SO315 Minority Group Relations

for S2T 2006

Printer Friendly

Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


SO 315 Minority Group Relations


S1T 2006 DLA


Barrier, Ollie, III (Rusty)


Adjunct Faculty


B.A. Psychology
M.S. Counseling
Ph.D. Holistic Psychology

Office Location


Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

March 13, 2006 - May 7, 2006

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours


Strangers to These Shores
Vincent N. Parrillo, Eighth Edition, 2006
ISBN #0-205-45763-0

Textbooks can be purchased though the MBS bookstore

Course Description:
An examination of the patterns and causes of prejudice and discrimination.  Surveys the history and current status of groups in American society which have been subjected to discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex or religion.  3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain how majority (dominant) and minority (subordinate) groups are defined and how those definitions are commonly justified, internalized by members of both, and manipulated for relative advantage.
  2. Know the historical development, current importance, and likely future developments in socially significant minorities, such as those based on “race” and ethnicity, history and geography, culture and religion, gender or sex, privilege, birth, and so forth; and critically assess how those definitions are created and applied.
  3. Know the social history of American migration patterns and how they were shaped by power, status, and access to other resources; and compare and contrast this history with those of other areas and times.
  4. Examine the patterns and causes of prejudice and discrimination, and interpret the consequences for individuals and societies.
  5. Explain how social institutions, such as economic, political, educational, and cultural systems, are created or adapted to perpetuate disadvantage among minority group members.
  6. Evaluate the history and current status of groups in American society that have been subjected to systematic discrimination, including African Americans, Native Americans, and other specific ethnic and religious groups.
  7. Explore, apply, and evaluate common responses by minority groups to discrimination, including assimilation, accommodation, separatism, and radicalism.
  8. Analyze and evaluate current issues in minority group relations; and apply your theoretical and social historical knowledge to specific minority group struggles in the present day, and to extrapolate their likely trajectories.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
Discussion, Activities, Group Projects 30% (150 points)

Midterm Exam Week 4 20% (100 points)

Sociological Analysis Paper Week 6  25% (125 points)

Comprehensive Final Exam Week 8  25% (125 points)

Discussion, Activities, Group Projects 30% (150 points)

Midterm Exam Week 4 20% (100 points)

Sociological Analysis Paper Week 6  25% (125 points)

Comprehensive Final Exam Week 8  25% (125 points)

Late Submission of Course Materials:
No Discussion Response, Peer Response, Online Activity Assignment, or Group Project Assignment will be accepted for credit after Sunday midnight MST of the week in which the assignment is due.

No late paper will be accepted after the due date.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
SO315 Minority Group Relations
Guidelines for "Weekly Class Participation"
Weekly Discussion and Peer Responses

In addition to helping you learn the required material, weekly class participation enables you to form supportive and inquiring relationships with other students by sharing points of view, challenging statements you may disagree with, and by giving and receiving constructive feedback and encouragement. In order to meet the requirements for weekly class discussions, you will need to make sure you have read all of the assigned readings before participating in the discussion. These requirements apply to both your discussion and peer responses.


Each response must be at least 200 words in length;
Each response should contain information taken from your text, online readings, or other online research that supports and is applicable to the topic and your point of view.
Your response should adequately address the question(s)/topic at hand and contain original thoughts, examples, and illustrations.
Your response should avoid simple agreement or disagreement. Do not simply restate what others have said.
Your response should use clear, consistent, and logical reasoning and show a correct understanding of the topic/concepts being discussed.
The information you use to support your viewpoint should be documented by citing the reference source of your information and including page numbers if the source is your text. You must present documented evidence that supports your view. You cannot simply give an opinion and leave it at that. (See MLA Guidelines linked to the syllabus and also uploaded to the document sharing area) for correct method of documenting sources of information).
Your discussion response is due by Thursday midnight MST in any given week. Failure to post a discussion response by this deadline will result in 1 point being deducted from your weekly class participation grade.
Your peer response is due by Sunday midnight MST in any given week. If you fail to post a peer response or a late discussion response by the Sunday midnight MST deadline in any given week, you forfeit those class participation points for that week. There are no exceptions, including TDY, illness, work related responsibilities, sick children, problems with your computer or Internet connection, etc. Missed class participation cannot be made up. No late class participation is accepted for any reason.
See Weekly Discussion Rubric linked to the syllabus for information on how your Weekly Class Discussion/Peer Responses will be graded.
Here is an example of a discussion response that meets all requirements and would earn the total points possible:

