PLSC/HSTY 105 (LVE 100) Power, Privilege, and Resistance

Why do race and racism exist? How did they come into being and what purpose or purposes do they serve?

We will explore these broad themes through the more specific lens of Critical Race Theory. We will study Critical Race Theory (1) as an approach to the study of race and racism, and (2) as a political controversy in contemporary American politics.


Students will:

1. Distinguish between diversity, equity and inclusion, and explain their relationship to power, privilege, and resistance.

2. Interpret the impact of multiple axes of power and their intersections on identity construction, lived experiences, and worldviews.

3. Demonstrate effective social interaction that fosters respect for differences in a variety of contexts.

4. Design a plan to mitigate a societal problem that makes use of relevant DEI theories and frameworks.


All course readings can be accessed through Blackboard.


This course will emphasize critical reading and analysis of the assigned texts. The reading load will be approximately 75 pages per week. Class meetings will be a combination of lectures and discussions. Readings should be completed before the class meeting in which they will be discussed. This enables students to get the most out of the lectures and to participate effectively in discussion.

Discussion: During class discussion you are not expected to have fully developed points of view about the course materials. But you are expected to participate. No one will be penalized for being wrong or imprecise, for expressing uncertainty or frustration, for changing their minds. But it should be clear that you are trying, that you have done the readings and are working toward a mastery of the material.

Hybrid Structure: This course will meet in person (60%) and online (40%). We will select a time for remote sessions that allows all students to attend.

Questions: None of us, myself included, knows everything about the topics of this class. It is our responsibility to ask others who may know the answer, either in class, in office hours, or over dinner. I expect that you are learning the material, not that you know it. As much as possible, try
not to be shy or embarrassed about what you don’t yet know. The biggest failure in learning any material, in college or in life, is to fail to ask questions about things you do not know.

Availability: I expect that all of you, either alone or in groups, will contact me throughout the semester. I am almost always available to discuss the course material or other life issues.

Course Conduct: In order to build and maintain a supportive and productive learning community, students and instructors must treat one another with respect.

For students, this includes but is not limited to:

  • Beingprepared to discuss the assigned readings each day;
  • Regular attendance;
  • Notifying the instructor of any scheduling conflicts;
  • On-time arrival to class;
  • Minimizing trips in and out of the room during class;
  • Minimizing side-conversations;
  • Refraining from use of cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Neither laptops nor tablets may be used in class. Cell phones must be turned off AND put away during class meetings.  Students who use laptops, tablets, or cell phones will be considered absent.

Failure to adhere to these expectations – especially if students are disrupting others’ learning or creating an unwelcoming environment – will result in disciplinary measures. For more on University policies on appropriate classroom conduct, see the University of La Verne Catalog.

For instructors, responsibility for building and maintaining a supportive and productive learning community includes but is not limited to:

  • Being accessible to students;
  • Communicating clear expectations for student success;
  • Addressing students respectfully, including use of preferred names and pronouns;
  • Returning graded work in a timely fashion;
  • Creating a open exchange of ideas to which all students are encouraged to contribute;
  • Facilitating the interrogation and critical analysis of ideas, including interrogation
    of the instructor’s views, biases, and values.

Students are encouraged to report violations of University policy, including sexual misconduct and social justice incidents here:


Study Questions: On the Schedule of Meetings (below), you will find study questions for each class session.  On the first day of class, students will be assigned questions for each week.  All students are responsible for writing approximately 250 words in response to these questions.  These assignments must be brought to class so that they can be used in our discussion.  Students will be discussion leaders for the questions they have answered.  These assignments should be handed in at the end of each class. In these assignments, you should feel free to answer the questions not only as they pertain to the texts but also with reference to contemporary political issues.

  • Study Questions: 20%
  • Quizzes: 10%
  • Plan of Action Essay 20% (Outline: 2%, Draft: 3%, Final Draft: 15%)
  • Midterm: 20%
  • Final Exam: 20%
  • In-class participation:  10%

The study questions will be assessed on a scale of 1-20. A “16” indicates that the student has answered the question accurately. An “18” is indicative of an accurate answer with some critical reflection on the question. A “20” indicates critical reflection as well as specific reference to the text. Under “16” indicates that the answer misrepresents the text, while under “14” indicates that the question has not been answered.

