SW325 Human Diversity & Social Justice

for FA 2004

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Human Diversity and Social Justice

Fall 2004

Faculty:  Phyllis A. Hipps Ph.D., MSW

Office: MA225A

Office Hours: T-R 2:00-4:00 pm and by appointment as needed

Office Telephone (816) 584-6503

Faculty E-Mail: Phyllis.Hipps@park.edu

Dates of Semester: August 23- December 19, 2004

Class days and times: T-R 10:10-11:25

Prerequisite: None

Credit Hours: 3


University 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.


Course Description:   This course provides a foundation of knowledge for more effective social work practice with a diversity of individuals and groups.  It explores the background, worldview and special needs of groups which vary in such respects as race and ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and age.

This course focuses on the changing nature of American society, examining the diversity of experiences and issues with that diversity.  Students are introduced to the principles and methods of analyzing the interrelationships of race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, language, sexual orientation, and physical abilities and disabilities, and how these structures have shaped the experiences of all people in the United States.  It also introduces students to the multiple cultures throughout the United States and around the world.  This course is developed under the premise that because racial and ethnic divisions, social injustice, discrimination, and conflict still create serious problems in our society, understanding the perspectives of many groups and cultures enriches the lives of all, supports cross-cultural competence, and promotes a more equitable and just society for all.   It recognizes our responsibility to fellow human beings no matter whom they are or where they come from.  As well, the course supports the contention that, "to understand the entire American story is to make sure that we understand all of the American people."  Indeed, the more we understand, the less we fear.  You will thus be asked to engage in critical inquiry and reflection; to construct meaning by connecting new information obtained from your readings, class discussions, guest speakers, audio-visual materials to your own personal experience and observations; and to explain and propose solutions.


Instructor's Educational Philosophy: Social work as a profession emerged in response to the many challenges, inequalities and threats to societies and the world’s most vulnerable populations.  The demographic of those populations is constantly evolving, as is the nature of challenges that increasingly confront us all. 

It is vitally important that students and new graduates, regardless of their professional identity, be prepared to efficiently and critically consider their environment in order to identify, strategize, and communicate an appropriate response to the matters before them.  This is as true in business, science, education and government service as it is in social work. 

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families and their communities, throughout their lives.  Through the semester, world and local events will occur which may influence our academic, personal, or professional pursuits. In light of such circumstances, the instructor reserves the right to amend the schedule of study.


SW325 Course Objectives: It is expected upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the value of critical thinking as essential for the function of informed and responsible citizenry.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the value of diversity and cultivate an awareness of the similarities and differences among individuals and populations.
  3. Demonstrate a capacity to recognize and respond to social and political injustices.
  4. Demonstrate how understanding and acceptance of people who are different enables us to move toward a society that values rather than tolerates differences.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding that diversity is more than race and recognize that gender, race, and ethnic identity are socially constructed.
  6. Communicate an understanding of the special challenges and skills required for effective practice with diverse and at-risk populations.
  7. Express understanding of the public and private social welfare system related to the service needs of diverse populations.
  8. Describe your own personal values in the context of human diversity and social justice.


Course Textbooks:

Race, Class, and Gender in the United States,   Sixth Edition.    Rothenberg, P. S., ISBN: 0-7167-5515-7

White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism,  Rothenberg, P.S., ISBN: 0-7167-5295-6

  Note: A copy of each text is available on reserve in the McAfee Library.


Academic Honesty:   “Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park.”


Plagiarism:  “…the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work—sometimes occur through carelessness or ignorance.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”


Attendance Policy:  "Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.  Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.  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.”  A Contract for Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment.  Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of an F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.”  Regular classroom attendance is both expected and essential for the attainment of course objectives. Material not found in the text will be presented and discussed in class.  Absences detract from your learning as well as that of others.


Late Submission of Coursework:   Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated. In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically. The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions. In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification an exception may or may not be granted. Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day. If you ever have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner.   Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.


