I was a child of the 1950’s which was not as simple a decade of “happy days” as people so fondly remember them. The major U. S. problems were the Soviet – U.S. Cold War struggle, the southern resistance to de-segregation that fostered racial divisions and spurred the black Americans northward migration to New York, Newark, Chicago, Detroit and every other Northeast and Midwest industrial city.
I came of age during the 1960’s and was influenced by the civil rights movement and hippies questioning all aspects of American life. Between the impressionable ages
of eleven and twenty-two, I was also a product of the streets of Newark, NJ, which in the 1960’s, was a tribal, industrial city of ethnic majority turfs. The Chancellor Hill – Weequahic section was predominately Jewish, the West Side and North Newark neighborhoods were majority Italian, the South Side and Clinton Hill areas were clustering into a rising black community, and the Ironbound “Down Neck” area was mostly working class Portuguese and Hispanic. Pockets of Anglos, Irish, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Asians and Hispanics were scattered all over the city.
“Down Neck”, located south of the central business district, was the most rooted of all communities – it did not flee to the suburbs after the 1967 Newark riot – it has improved economically, many fine restaurants have opened, and the area is almost a tourist attraction. Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg filmed War of the Worlds there.
As I walked the streets of Newark as a teenager, or used the good Public Service bus transit – which made us independent of our parents – I learned quickly that every ethnic group had leveling, degrading slurs for the others. Some people passing by you on the sidewalk for some reason were compelled to call you a kike, wop, spade, schvartze, spic, chink or gook, mick or polack – these were the more commonly used “fighting words” hurled at you depending on their perception of your origin.
Young people pick up cues referencing the hierarchal economic ordering of religious and ethnic groups in the socio-economic order – higher, middle, and lower. The history and mythology of immigration has traditionally been escaping the lower economic rung for the middle or upper classes – the American Dream. Economic success and security are two of the most valued goals and ethics of the American people – political tensions are created by differing social contracts best designed to facilitate ever wider inclusion.
Degrading slurs were a sign of groups climbing over each other in Darwinian style – no one wanted to lose this contest for getting into better schools and colleges and obtaining higher paying jobs. In the meantime, they had to make do as best they could and find ways to deal and get along with people. The word “diversity” was three decades away.
The broadly viewed rationale for the top to bottom socio-economic pecking order theory was that some groups were less intellectually gifted and academically equipped than others. The apparent conclusion was that poor school performance destined the bottom rung to their location in the economic hierarchy. Life was a zero sum game, for every action there is a reaction, so minority groups pushing upward meant that some one higher in the order was starting their way down the ladder.
Then came the Civil Rights Movement which changed the racial equation – white people were put on notice to cease segregating the black population. Civil Rights bills were passed, enforced, and most white people learned to respect the feelings and sensibilities of black people. The message to all people was that the age of ethnic slurs had given away to one of mutual respect and multi-culturalism. The Afro hairstyle freed other ethnic groups with kinky hair from the Anglo model of short, combed hair, forever parted on the left side.
America has made great progress over the past 50 years – racism is shunned, illegal and often sued in court over. Allegations of it can destroy a successful business and political career over night, witness celebrity chef Paula Deen’s recent experience.
But more progress is needed as our society has again become divided into two very partisan camps. The Republican Party, dominated by Tea Party elements, evangelicals, ultra-conservative groups, has virtually drifted into a national, conservative, white people’s party. The Democrats are increasingly a party for women, liberals, moderates, minorities – Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews – gays and new immigrants.
These two partisan camps have two very different views (social contracts) of America and champion competing visions: Social Darwinism versus the Communitarian Society.
Is the U.S. simply a loose collection of individuals / groups that have minimal association with each other and no responsibility for the well being of others? Or is America a communitarian land with an ethos that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? Am I my brothers’ keep or am I not?
With economic inequality at its worst in a hundred years – the top 1% doubled their portion of national wealth from 23% to 45% (in two decades) and have as much wealth as the poorest 150,000,000 – how is equality championed and well being maintained?
Maybe the time has come for a new civil rights movement that will:
- Resolve the illegal immigration issue and provide a fair, secure border pathway to citizenship
- Cease with resisting “Obama care” and effectively implement an affordable health care system that covers the 30,000,000 left out and improves the quality and cost of existing health care programs for all Americans.
- Improve the state’s educational systems and repair the national infrastructure.
In the meantime, I have provided information and lessons designed to sensitize us to the society we share with 310,000,000 Americans. Hopefully, upon conclusion of the unit, more of us will understand that our similarities far outweigh our differences.
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES / QCC OBJECTIVE 4 (BST-1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 14, QBE-54
4-3: Examine the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism.
