Aptly titled courses and robust descriptions teach students a valuable lesson in speaking uncomfortable racial truths to white power, argues Ted Thornhill.
Race and Ethnic Relations. Excited? Neither is anyone else. I certainly wasn’t when I took a course by this title as an undergraduate sociology major. And I don’t imagine my students were intrigued by Race Relations, the title of the first race course I taught as a graduate student about a decade ago.
Those courses have titles and descriptions that are about as compelling as particle board furniture instructions. They belie the complex and vital content we teach in them, and they contribute to promoting and buttressing inaccurate beliefs about racial matters. So why do so many of us continue to teach race courses with these types of names? It needn’t be this way.
Aptly titled race courses and robust course descriptions teach students a valuable first lesson in speaking uncomfortable racial truths to white power. They can also serve as powerful searchlights, drawing local, national and even international attention to the white supremacist nature of American society, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, such courses are few and far between. Continue reading “The Politics of Race Course Titles”