Make up exams: Exams are given only on the date specified. Make-up exams will only be scheduled at the instructor’s prerogative under extreme circumstances. Students or an agent of the student must notify the instructor prior to the exam and must be prepared to submit documentation of the circumstances.


Course Assessment:   Two Exams, Essay Paper, Article Review, Publishable Article, Further details on these assignments will be distributed in class. Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, typed or word processed. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.


  • Exams:  Midterm & Final, A study guide will be provided one week prior to the exam.  The study guide will highlight the major points being covered


  • Essay Paper:  This essay will be written from jail.  Imagine that you committed civil disobedience to protest some unjust aspect of our society.  In a two page paper, legibly handwritten, writes your own "Letter from Jail" addressing the following areas: What was the issue?  What makes this issue so important to you?  Describe any spiritual element associated with your interest in this issue.  What other action do you plan to take?  What do you hope to accomplish?  Do you need the help of others?  Would you use violence to accomplish your goal?  How do you justify your action to your family, your friends, your god and the public?  You need to follow the guidelines and respond to every point mentioned for this essay.  The essays will be shared in class.


  • Article Review:  Locate an article from a social work journal or book of readings that describes research on some aspect of human development.  This assignment offers an opportunity for you to apply what you have learned in other classes.  Summarize the main issues and findings in the reading.  Describe the extent to which the article's conclusions are consistent or different from the material contained in the text.  Is human diversity addressed in this article?  What were the strengths and weaknesses of the research reported on or used in the reading?  What is the relevance of the research information in the article to social work practice?  If you were a social worker, how would this information change or influence your practice?


  • Publishable article:  The publishable article will be written per APA format with no identifying information about any person or persons you might discuss.  The article must be written with the idea that 100,000 readers will be reading it.  Grammar is important in assignments.  Communication is an important skill and requires the use of proper grammar.  If I cannot understand your writing, I cannot grade it properly and others who read it cannot get your intended message.  Grammar, therefore, will be considered when calculating grades for written assignments.  This paper needs to reflect how you have gained insight to a human diversity issue.  You are encouraged to submit your publishable article to a journal or publication such as the New Social Worker magazine.


Classroom Rules of Conduct: In order to maintain a positive learning environment the following ground rules will be followed:


  1. Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.
  2. Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.
  3. If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.
  4. Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times. Students need to arrive on time. Students will not hold private conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time.
  5. If student’s behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will allow the student an opportunity to correct the behavior without consequences. If the student’s behavior continues to be disruptive, that student may be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.


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 American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students 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: www.park.edu/disability."


SW 325 Course Schedule:


Week 1            Introduction of students, Review Syllabus

                        Introduce Textbooks:

                                    White Privilege and

                                    Race, Class, and Gender in the Untied States, and

                                    Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America.

                                    "Don't Call Me a Racist."  This book will be given to students as a                                             gift from the Department of Social Work

                        Introduction of Course: Beginning our study together makes apparent                                      some immediate differences from other academic enterprises.  Whereas                         students and faculty in an introductory literature or chemistry class do not                        begin the semester with deeply felt and firmly entrenched attitudes toward                         the subject, almost every student in a course that deals with issues of race,                         class, gender, and sexuality enters the room on the first day with strong                        feelings, and almost every faculty member does so as well.  These feelings                       will give us an opportunity to use them as the basis for a passionate and                         personal study of the topics and can make this course something out of the                        ordinary, one that has real long term meaning for both students and the                                     professor.   We intend to channel these feelings positively and openly,                       upfront, acknowledge the existence of these feelings.  Throughout the                        entire semester we will all work at creating an atmosphere that encourages                         candid and respectful dialogue. 


Week 2            White Privileges: Part One

                                    Ch 1 The Matter of Whiteness

                        Racial imagery is central to the organization of the modern world.

                                    Ch 2 Failing to See

                        Most White people tend not to think of themselves in racial terms.

                                    Ch 3 Representations of Whiteness in the Black Imagination

                        Although there has never been any official body of black people in the                                       United states who have gathered as anthropologists and/or ethnographers                         to study whiteness, black folks have, from slavery one, shared in                         conversations with one another "special" knowledge of whiteness gleaned                         from close scrutiny of white people.


