SOCY 204

Spring 2000

Introduction to Diversity and Pluralism in America


Fred L. Pincus Sara Poggio

Associate Professor of Sociology Assistant Professor of Spanish

Office Hours: Office Hours:

Tuesdays, 2:30-3:30; 6:15-7:00 Tuesdays 12:00-1:00

Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 Thursdays, 5:15-6:00

And by appointment And by appointment

ACIV 353 ACIV 135

X2079 X2109

Issues of diversity and pluralism are of utmost importance in the United States and abroad. Businesses and corporations list these issues among their five top focus areas. Educational institutions at all levels have also been struggling with them. A deeper understanding of pluralism and diversity will enable students to have a better understanding how and why our society acts the way it does--economically, politically and socially. It is also important for students' personal and professional success in the 21st Century.

This course was designed to look specifically at diversity in terms of both social identity and social conflict. We will focus on the areas of race, class, gender and sexual orientation. We will explore how each of these areas is socially constructed rather than being based in biology or natural laws. We will examine the dynamics of privilege and systematic oppression. Finally, we will address ways in which our society can change in order to come closer to the American ideals of equality and democracy.

These issues are all controversial and people's feelings and attitudes are often stronger than their knowledge base. In order to broaden students knowledge and examine attitudes and feelings, the class will be small, interactive, intellectually rigorous and, sometimes, experiential. Regular attendance and class participation is a must! Students will also be expected to complete the weekly reading assignments on time! Students will not have to adopt a particular set of attitudes and beliefs in order to get a good grade, but they must be open to understanding different ways of looking at the world.


Paula S. Rothenberg Race, Class and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study (4th Edition), New York: St. Martins Press, 1998.

(Unless otherwise specified, all readings will be found in the Rothenberg text)



Tatum "Talking About Race, Learning About Racism" (handout)


Introduction (7-12)

Omi and Winant "Racial Formations" (13-22)

Wright "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow" (23-32)

Omi "Racial Identity and the State: The Dilemmas of Classification" (handout)

Gans "Deconstructing the Underclass" (67-73)

Quiz 1 due February 8


Miller "Domination and Subordination" (73-79)

Hubbard "Rethinking Women's Biology" (32-33)

Lorber "The Social Construction of Gender" (33-45)

Messner "Ah, Ya Throw Like a Girl" (46-48)

Sabo "Pigskin, Patriarchy and Pain" (325-328)

Bem "In a Male-Centered World, Female Differences Are Transformed into Female Disadvantages" (48-52)

Hubbard "The Social Construction of Sexuality" (52-55)

Katz "The Invention of Heterosexuality" (55-67)

Horowitz "Homosexuality's Legal Revolution" (handout)

Quiz 2 due February 15


Introduction (81-83)

Foner "Who is an American?" (84-92)

Rubin "Is this a White Country or What?" (92-99)

Sacks "How Jews Became White" (100-113)

Katchiyama "Then Came the War" (277-283)

Tilove "Asian American History Rises above Pitfalls for Trail of Success" (115-118)

Guy "West Indian Girl" (handout )

Quiz 3 due Feburary 22


Portes "Who They Are and Why They Came" (handout )

De Uriarte "Baiting Immigrants: Heartbreak for Latinos" (118-121)

Silko "The Border Patrol State" (121-125)

Cole "Five Myths about Immigration" (125-128)

Brimelow "Alien Nation" (handout )

Cofer "The Myth of the Latin Woman" (292-296)

Poggio "Traveling in the Dark" (handout)

Quiz 4 due February 29


Introduction (130-134)

U.S. Commission "The Problem: Discrimination" (135-145)

Frye "Oppression" (146-149)

Yamoto "Racism: Something About the Subject Makes it Hard to Name" (150-154)

Blauner "Talking Past Each Other: White and Black Languages of Race" (handout)

Quiz 5 due March 7


Sethi "Smells Like Racism" (154-164)

McIntosh "White Privilege" (165-169)

Tilove "Racial Relations Becoming More Complex Across Country" (170-175)

Kotlowitz "Death of a Teenager Widens a Racial Rift Between Two Towns" (175-182)

Gonzolez "Gang Rape" (183-186)