The popular conception of today is that eliminating discrimination will eradicate prejudice. You can see this very easily by the amount of effort that companies go through in the name of diversity. Anti-discrimination laws are enacted and enforced to ensure that bigotry does not play a part in any decision that effects anyone's financial or educational future. However, this attempt at governmental legislation has obviously backfired, or at least not worked to achieve the goal of eliminating prejudice.
As stated in the article, "oppurtunism -- thus becomes the wedge that breaks irrational discrimination...(Southern segregationists) didn't like the way that market forces benefited black workers at the expense of the white ones." (Ross)

When the affirmative action laws were designed, ethnic and racial minorities were to be equally considered for all positions, as would anyone from the majority group. However, "an employer may even be forced, as is increasinglky the case, to hire from certain ethnic groups in order to avoid even the appearance of discriminating." (Ross)

This is a most unfortunate turn of events. Whereas, individuals begin to be hired based on their race or ethnicity to fulfill quotas. Businesses for fear of lawsuit will hire individuals based solely on ethnic or racial qualifications, so as to appear tolerant and representative of the population. The weight of qualifications then begins to be diminished in importance. When this is the case, economic competition begins.

The textbook states, "people tend to be more hostile toward others when they feel that their security is threatened." It goes on to relate, "economic competition and conflict breed prejudice." (Parrillo 83)

Therefore, the more businesses and institutions strive to be more representative, the more likely it is that a perceived injustice is felt by the majority group. This is labelled as reverse discrimination by the majority group. By definition, reverse discrimination is "discrimination against members of a dominant or majority group, especially when resulting from policies established to correct discrimination against members of a minority or disadvantaged group." (Reverse Discrimination)

It is irrelevant whether reverse discrimination actually is a valid argument or not. The truth lies in the perception of the person who is has experienced economic competition. The perception being that they were discriminated against. This belief exacerbates their prejudice towards the other group in question. Therefore, elimination of discrimination, when done improperly, causes as much prejudice as it eliminates.

The underlying point of the article appears to be that prejudice exists, whether discrimination is legislated against or not. Individuals will make judgments of others without even thinking about it. These pre-judgments are a natural part of human life. Because of these pre-judgements, any effort to regulate them will cause dissonance. Therefore, the author appears to be following the conflict theory more so than anything else.

Works Cited:

Ross, Kelly L.. "Ethnic Prejudice, Stereotypes, Discrimination, and the Free Market." Ethnic Prejudice, Stereotypes, Discrimination, and the Free Market. 2005. 31 Aug. 2005. <>  

Parrillo, Vincent N. Strangers to These Shores. seventh ed. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2003.  

"Reverse Discrimination." reverse discrimination - - American Heritage Dictionary. 2004. 31 Aug. 2005 .<>

Here is an example of a peer response that meets all requirements and would earn the total points possible:

I am not sure if I misread your post or not. I see that you said that you agree that the people are slow to Americanize and learn the language. However, your word choices seem to tend towards a negative connotation of this fact.
It seems as if Americans believe immigrants should become fluent in the English within weeks or maybe even just a few months. However, the factors which determine the ability to learn a language include:

"1) Factors related to the social context in which you must learn the language.

2) Factors related to the language itself.

3) Factors related to the individual language learner." (Thomson)

In a society where economic stratification occurs, new immigrants enter into a situation where they must migrate to locations where their culture and language skills are accepted.. This is due to the inability to obtain employment and also the need to survive in a strange land. Environment dictates how an individual will assimilate or not. Being forced into an environment where a language other than English is spoken hinders the ability for immigrants to learn the language.