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES / QCC OBJECTIVE 5 – Describe the role of patriotism, ethnocentrism, prejudice and stereotyping in the world. (BST-1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 13, 14; QBE-54, 55, AF/AM
5-1: Define and distinguish between patriotism, ethnocentrism, prejudice, and stereotyping
5-2: Associate patriotism, ethnocentrism, prejudice and stereotyping with historical developments – past and present
5-4: Critique patriotism, ethnocentrism, prejudice and stereotyping as major forces in the world community.
GLOBAL PERSEPCTIVES / QCC OBJECTIVE 6 – Examine the conflict between traditionalism and technology (BST-1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 14;QBE-54. 59: AF/AM
6-2: Cite examples of how technology has changed the way we live.
6-3: Examine the need for high technology and organized information systems in society.
6-4: Point out adverse and positives effects of high technology in the world.
6-5: Assess the value of technology over / against traditionalism.
AF/AM: Discuss causes of major ethnic conflicts in the following African nations: Congo, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia.
PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE #1: The student will be shown that:
A- Scientific research supports conclusions that it is virtually impossible to prove any of the racial groups making up the human species to be less intelligent than any other.
B- Individuals who are free of prejudice and tolerant of cultural differences in others may be better equipped to more successfully compete in an interdependent world.
C- Individuals who are infected or contaminated with bigotry, prejudice and/or ethnocentrism may experience difficulty in adapting to an interdependent world.
PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE #2: The student will be able to:
A- Employ accepted scientific data gathering procedures for drawing reasonable conclusions.
B- Utilize scientific data gathering procedures to investigate whether all the races making up the human species are intellectually equal.
C- Read and understand given tables on variables affecting intelligence levels
D- Conclude that it is virtually impossible to prove any one racial group to be less intelligent than another so why bother?
PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE #3: The student will recognize that:
A. An individual or group’s attempting to prove another racial group to be less intelligent than another is questionable, isolating, and perhaps even personally destructive
B. Individuals or group’s believing another person to be less intelligent because they are a member of different or particular racial group making up the human species is a sign of prejudice, bigotry, or ethnocentrism
C. The potential consequences of prejudiced, bigoted, or ethnocentric attitudes -isolation, immoral and pariah status – should work to understand roots / causes of their hatred, and why they may cast negative projections upon other people
D. Individuals infected with hatred or ill feelings towards certain ethnic or minority groups should take steps to purge or expunge all such feelings or beliefs from their selves.
PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE #4: The student will be able / expected to:
A- Investigate why certain nations or cultural groups’ progress may lag behind the development levels of others
B- Identify the various reasons for the limited development of some nations or cultural groups such as poverty, resource barrenness, geographical andcultural isolation.
PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE #5: The student will be evaluated by displaying mastery of ability to:
A- Employ procedures of historiography by debating the validity of two extreme and contrasting viewpoints reflecting the development of American society
B- Analyze and explain the reasons for the different levels of national development of Haiti and the United States.
intellectual equality, racism, bigotry, prejudice, ethnocentrism, scientific method of investigation, sampling, variables / factors, control of variance, affluence, barrenness, geographical isolation, cultural isolation, interaction, humanity, equality, respect, interdependence, historiography.
- Student Handout #9 / #9A – #9 Simplified (30 Factors) / #9A Full (105 Factors)
Tables of Intelligence Variables from Race and Education Across Cultures: G. K.
Verma, C. Bagley, Heinemann’s, London, England, 1975.
- Student Handout #10 – DEBATE: Two contrasting views of U. S. societal development
- Student Handout #11 – CASE STUDY: A comparison of Haitian and U. S. national development.
Unit 3 should take about three to four class periods to complete. All BST – QBE – QCC – AF / AM objectives can be met through discussion of all or related variables and selection of illustrative examples. For instance, the economic gap between white and black Americans has roots in 200 years of slavery, a century of legal segregation and discrimination, and only fifty years of serious reform efforts. Furthermore, the federalization of welfare in 1964 is linked to out of wedlock births rising from 20% to 73% during this period – a result, single parent families generally earn less than two parent families.
Please introduce the unit by discussing with the class the important humanistic goals inherent in the clusters of objectives. Verbally lead students through the defining all concepts until they comprehend them, or can perform the task for homework.
Distribute copies of Student Handout #9 or Student Handout #9A to each student.
Allow some time for students to become familiar with the chart’s generational symbols and its scientific terms. Given the realitles of time and teen attention spans, handout #9, a simplified list of the 30 most basic factors, is recommended. However, since many students frequently learn a lot about themselves from this lesson, please don’t underestimate the class’ ability to rise to the challenge of the full list, and therefore receive the increased benefits to be gained from the longer learning experience.
Teachers are strongly urged to:
A. Be knowledgeable about each variable
B. Guide students to verbally define the variables before resorting to explaining factors for the class
C. Provide real life examples for each variable so that students may become sensitized to how these factors may have influenced their own development
D. Encourage students to share (with class) perceptions of how these variables shaped their personal development
E. Humanize self by sharing with students how some of these factors may have influenced your personal development, or own children, or other family members for that matter.
