Discussion Questions

  1. It is projected that by the year 2044, whites will comprise less than 50% of the U.S. population. They will still be the largest racial group in the United States, but they will no longer be a statistical majority. What impact (if any) do you think this will have on race relations? Why?
  2. What do you think accounts for white consumption of black lower-class culture? What do you think of the assertion that whites want “everything but the burden”?
  3. The Academy Award winning movie The Help noted that domestic workers, who were overwhelmingly black, were not entitled to Social Security benefits. Farm workers, who were generally Latino, were also left out of the program. How is this an example of institutional racism? The U.S. government asserts that the intent was not racist. Do you think that intent is a necessary part of racism, or can a policy be institutional racism unintentionally?
  4. Why are the cultural explanations for race more accurate than the biological explanations? Explain and give examples.
  5. Explain how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. Is discrimination always inevitable when stereotype and prejudice exist? Why or why not? Give examples.
  6. Explore how we understand “white privilege” and how it is used in current conversations about racial and ethnic issues.