                        Us and Them: The Silencing of Mary Dyer

                        1660: A Quaker woman in colonial Massachusetts risks her life for                                            religious liberty.


Week 3            Guest Speaker

                        Discussion on quotes from "Don't Call Me a Racist."


Week 4            White Privilege: Park Two

                                    Ch 1 How White People Became White

                        In 1980, Joseph Loguidice, an elderly Italian-American from Chicago,                                       sat down to give his life story to an interviewer,  His first and most vivid                         childhood recollection was of a race riot that had occurred on the city's                         near north side.

                                    Ch 2 How Jews Became White Folks

                        It is certainly true that the United States has a history of anti-Semitism                                       and of beliefs that Jews were members of an inferior race.

                                    Ch 3 Becoming Hispanic: Mexican Americans and Whiteness

                        In 1980 the U.S. Bureau of the Census created two new ethnic                                                 categories of Whites: "Hispanics" and non-Hispanics."

                                    Ch 4 The Possessive Investment in Whiteness

                        Shortly after World War II, a French reporter asked expatriate Richard                                     Wright for his views about the "Negro Problem" in America.  The author                                    replied, "There isn't any Negro problem; there is only a white problem."


                        Us and Them: The Ballad of Leo Frank

                        1913: A Northern Jew becomes a scapegoat for Southerner's fears.

                        Us and Them: Untamed Border

                        1917: Mexican Americans endure a reign of terror by the Texas Rangers.


Week 5            White Privileges: Part Three

                                    Ch 1 Making systems of Privilege Visible

                        The notion of privilege, although part of the consciousness of popular                                         culture, has not been recognized in legal language and doctrine.

                                    Ch 2 White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

                        Men are unwilling to grant that they are overprivliged, even though they                                      may grant the women as being disadvantaged.

                                    Ch 3 White Privilege Shapes the U.S.

                        Affirmative action for whites is a fact of life. 

                                    Ch 4 Membership Has its Privileges: Thoughts on Acknowledging                                             and Challenging Whiteness


                        Us and Them: Blankets for the Dead:

                        1830s forced from their homeland, the Cherokee people walk into exile on                                the Trail of Tears.


                        Essay Jail Letter due


Week 6            White Privilege; Part Four

                                    Ch 1 Breaking the Silence

                        Some people say there is too much talk about race and racism in the                                          United States; others say there is not enough.  In recent years, news                                          headlines have highlighted the pervasiveness of the problem.

                                    Ch 2 Confronting One's Own Racism

                        Most white Americans have absorbed racist attitudes from parents,                                           friends, or the mass media.  In this sense, racist views are a "normal" part                                   of being a white American.

                                    Ch 3 How White People Can Serve as Allies to People of Color in                                           the Struggle to End Racism

                        Being allies to people of color in the struggle to end racism is one of the                                     most important things that people can do.


                        Us and Them: Home Was a Horse Stall.

                        1942: A young Japanese American Woman ponders the meaning of                              freedom behind barbed wire.


Week 7            Mid Term Exam


Week 8            Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part I

                        The Social Construction of Difference: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality

1.      Racial Formations

2.      The Ethics of Living Jim Crow

3.      Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege

4.      How Jews Became White Folks

5.      "Night to His Day": The Social Construction of Gender

6.      The Social Construction of Sexuality

7.      The Intervention of Heterosexuality

8.      Masculinity as Homophobia

9.      Disability and the Justification of Inequality n American History

10.  Deconstructing the Underclass

11.  Domination and Subordination


                        Us and Them: A Rose for Charlie

                        1984: A gay man's lifetime of harassment ends on a bridge in Maine.