It is recommended that the following questions be asked to guide the students through handout #9 or 9A.
- According to this chart, how many factors (variables) must scientists take into account in order to prove that one group is less intelligent than another?
- Carefully study each factor. Discuss how each of these factors can affect the eventual intellectual and academic ability of an individual.
- Social scientist Dr. Gahendra Verma hypothesized and concluded that data for at least three generations of families must be researched for an experiment to prove one group less intelligent than another – and to be considered statistically valid. Imagine perceived difficulties of locating accurate records for three generations of black, rural Mississippi farm families, or refugee or immigrant families that entered the country illegally and melted into one of America’s many ethnic neighborhoods. Assess validity of level of data available for either 30 or 105 variables lists over three generations.
- Do you think its possible for scientists to first obtain, then accurately compare all these factors to fairly test a large group of randomly sampled people? Why?
- Can experiments of this nature be helpful to mankind? What might certain individuals do with such evidence?
- List and discuss reasons why a nation or cultural group may not be as technologically, economically, politically, or socially developed as another?
Historiography is the writing of history based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particulars from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of particulars that will stand the test of critical methods. (SOURCE: Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1981).
Student Handout #10: DEBATE: Two Contrasting Views of American Development, is designed to teach students the principles of historiography and critically examine ideas and information. Two extreme views of U. S. historical development (View A and View B) are provided, one reflecting a somewhat sanitized perception, the other perhaps overly dwelling on negative events. Introduce as a homework assignment by asking each student to defend in two or three paragraphs (the next day in class), the view they tend to agree with, and to support this view with at least three legitimate historical references. Also, if they believe A or B to be too extreme, they may support View C, a perception probably somewhere between the other two.
Allow some time for discussion after all presentations have been read and individual views defended. Make sure that:
- Students display tolerance for differing, even extreme viewpoints
- The critical skills of the scientific method of investigation and historiographical analysis and examination have been ingrained
- Admit that A and B were extreme views and discuss the subject until a class consensus forms for what constitutes a centrist perspective?
Student Handout# 11, CASE STUDY: A Comparison of Haitian and American National Development, was designed to:
- Provide an underdeveloped foreign country to critically examine
- Compare Haiti to America because the Caribbean nation is quite near yet very different from the United States.
Introduce handout #11 as homework by assigning it to be read and completed at home. The next day, facilitate discussion by having the class orally answer these questions:
- What historical, political, economic, and cultural factors have impeded Haitian national development?
- How are poverty, lack of education, and technological backwardness linked?
- How do factors such as geographical and cultural isolation, limited raw materials, extreme climatic conditions (hot / cold), and fear of invasion or outside domination impede the development of a culture or nation?
- How can the countries of the world benefit:
- From the sharing of food, knowledge, and technology?
- The spread of culture?
- The trading of goods and services?
- The promise to refrain from war or exploitation?
- A policy of good-will and mutual respect toward all people?
UNIT EVALUATION- ESSAY: A Comparison of Haitian and American National Development. Students are to write and submit a two page essay comparing and describing why the U. S. and Haiti have reached such different levels of national development. The emphasis should be on:
- Size and fertility of land
- Available natural resources and access to raw materials, technology, and capital
- Over or under-populated
- Democratic or autocratic political institutions and traditions,
- Educational development level and literacy rates
- Cultural values and attitudes regarding traditionalism, modernity, and change.
Regarding the AF/AM content objective – provide students with the option of comparing the United States to one of the following African nations – South Africa, Liberia, Kenya or Cameroon. In addition to above factors A – F, also discuss causes of major ethnic conflicts in these African countries and how those conflicts may have impeded national development too.
Simplified List of Intelligence Variables (30)
AIM: To openly dispute the myth that some racial groups making up the human species are more intelligent than others.
FACTORS WHICH MUST BE CONTROLLED IN ANY DEFINITIVE STUDY OF RACE AND INTELLIGENCE BASED ON A LARGE RANDOM SAMPLE OF TEN YEAR OLDS.
GENERATIONAL SYMBOLS: F =Father M =Mother C = Child
PGF = Paternal Grandfather (Father’s Father)
PGM = Paternal Grandmother (Father’s Mother)
MGF = Maternal Grandfather (Mother’s Father)
MGM= Maternal Grandmother (Mother’s Mother)
Family Background Variables
Occupation (PGF, MGF, F, M)
Education (PGF, PGM, MGF, MGM, F, M)
Racial Group (PGF, PGM, MGF, MGM, F, M)
Educational Values (M, F)
Interaction / Communication (M – C, F – C)
School Variables (cont’d.)
