Montana 1948 By Larry Watson: Racism Analysis

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In our class discussion, as well as through our readings on racism, I am beginning to grasp a definition of racism that is more specifically related to institutional power than I had formerly realized. I don’t think I ever looked up “racism” in the dictionary before, where, having now done so; it indeed specifies that racism is directly linked to the power that is used in perpetuating it. In our reading from “What is Racism” the author defines racism as “a pervasive and systemic exercise of real power to deny minorities equal access and opportunity” (Sue, 2003 p.31). My more complete understanding of racism informs an interesting observation I had this week. I would like to show how through this observation, a form of racism is perpetuated through lowered expectations of people of color and how this specifically relates to the denial of equal opportunity for accessing education. During my observation at Leuzinger High School this week I listened as students discussed the novel “Montana 1948” by Larry Watson. Personal anger aside that these 11th grade students of various racial backgrounds and ethnicities are reading a book about Sioux culture in 1948 through the lens of a contemporary white male author when they could be reading an…show more content…
In the chapter from “Jim Crow’s Children” the author describes the fear on the part of white people that “educated blacks were likely to aspire to more than plantation life” (Irons, 2002 p 3). Keeping them away from education allowed whites to sustain the lowered expectations that blacks were only fit for manual labor. Even today, by controlling and perpetuating society’s stereotypes that certain groups of people “don’t belong” it keeps many from even attempting to access education. Even though people of color are now “constitutionally” given access to education, there are still pervasive thought patters of lowered expectations that keep many from seeking
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