Week 9            Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part II

                        Understanding Racism, Sexism, Heterosexism, and Class Privilege

                                          12. Defining Racism: "Can We Talk?"

                                          13. On the Nature of Contemporary Prejudice

                                          14. Smells Like Racism

                                          15. Racial Relations Becoming More Complex across Country

                                          16. Racism and Sexism

                                          17. Patriarchy

                                          18. Oppression

                                          19. Homophobia as a Weapon of Sexism

                                          20. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

                                          21. Class in American—2003


                        Article Review due



Week 10          Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part III

                        Discrimination in Everyday Life


                                           22. The Problem: Discrimination

                                           23. Racial Disparities Seen as Pervasive in Juvenile Justice

                                           24. "White" Names Give Job Seekers an Edge

                                           25. Equality at Work Remains Elusive

                                           26. Wal-Martyrs

                                           27. Sex Bias Cited in Vocational Ed

                                           28. EEOC Files Sexual Harassment Suit against Denny's


                        Us and Them: A Rumbling in the Mines

                        1885: Chinese laborers face deadly racial hatred in Wyoming.

                        Us and Them: No Promised Land

                        1838: Tension between early settlers and Mormon newcomers breeds                                       violence on the Missouri frontier.


Week 11          Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part III

                        Discrimination in Everyday Life


                        29. Anti-Muslim Crimes Jump after Sept.11 in Jersey and U. S.

                        30. Asian American Journalist Association Objects to syndicated                                                           Cartoonist's Use of Racist Stereotypes of Asians

                        31. EEOC Sues Arizona Diner for National Origin Bias against Navajos                                                and Other Native Americans

                        32. Poll Finds Latinos Are Objects of Negative Perceptions

                        33. Injured Laborers File $66M: Suing Men Charged in Bias Attacks, 7                                                Groups

                        34. Store Staff Sue Bosses over Abuse

                        35. The Loneliest Athletes

                        36. Attacks on Gays Upset Los Angles Suburb

                        37. When Bias Hits Golf, All Eyes on Tiger

                        38. America's Impossible Dream: A House

                        39. Minority Health Care Found Lacking

                        40. Study Finds the Nation's Public School Districts Are Desegregating by                                            Race

                        41. Colleges Out of Reach for Low-Income Students

                        42. Are America's Schools Leaving Latinas Behind?

                        43. The All-Boy Network: Public Affairs Shows Reflect Shortage of                                         Women in Power

                        44. Despite Some Progress, Minorities Remain in Unseen Presence

                        45. Students Defend Icon That Offends

                        46. The Baby Boy Pay Off


Week 12          Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part IV

                        The Economics of Race, Class, and Gender in the United States


                        47. Imagine a Country—2003

                        48. Number of People Living in Poverty Increases in U.S.

                        49. CEO's New Century: Same Story

                        50. Still at the Periphery: The Economic Status of African Americans

                        51. Being Black, Living in the Red: Wealth Matters

                        52. The Sons Also Rise

                        53. The Wage Gap

                        54. Her Next Step: Growing Numbers of American Women Face                                                         Retirement Financially Insecure

                        55. Billionaire's Ex-Wife Wants $4,400 a Day to Raise Daughter

                        56. The Education of Jessica Rivera

                        57. What Scholars Can Tell Politicians about the Poor?


Week 13          Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part V

                        Many Voices, Many Lives: Some Consequences of Racial, Gender, and                                                Class Inequality


                        58. Census 2000 Shows America's Diversity

                        59. American 2000: A Map of the Mix

                        60. Then Came the War

                        61. Yellow

                        62. Asian American

                        63. Suicide Note

                        64. TV Arabs

                        65. Yes, I Follow Islam, but I'm Not a Terrorist

                        66. The Myth of the Latin Women: I Just Met a Girl Names Maria

                        67. Los Intersticios

                        68. The Circuit

                        69. What I Learned about Jews

                        70. Pigskin, Patriarchy, and Pain

                        71. He Defies You Still: The Memoirs of a Sissy

                        72. With No Immediate Cause

                        73. Requiem for the Champ

                        74. School Shootings and White Denial

                        75. Out of the Closet but Not Out of Middle School

                        76. Her Son/Daughter

                        77. More and More Young Women Choose Surgical "Perfection"

                        78. Finding My Eye-Dentity

                        79. The Case of Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson: Ableism,                                                       Heterosexism, and Sexism

                        80. Lame

                        81. A Farewell Wish: That Women Will Be Heard

                        82. C. P. Ellis


                        Us and Them: Harriet Jacobs Owns Herself

                        1842: A North Carolina slave girl escapes a nightmare and follows her                                       dream to freedom.