Quizzes: Quizzes will be given at the end of some classes. I will write one question on the board at the end of class. This question will reflect our discussion and/or the assigned reading for the day. Students will have ten minutes to answer this question. The quizzes will be assessed on the same scale used for the study questions.

Plan of Action Essay: Students will write an essay in which they design a plan to mitigate one or more of the problems discussed in the course materials. Students should focus on one strategy for mitigating a problem related to race and racism. This essay should be 1250 words and should (1) identify and clearly define the plan or strategy the student will defend and (2) explain both the advantages and limitations of this plan or strategy. Students must turn in an outline and a draft of this essay by midnight on the dates given below.

Your outline should be at least 250 words in length and include a thesis statement. It should also include at least three academic sources, either from our readings or elsewhere. Please share your preliminary ideas about what you are going to argue and how you are going to argue it. I will return your outline but may modify it if I believe a change could help you succeed on this assignment.

The draft of this assignment should be any 750 words. They do not need to be your first 750 words. The purpose of this assignment is to receive early feedback so that you can be positioned to succeed on your final draft. Please submit both your draft and your essay in Word format. No PDFs!

Midterm and Final Exam: Both the midterm and final exam will be a selection of the study questions.

If you need disability accommodations for an exam or other assignment, please see the instructor as soon as possible. Information regarding disabilities, including learning disabilities, will remain confidential. If you are not sure whether you need special accommodations, please contact the Accessibility Services Department. Information about location and contact numbers can be found here:

Attendance and Participation:  Attendance and punctuality are basic requirements for a productive discussion. Beyond that, each student’s frequency and quality of contribution to the class discussion will be assessed and reflected in the class participation score.

Attendance policies:

  • Students who attend classes in person will receive full credit for attendance. Students who attend classes by Zoom with a valid medical excuse will receive full credit. Students who attend classes by Zoom without a valid medical excuse will receive 3/4 credit for attenance.
  • Students may miss up to three classes without penalty. Students who miss more than three classes will suffer a deduction of one-third of a grade (e.g. a B+ becomes a B). Students who miss more than five classes will suffer a full grade deduction (e.g. a B+ becomes a C+).
  • Students who are in class but do not have the assigned reading will be considered absent.
  • Multiple instances of tardiness may result in a deduction of one-third of a grade.

Late Assignments: Late assignments may be submitted for partial credit, but no assignments will be accepted after the last day of finals week.


WEEKS 1-2 (AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 2) The History of Race

Aurora Levins Morales, “What Race Isn’t: Teaching About Racism,” 2019 

  • What is the biggest challenge in teaching about racism? Gisella

Victor Ray, “The Social Construction of Race,” 2022 

  • What does it mean to say that race is a social construction? Valeria
  • If race is a “biological fiction,” why can’t we abandon it as an instrument of social analysis? Aniyah

Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “Racial Formations,” 1994

  • What is race? Orion
  • What is hypo-descent? Musa
  • When did the term “white” originate? Cody

Ian Haney Lopez, “The Social Construction of Race,” 1994 

  • What is race? Jing

Jamelle Bouie, “How We Construct and Reconstruct Race,” 2023 

  • What follows from the principle that race is a social construct?

Theodore William Allen, “Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery,” 1975 

  • Why was the White race invented? William
  • Why didn’t Virginia planters force white workers into bondage? Jaime
  • Do those racialized as White benefit from white supremacy? Gisella
  • What is the “old consensus on U.S. labor history? How did Allen counter it? Valeria

Pem Davidson Buck, “Derailing Rebellion: Inventing White Privilege,” 2001 

  • How did elites instill a racial identity in poor Whites? Aniyah

Sven Lindqvist, “Exterminate All the Brutes,” 1992 

  • How did Darwinism affect racism? Orion
  • What are the origins of Nazism? Musa

Barbara Fields, “Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America,” 1990 

  • What’s wrong with the way the Supreme Court decided Shaare Tefila v. Cobb (1987)? Cody
  • How does Fields define ideology? Jing
  • What does it mean to understand race as an ideology? William, Tabasum
  • Why were workers of African descent enslaved while others were not? Jaime
  • What is the relationship between race and slavery? Yibin (Danny)
  • Why did it take 100 years (after the inception of slavery in the Americas) for racial ideology to develop? Juli
  • What keeps race alive today? Juli 

WEEK 3 (Sept. 6-9) The History of Race in America

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., “Race and the American Legal Process,” 1978 

