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Unit Introduction

We are reading taking a short break from our textbook and reading the introduction to the book Post-Racial or Most-Racial by Michael Tesler instead. This reading is posted below. Tesler’s book takes a close look at American sentiments and self-perceptions. When President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, many Americans believed that the first black president surely meant that America has moved past its history of slavery, inequality, and oppression. However, instead the opposite became apparent. Racist and discriminatory attitudes became louder and Obama was more often attacked based on his ethnicity than his actual policies. Tesler discusses these discrepancies using quantitative data and research approaches.

Your film in this unit is about Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American, who fought against the internment of Japanese Americans from 1942-1945. He was charged with a felony for attempting to avoid internment. His case ultimately made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1983, a federal judge in California overturned his conviction.

Part one

Your reading in this unit discusses whether we live in a “post-racial” or “most-racial” society. Using your sociological imagination discuss whether our society is better described as post or most-racial. Make sure to use sources provided in this course, or if needed other peer-reviewed sources. You can use the Fred Korematsu Story film as an outside source.

Guiding Prompt: “Post-racial” or “most-racial,” is American society past its racial divide? Provide at least two specific examples.

Applied papers: In this applied paper, you are asked to respond to the provided prompt, using the readings and films, and to add some of your own research. Each paper should be about 2 pages long, double-spaced (about 500 words) and address the provided prompt in the following manner:

1. Introduction. What is this unit’s topic about? Respond to the prompt by identifying specific sections in the readings and films that speak to the topic.

2. Research. Identify an artifact or example that highlights the topic in concurrent society. For example, find an article or artifact from at least two places: An American news source, a piece of art (music, written, paint, etc.), an international news source (in English language), or something else relevant that may provide an example or argument that relates to the topic. Some news sources are provided in the course shell in the left-hand menu. However, you may find a different item that would help underscore the issue or your argument.

3. Conclusion. Here, you tie the readings, film, and your found article/item together. What is your take-away in response to the prompt? What are you making of this issue after having done some research?

4. Discussion questions: Provide three (3) discussion questions that you would like your classmates to respond to.

Always cite your sources and provide references at the end of your paper.

Part two

Watch the film The Fred Korematsu Story.Please respond to three of the five following questions in short essay format:

1.Fred Korematsu was surprised by the fact that the government incarcerated both immigrants and first generation Japanese Americans (Americans of Japanese descent born in the U.S. as citizens). Why do you think he made this distinction? What was the basis for the incarceration?

2.If you were subjected to the same forced removal as the Japanese Americans, how might you react? Why? How do you think Japanese Americans reacted? Why?

1)Just go along with things and show your American loyalty?

2)Non-violent, passive resistance?

3)Outwardly fight the forced removal?

3.The U.S. justified the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans because those of Japanese descent were part of an “enemy race.” Was the U.S. at war with a race or a country? Do you see examples of this reoccurring since then?

4.Karen Korematsu said that her father never told her about his famous Supreme Court case. Many incarcerees didn’t mention their imprisonment to their children for years and in some cases, decades. Why do you think this was the case?

5.Why is Korematsu v. United States a landmark civil rights case? Why was it so critical for the legal team to win the 1983 case?


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