is the standard of beauty in America and what are the implications for African Americans and other ethnic minority groups?
  4. How do African Americans deny or minimize traditional African features? (perms, skin bleaching, hair weaving, colored contacts, etc.) What effect, if any, do such practices have on African American self-esteem?)