  • How has American law been used to deny equality to Black people? Valeria

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1856 

  • How did Justice Taney argue that Blacks were not citizens? Yibin (Danny)
  • How did Justice Taney argue that Blacks had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect?” Jaime

Abraham Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation, Jan. 1, 1863

United States Constitution: Thirteenth (1865), Fourteenth (1868), and Fifteenth (1870) Amendments 

  • How did the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments change the Constitution? Cody

W.E.B. Du Bois, “The Black Codes,” 1935 

  • What rights did Black people have under the Black Codes? Which were they denied? Gisella

Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 

  • How did the Court justify segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson? Kiara

U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) 

  • On what grounds did Bhagat Singh Thind claim to be legally White? On what grounds did the Court disagree? Jing

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954 

  • On what basis does the Court hold that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal?” Aniyah

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow 2010 

  • According to Alexander, why are so many Black men under the control of the criminal justice system? Musa
  • How is mass incarceration used to control Black men in the age of colorblindness? Orion, Tabasum

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Real Estate Segregated America,” 2018 

  • Why did the real estate industry want segregated neighborhoods? William
  • What is predatory inclusion? Juli

Karen Brodkin, “How Jews Became White Folks, and What That Says About Race in America,” 1998 

  • What explains the upward mobility of Jews?

Angelo N. Ancheta, “Neither Black nor White,” 2010

  • How do Asian Americans fit into the American discourse of Race?

Michael Yellow Bird, “Cowboys and Indians: Toys of Genocide, Icons of American Colonialism,” 2004

  • Why is it culturally acceptable to play “cowboys and Indians?”
  • Why did Indigenous Peoples accept the idea of the superiority of the White race?

Bill Fletcher Jr. and Bill Gallegos, “BIPOC? ¡Basta!, Time to blow the final whistle on the oppression Olympics.” 2022

  • What’s wrong with the term BIPOC?

Michael Kraus, “Deep racial inequality persists in the U.S. — but many Americans don’t want to believe it,” 2022

  • What is the Black/White wealth disparity?
  • Why do Americans underestimate racial inequality?

WEEK 4  (Sept. 13-16) Introduction to Critical Race Theory

Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, “Hallmark Critical Race Theory Themes,” 1995 

  • Why, according to Derrick Bell, did the Supreme Court outlaw segregation in 1954? Valeria
  • Explain the difference between materialism and idealism. Danny
  • What is CRT’s critique of rights? Jaime

Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility, 2018 

  • What is white privilege?

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1981

  • What is “The Problem” identified by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1981)? Jing
  • What is structural discrimination? William

Paula S. Rothenberg, “Defining ‘Racism’ and ‘Sexism,’”1998 

  • What is prejudice? In what sense are racism and sexism more than just prejudice? Gisella

Ian Haney Lopez, “Beyond Hate: Strategic Racism,” 2014 

  • How were Blacks forced into involuntary servitude even after the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
  • What is strategic racism? Aniyah

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, “Color-Blind Racism,” 2001 

  • What is color-blind racism? Orion

Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction,” 1995

  • What are the origins of Critical Race Theory? Musa
  • What are the primary tenets of CRT? Juli

Michael Harriot, Twitter Thread, 2021 

  • Is CRT pessimistic or optimistic? 

Michael Gerson, “I’m a Conservative Who Believes Systemic Racism is Real,” 2021 

  • Why, according to Gerson, is it impossible to “be a conservative without believing that racism is, in part, structural?” Cody

James Baldwin, “On Being White…And Other Lies,” 1984 

  • What does Baldwin mean when he says “there is, in fact, no white community.”? Tabasum
  • What did people have to do to become White?


WEEK 5  (Sept. 20-23) The 1619 Project


Nikole Hannah-Jones, “America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made it One,” 2019 

  • How according to Hannah-Jones did Black people make America a democracy? Cody
  • What was Lincoln’s view on the equality of the races? Jing
  • How did race relations change during Reconstruction? How did they change after Reconstruction? William

Adam Serwer, “Why Conservatives Want to Cancel the 1619 Project,” 2021 

  • Why did conservatives object to the 1619 Project? Jaime

“An interview with historian Gordon Wood on the New York Times’ 1619 Project,” 2019 

  • How does Wood respond to the claim that the Revolution was about founding a slaveocracy? Gisella, Juli

James Oakes, “What the 1619 Project Got Wrong,” 2021 

  • What, according to Oakes, does the 1619 Project get wrong? Valeria, Tabasum

Jake Silverstein, “We Respond to the Historians Who Critiqued the 1619 Project,” 2021 