Individuals who do attempt to overcome these environmental concerns and integrate into the social structure face other barriers. The inability to immediately grasp the English language leads to academic difficulties. These difficulties can be further compounded by "deficiencies in the teaching and learning environment. For example, students with limited English may fail because they do not have access to effective bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) instruction." (Ortiz)

Now, new immigrants in the workforce or in the academic arena are further hindered trying to learn their new language. They encounter socioeconomic frustrations and are forced into low skill, low paying jobs. As the opportunities to learn or advance decreases, students will have difficulty in learning the language and further assimilating. This inability and frustration drives them further into the subgroups and acculturation could effectively cease. "Unless these students (and immigrants) receive appropriate intervention, they will continue to struggle, and the gap between their achievement and that of their peers will widen over time." (Ortiz)

The third factor listed above is the individual learners ability. This passage from sums this up pretty well for the average human, not counting those with actual learning disabilities:

"Generally speaking, the younger you are when you are introduced to the language, the better. Babies are born with an unlimited capacity for learning language, and as they grow up, their minds gradually lose the capability to hear and produce sounds in the languages that they are not exposed to. The earlier a new language is introduced to them, the better their odds of eventually being fluent and having good accents. This does not mean that an adult cannot learn a new language; simply that an adult will have to work harder at it, and it is likely that s/he will never develop a really good accent." (Lawless)

Previously, I did not address the second factor. Why is English so hard to learn and consequently why is it so difficult for immigrants to fit in? These websites are pretty self-explanatory and have a humorous look at this quandary.


Works Cited:

Thomson, Greg. "What? Me Worry About Language Learning?." Helping Language Learners Learn Language. Language Impact. 10 Sep. 2005. <>

Ortiz, Alba. "English Language Learners With Special Needs: Effective Instructional Strategies." English Language Learners With Special Needs. Dec. 2001. Center for Applied Linguistics. 10 Sep. 2005.<>

Lawless, Laura K. "When Will I Be Fluent? - Language Proficiency." When will I be fluent? - Language proficiency - What is fluency?. About.Com. 10 Sep. 2005.<>

Weekly Online Activities (Online Research)

These are scheduled in weeks 1, 3, 4, 7 & 8. Research to complete the activity must be conducted over the Internet. That means you need to supply at least one web site URL as a reference unless otherwise stated in the instructions for the activity. You should take care to answer all questions asked and cover all requested information as stated in the instructions for the activity. Each Online Activity should be recorded in your online journal under the appropriate journal entry heading (Ex. Week One Journal Entry). You should also include your reference and appropriate citations in your journal entry using MLA style format.

When you have completed your Online Activity, you should post your online reference source or article relating to your activity topic in the Webliography under the appropriate category. Your Webliography should contain an accurate URL for the online source and a description of what the site/article is about and how it relates to the topic.

You must complete your online activity within the week it is due. If you miss the Sunday midnight MST deadline, you miss your chance to receive credit for that assignment. DO NOT attempt to edit your journal entry after the due date. If you do this, your original posting date will be replaced by the date of your editing changes. This will give the impression that your entry is late, and you will not be able to get credit for it. Make sure all editing changes are completed by the Sunday midnight deadline to avoid such a problem. An extra credit activity is available in week 6. You may complete that activity to replace an activity that you might miss in another week. There are no exceptions to this policy. See Online Research Activity Rubric linked to the syllabus for information on how your Weekly Activity/Journal Entry will be graded.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
You will be able to track your grade throughout the course. You will also know in advance the standards for each assignment. My goal is to provide you with prompt, clear, and useful feedback in order to help you internalize the material.

Grading Criteria for Course Requirements:

Requirement Due Date  Percentage of Grade
Online Discussion, Activities, Group Projects Weekly--Sunday Midnight MST 30% (150 points)

Midterm Exam Week 4 20% (100 points)

Sociological Analysis Paper Week 6  25% (125 points)

Comprehensive Final Exam Week 8  25% (125 points)

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all learners that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to learners concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding learners with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:


This material is copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:3/15/2006 5:53:15 PM