Pharr "Homophobia as a Weapon of Sexism" (565-574)

Quiz 6 due March 14




Snyder "Self-Fulfilling Sterotypes" (452-457)

Moore "Racism in the English Language" (465-474)

Chafe "Sex and Race: The Analogy of Social Control" (475-488)

Hesse-Biber "Am I Thin Enough Yet?" (489-496)

Sanday "Pulling Train" (497-502)

Sadker and Sadker "Failing at Fairness" (503-508)

Quiz 7 due April 4


Avicolli "He Defies You Still: Memoirs of a Sissy" (328-333)

Grisom "The Case of Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson" (346-356)

Mohr "Anti-Gay Stereotypes" (458-464)

Carter "Tracking" (509-510)

Mantsios "Media Magic: Making Class Invisible" (510-518)

Ryan "Blaming the Victim" (519-528)

Jordon "Requium for the Champ" (356-359)

Harrison "How Cultural Values Shape Economic Success" (handout)

Quiz 8 due April 11


Sklar "Imagine a Country" (192-201)

Mantsios "Class in America: Myths and Reality" (202-214)

Cassidy "Who Killed the Middle Class" (215-219)

Johnson "Family Struggles to Make Do after Fall from Middle Class" (220-225)

Quiz 9 due


Schemo Persistent Racial Segregation Mars Suburbs' Green Dream" (228-233)

National Committee on Pay Equity

"The Wage Gap: Myth and Facts" (234-237)

Kaufman "How Workplaces May Look Without Affirmative Action" (238-240)

Lopez "Women Face Glass Walls as Well as Ceilings"(241-242)

Jensen "Welfare: Exploding the Stereotypes" (242-248)

Newman "What Scholars Can Tell Politicians about the Poor" (249-252)

Quiz 10 due April 25


Pincus "The Case for Affirmative Action" (handout)

Beer "Resolute Ignorance: Social Science and Affirmative Action" (handout)

Crawford "Bilingualism in America: A Forgotten Legacy" (handout)

Krashen "Bilingual Education: Arguments for and (Bogus) Arguments Against." (Handout)

Quiz 11 due May 2


Lorde "Age, Race, Class and Sex" (533-539)

Anzaldua "En rapport, In Opposition" (540-545)

Sidel "Toward a More Caring Society" (549-558)

Thompson "A New Vision of Masculinity" (559-565)

Hout and Lucas "Narrowing the Income Gap between Rich and Poor" (574-579)

hooks "Feminism: A Transformational Politic" (579-586)

Angelou "Still I Rise" (586-587)

Piercy "The woman in the ordinary" (588)

Quiz 11 due May 9


MAY 18: EXAM 2


The are four different requirements in the courses: 12 quizzes, 2 exams, 1 journal or book review and attendance/class participation. All of these will be described below.

Take-home quizzes (100 Points) The quizzes are intended to motivate students to do the weekly reading assignments and to evaluate how well the students understand the readings. Therefore, the quizzes will be due before the readings are discussed in class. The three questions for the quiz will always be the same:

1. What is one thing that you learned and/or didn't know before? Explain why this is important.

2. What is one thing that you disagree with and explain why?

3. What is one thing that you didn't understand and explain why?

You must answer all three questions. Each question must be answered from a different reading. In Quiz 1, for example, if you answered the first question using the Wright reading, you must answer the other two questions from other readings. The world limit for each quiz is 300 words, about 100 words per question.

Written answers to the questions, not to exceed 300 words, will be due at the start of class on February 8. NO LATE QUIZZES WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY REASON, INCLUDING ILLNESS, APPOINTMENTS, CAR ACCIDENTS, ETC. STUDENTS MAY NOT HAND IN THE QUIZ IF THEY DID NOT ATTEND THE ENTIRE CLASS ON THE DATE THE QUIZ IS DUE. This same process will be followed each week for the remainder of the semester, except for the weeks of March 28 and May 16.