Library and Media
Curriculum of School
Weight at Birth
Pre-natal / Post-natal Care Nutrition (0 – 10 Years)
Height / Weight
Motivation Regarding Achievement Separation from M – F
Physical or Psychological Handicaps
Social System Variables
Occupational (Opportunities – Discrimination)
Occupational Values (M, F, C)
Intelligent Behavior Individual Testing
Full List of Intelligence Variables ( 105)
AIM: To openly dispute the myth that some racial groups making up the human
species are more intelligent than others.
FACTORS WHICH MUST BE CONTROLLED IN ANY DEFINITIVE STUDY OF RACE AND INTELLIGENCE BASED ON A LARGE RANDOM SAMPLE OF TEN YEAR OLDS.
GENERATIONAL SYMBOLS: F = Father M = Mother C = Child
PGF =Paternal Grandfather (Father’s Father)
PGM =Paternal Grandmother (Father’s Mother)
MGF = Maternal Grandfather (Mother’s Mother)
MGM = Maternal Grandmother (Mother’s Mother)
Family Background Variables
PGF Racial Group
PGM Racial Group
MGF Racial Group
MGM Racial Group
F Racial Group
M Racial Group
F Occupational Mobility
M Occupational Mobility
F Intelligent Behavior
M Intelligent Behavior
Intactness of Home
Interaction with Kin
M Educational Values
M Speech Code
F Speech Code
M – C Interaction
F – C Interaction
Social Class Mix
Stream of Child
Library and Media
Length of Schooling
Curriculum in Schooling
Variety of Schooling
Hearing and/ or Sight
Febrile Illness 0-2
C. N. S. Illnesses 2-5
Anxiety – Neuroticism
Achievement – Motivation
Self – Esteem
Extraversion – Introversion
Separation from M – F
Low Cognitive Stimulation 0-5
Social System Variables
Ascribed Minority Status
M Occupational Values
F Occupational Values
Sibling Occupational Values
Peer Occupational Values
Rural – Urban Dimensions
Religion – Language
Factor Scores 1 …………. n
Based on: Test Practice
to reduce error
Interpersonal Test Conditions Controlled
DEBATE: Two Contrasting Views of American Societal Development
VIEW A: America is a land of secure borders and friendly neighbors. The U. S. became affluent as a nation of skilled immigrants – free men given boundless opportunities within a big beautiful land full of abundant raw materials. Favorable climates and a location between East – West routes facilitated trade and helped to develop a sophisticated culture. Democratic capitalism flourished and the U.S. became a revolutionary model for the entire world.
VIEW B: Nowhere else did the European white man find a richer and more temperate land to plunder. “Americans” subdued the Indians, robbed the Mexicans of Southwestern lands, and intimidated the Canadians into docility. African slave labor built the agrarian South while selective European immigration formed a permanent factory class for Northern manufacturers – that is until the manufacturers moved their jobs to China and diminished the labor unions.
CASE STUDY: A Comparison of Haiti an and American National Development
HAITI: France colonized the western half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola to grow sugar. African slave labor was imported to plant and cut the cane but was mistreated and revolted. Gen. Toussaint L’Ouverture led the Haitians to victory over the French after which they formed the first black nation in history.
The new government was based on the Napoleonic model, the only political system the Haitians had ever known. Unfortunately, a steady stream of despotic leaders blunted the people’s political and economic development and enriched them selves at the expense of the barren and impoverished agricultural nation. Per capita income in this barely industrialized land of few raw materials is around $1,300 a year making Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Roughly 23% can read or write while less than 5% of the population lives in U. S. type housing, own a car, or receive an advanced education.
Catholicism is the declared major religion though it’s eclipsed by Voodoo (Black Magic). Hopes for a freer and brighter future have stirred with occasional installations of democratically elected presidents and governments that inevitably collapse within a short time. Thousands have fled in small rickety boats to Florida and the Turks and Caicos Islands to escape the often unbearable conditions. The recent earthquake and hurricanes have worsened the misery – the aid from the U. S. and Europe trickle slowly out of the government’s warehouses to the struggling masses.
The American revolutionary model has spread to the far corners of the globe. The market economy the revolution spawned freed men’s energies and ideas to tap a fertile and resource rich continent. Americans developed the wealthiest and mightiest nation and empire in the history of the world.
Furthermore a vital, open, and progressive culture evolved out of the ethics of the Judeo-Christian Western world and the ideals and values of liberal democratic Anglo-Saxon traditions. U. S. per capita income is approximately $42,700 while average annual income for a family of four exceeds $65,000. 56% of all households own their own home and there two cars for every three people. The mean educational attainment level is above 12 years, 40% of all families send one or more children to college, and 28% of all U. S. citizens have earned at least one college degree.
REASONS THAT HINDER A NATION’S GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
KEY QUESTION: How should you, as an American citizen, view a society less fortunate with regard to its historical origins, national development, and supply of natural resources?