                        Publishable Article due


Week 14          Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part VI

                        How It Happened: Race and Gender Issues in U.S. Law

                        83. Indian Tribes: A Continuing Quest for Survival

                        84. An act for Better Ordering and Governing of Negroes and Slaves, South                             Carolina 1712

                        85. The "Three-Fifths Compromise": The United States Constitution,                                         Article I, Section 2

                        86. An Act Prohibiting the Teaching of Slaves to Read

                        87. Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls Convention,                                               1848

                        88. The Anti-Suffragists: Selected Papers, 1852-1887

                        89. People v. Hall, 1854

                        90. Dred Scot v. Sandford, 1857

                        91. The Emancipation Proclamation

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

                        93. The Black Codes

                        94. Bradwell v. Illinois, 1873

                        95. Minor v. Happersett, 1875

                        96. California Constitution, 1876

                        97. Elk v. Wilkins, November 3, 1884

                        98. Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896

                        99. United States Constitution: Nineteenth Amendment (1920)

                        100. Korematsu v. United States, 1944

                        101. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954

                        102. Roe v. Wade, 1973

                        103. The Equal Rights Amendment (Defeated)

                        104. Bower v. Hardwick, 1986

                        105. Lesbian and Gay Rights n Historical Perspective


                        Us and Them: Nightriding with the Klan

                        1981: A troubled Alabama teenager enters the brotherhood of hate.                 


Week 15          Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part VII

                        Maintaining Race, Class, and Gender Hierarchies: Social Control


                        106. Where Bias Begins: The Truth about Stereotypes

                        107. Anti-Gay Stereotypes

                        108. White Lies

                        109. Am I Thin Enough Yet?

                        110. Pulling Train

                        111. Sex and Race: The Analogy of Social Control

                        112. Media Magic: Making Class Invisible

                        113. Masked Racism: Reflection on the Prison Industrial Complex

                        114. Blaming the Victim

                        115. Language, Culture, and Reality


                        Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Part VIII

                        Making a Difference: Social Activism

                        116. Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of                                             Change

                        117. Combating Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racist Acts

                        118. Confronting Anti-Gay Violence

                        119. Rice Shirts Make More Than Fashion Statement

                        120. Sweats and Tears: A Protest Is Sweeping U. S. Campuses to End the                               Use of Sweatshops to Produce College-Endorsed Clothes

                        121. United Students against Sweatshops

                        122. Students Spend Spring Break Protesting Taco Bell

                        123. Narrowing the Income Gap between Rich and Poor

                        124. A Clean Sweep: The SEIU's Organizing Drive for Janitors Shows                                      How Unionization Can Raise Wages

                        125. Recipe for Organizing

                        126. Child of the Americas


                        Us and Them: Out of the Shadows

                        Although this book has focused on our nation's past, it is our present and                                   future that most concern us all.  We can, as Martin Luther King Jr., said,                                    rise up and live out the true meaning of our creed.  But only if we confront

                        the shadows of our past.  Only if we overcome the temptation to deny or                         diminish the humanity of our neighbors.  Only if we affirm that, whatever                         our differences, "We the people" are one.


Week 16          Final Exam





Grading:     Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation.  If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor in a timely manner.  You are expected to present material that is legible and well considered.  While you will be tested over specific course content, you should do well if you read the material and pay attention in class.


Mid-term Exam:  20 %:  Final Comprehensive Exam: 20 %:  Essay "Jail" Letter: 10 %; Article Review Assignment: 20 %; Publishable Article:  20 %; Attendance and Participation: 10 %.

Scoring:       A= 90-100    B= 80-89    C= 70-79    D= 60-69    F= 59-0