  • How does Silverstein defend the 1619 Project against the historians’ charges? Aniyah, Danny

“The 74 Interview:Howard Historian Daryl Scott on ‘Grievance History,’ the 1619 Project and the ‘Possibility that We Rend Ourselves on the Question of Race’,” 2022 

  • What is the multicultural approach to history? How does it differ from Nikole-Hannah Jones’ approach?  Orion, Musa

WEEK 6 (Sept. 27-30) The Politics of “Critical Race Theory”

Tal Fortgang, “Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege,” 2014 

  • What is Fortgang’s objection to the concept of white privilege? Orion

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, “How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory,” 2021 

  • Why did Christopher Rufo think “critical race theory” could be the perfect villain? Danny

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, “What Do Conservatives Fear About Critical RaceTheory,” 2021

  • What do conservatives fear about critical race theory? Tabasum

Rashawn Ray and Alexandra Gibbons, “Why are states banning critical race theory?”, 2021 

  • Why are states banning critical race theory? 

Iowa House File 802, “An Act providing for rquirements related to racism or sexism trainings at, and diversity and inclusion efforts by, governmental agencies and entities, school districts, and public postsecondary education institutions.” 2021 

  • What does the Iowa CRT law ban and what does it not ban? Jaime

Judd Legum, “1 truth and 3 lies about Critical Race Theory,” 2021 

  • Why is CRT suddenly all over the news? Valeria

Linda Martín Alcoff, “How Critical Race Theory Became the New Conservative Bogeyman,” 2021 

  • Why are conservatives opposed to what they call “critical race theory?” 

Paul Waldman, “Why conservatives keep creating imaginary enemies to fight,” 2021 

  • If CRT is too sophisticated to be taught in grammar school, why are states banning it? Musa

Timothy Snyder, “The War on History Is a War on Democracy,” 2021 

  • What are memory laws? Why does Snyder believe CRT laws are memory laws? Juli

David French, “Loving Your Country Means Teaching Its History Honestly,” 2021 

  • On what basis should we love our country? Cody

Kmele Foster, David French, Jason Stanley, Thomas Chatterton Williams, “We Disagree on a Lot of Things. Except the Danger of Anti-Critical Race Theory Laws.” 2021 

  • What is the purpose of a liberal education? William

David French, “Structural Racism Isn’t Wokness, It’s Reality,” 2021 

  • According to French, on what grounds does Christianity require acknowledging structural racism? Gisella

Aziz Huq, “The Conservative Case Against Banning Critical Race Theory,” 2021 

  • What is Huq’s conservative case against banning critical race theory? Jing

Conor Friedersdorf, “Critical Race Theory is Making Both Parties Flip-Flop,” 2021 

  • What is different about North Carolina’s CRT bill? Aniyah


WEEK 7 (October 4-7) Race and Class

Walter Benn Michaels, “The Trouble With Diversity,” 2006 

  • How did diversity come to be valued in the US? Tabasum
  • What is Benn Michaels’s critique of diversity? Cody, Valeria

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “What about racism? Don’t socialists only care about class?” 2014

  • What role did slavery play in the development of capitalism? Juli
  • Why do socialists tend to be anti-racists? Jing
  • Why aren’t general policies favoring economic expansion sufficient to address racism? Danny
  • Why have African Americans gravitated toward socialism? William

Adolph Reed Jr, “Marx, Race, and Neoliberalism” 2014 

  • What are ascriptive ideologies? Musa
  • How does Marxism demystify race and racism? Jaime, Aniyah

Reihan Salam, “America Needs Anti-Racialism,” 2022 

  • What is anti-racialism? Why, according to Salam is it better than anti-racism? Orion

Jamelle Bouie, “Beyond ‘White Fragility’,” 2020 

  • Why, according to Bouie, is the Black freedom struggle necessarily a struggle for economic justice? Gisella

WEEK 8 (OCTOBER 11-12) Resistance

(These readings are optional. They are meant to be resources for the Plan of Action Essay. However, students should read at least one of these essays for the purpose of class discussion.)

Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” 1984 

  • What are the “master’s tools” in Lorde’s analogy? 

Audre Lorde, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference,” 1980 

  • How can difference be a solution? 

Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera, “La conciencia de la mestiza,” 1987 

  • What is a “consciousness of the Borderlands?”
  • What does Anzaldua ask of White people? 

Michele Norris, “Germany faced its horrible past. Can we do the same?” 2021 

  • How has Germany come to terms with its Nazi past? 

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” 2014 

  • How, according to Coates, should reparations be paid?
  • Why are reparations the best response to the problem of American racism? 

Cedric Johnson, “An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Liberals Who Love Him,” 2017 

  • What is Black nationalism What are Johnson’s criticisms of it?
  • How has the reparations demand changed over time? 

Daniel Wildcat, “Why Native Americans don’t want reparations,” 2014 

  • Why, according to Daniel Wildcat, don’t Native Americans want reparations? 

Susan Witt, “Proposal for a ‘Black Commons’,” 2018 

  • What is the argument for a Black Commons? 

Robin D.G. Kelley, “The Tulsa Race Massacre Went Way Beyond ‘Black Wall Street’,” 2021 

  • What does Kelley mean by decolonization? 

Greg Lukianoff, “The Empowering of the American Mind,” 2021 

  • What should be done to protect the vulnerable, according to Lukianoff? 

Alicia Garza, “Our cynicism will not build a movement. Collaboration will.” 2017 

  • Why, according to Garza, is it more important to be connected than to be right? 

Kristin J. Anderson and Christina Hsu Accomando, “The Pitfalls of Ally Performance: Why Coalition Work Is More Effective Than Ally Theater,” 2019 

  • What are the limits of allyship? Why is coalition work better? 

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “From #blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation,” 2016 

  • What would constitute the “radical reconstruction” of American society?
  • Why, according to Taylor, is socialism and the Black freedom struggle essential to one another? 



Style Guide:

The Department of History and Political Science mandates that all submitted work adhere to the Turabian/Chicago style delineated in Kate Turabian, et. al., A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, University of Chicago Press (available at the Wilson Library Reference Desk). Here you can access the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style.

Here are a couple of websites that will automatically format citations in Chicago style for you: and

Exam Proctoring Guidelines:

  1. One seat space between students when possible.
  2. No bathroom breaks except in the case of illness or emergency.  Student should discuss this circumstance with the proctor prior to the start of the exam.
  3. No materials on the desk except for pens/pencils, bluebook or writing paper and exam.
  4. Under no circumstances can students access electronic devices during the exam.
  5. Exam proctors will note any violation of these rules and those will be considered in the final grade.


Your work will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

A—designates work of extraordinarily high quality; reflects unusually thorough and comprehensive understanding of issues at hand; presents a clearly identifiable thesis and argument that demonstrates cogent and creative development and support of ideas.

B—designates work of high quality; reflects clearly organized and comprehensive understanding of issues and hand; presents substantive thesis and argument with evident development and support of ideas.

C—designates work which minimally meets requirements set forward in assignment; reflects some organization and development of ideas, but develops argument in superficial or simplistic manner; may only address part of the assignment or be otherwise incomplete.

D—designates work of poor quality which does not meet minimum requirements set forward in assignment; demonstrates poor organization of ideas and/or inattention to development of ideas, grammar, and spelling; treatment of material is superficial and/or simplistic; may indicate that student has not done reading assignments thoroughly.

F—designates work that does not meet ANY of the standards set above or which is not handed in.


Plagiarism is a prevalent but highly unethical practice. Plagiarism will result in the immediate failure of this course and disciplinary action which could lead to expulsion from the University. If you are having problems in the course please come and talk to me about it rather than doing something that could put your entire college career in jeopardy.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to the following:

·The direct copying of any source, such as written and verbal material, computer files,
audio disks, video programs or musical scores, whether published or unpublished, in
whole or part, without proper acknowledgment that it is someone else’s.

·Copying of any source in whole or part with only minor changes in wording or syntax, even with acknowledgment.

·Submitting as one’s own work a report, examination paper, computer file, lab report
or other assignment that has been prepared by someone else. This includes research
papers purchased from any other person or agency.

·The paraphrasing of another’s work or ideas without proper acknowledgment.


The Academic Success Center provides free one-on-one peer tutoring to graduate and undergraduate students in a wide variety of courses and subjects. Please make liberal use of the ASC if you need assistance with any of the assignments for this course. To make an appointment, use the quick start guide, stop by ASC on the second floor of the Campus Center, or call (909) 448-4342. Answers to frequently asked questions are available here.