There will be twelve quizzes during the semester and each will be graded on an pass/unacceptable basis. Acceptable quizzes must 1)discuss at least three of the assigned readings; and 2)provide sufficient detail within the word limit. Students who turn in 10 acceptable quizzes will get an "A+" (100 points) for the quiz section of the course. Nine acceptable quizzes results in a "A" (90 points), eight acceptable quizzes results in a "B" (80 points) and seven acceptable quizzes means a "C" (70 points) and six acceptable quizzes results in a "D" (60 points). Once again, no late quizzes will be accepted for any reason. In addition, students may not hand in the quiz if they do not attend the class that it is due.

Students should plan to hand in Quiz 1 and all subsequent quizzes until the desired grade is reached. Do not wait! For example, if you want an "A+" and begin with Quiz 3, you can theoretically hand in 10 quizzes. However, if you miss class for any reason (illness, car trouble, accidents, work, family emergencies, etc), you will not be able to hand in that week's quiz and you will be eligible to hand in only 9 quizzes rather than the 10 needed for an "A+." Plan ahead! The extra 10 points that you get for handing in 10 quizzes is the closest thing to "extra credit" that exists in the course.

Exams (200 Points) There will be two essay exams in the course. Exam 1 will cover all of the material in the first half of the class and will be given on March 30. Exam 2 will cover the material in the second half of the course and will be given on May 18. Each exam will be worth 100 points.

Book Review (100 Points)

Students must either keep a weekly journal (see below) or read one of the following 4 books:

1. Julia Alvarez How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Plume, 1992.

A novel about the life of a Puerto Rican family in New York City.

2. Fredrico Campell Tijuana: Stories on the Borders. Univ. of California, 199 .

Short stories about Mexican immigrants.

3. Ron Su skind A Hope in the Unseen. Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998.

A poor black inner-city young man gets a scholarship to Brown University and has struggles adjusting.

4. Beverly Tatum "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Conversations About Race. Basic, 1997.

A discussion of the development of black and white racial identity.

Other books that are related to the course can be read, but only with the approval of the instructors.

After reading the book, students must write a 1600-word paper that consists of two separate parts:

1. Summary. What are the main points made by the author? Please be as concrete and comprehensive as possible. (600 words)

2. Comparison With Course Materials. Show how the issues discussed in the book relate to the readings, lectures and films in the course.. Be sure to be as specific, concrete and comprehensive as possible. Formal footnotes are not necessary. If you want to refer to a specific article, simply use the author's name. (1000 words)

The maximum limit for the Book Review is 1600 words. It is due May 9. Late papers will be accepted until May 16 but a 10-point penalty (one full letter grade) will be assessed.

Weekly Journal Given the controversial nature of the course, many students have strong reactions to the course materials. This could involve emotional and/or intellectual reactions. Some students don't like to share all of their reactions with other class members. The Weekly Journal can give you the opportunity to explore these reactions. Each week, the student should make three entries on three different topics:

Entry 1. A comment on one of the readings assigned for that week. Did you like it or dislike and why? Did that reading make you look at things in a different way? This could have some overlap with your quiz.

Entry 2. A comment on something that happened in class that week. Did the instructors or one of your classmates do or say something that you liked or disliked, agreed with or disagreed with?

Entry 3. A comment on something outside of class that has some relevance for what happened inside of class. This could refer to other classes, personal conversations, something in the media, etc. This entry does not have to apply directly to what was going on in class that week.

Each entry should be at least 100 words and not more than 200 words. That means that students will be writing 300-600 words in their journals each week.

Students must make three entries each week. Students should begin on the second week of class (February 1-3). The top of the page for that week should say "February 1-3." This should be followed by the phrase "Entry 1: Readings" and this should be followed by the text of your journal entry. Then, the phrase "Entry 2: Class" should appear, followed by the text. Finally, the phrase "Entry 3: Outside" should appear, followed by the text. Students must have three entries per week for each week of the semester.

Some students love doing this while others hate it; that's why this assignment is not required. Journals will be collected for review on Monday Febrary 22. This will give you a chance to keep the journal for two weeks. We will read the journals and return them with comments. Students can then decide whether they want to keep doing the journal or switch to the book review.

Grades on the journals will be based on several factors.

1. Having three entries each week that pertain to the requirements cited above. Entry 1 should pertain to that week's readings and Entry 2 should pertain to that week's class discussions and lectures. Entry 3 should pertain to an outside event.

2. Thoughtfulness. Does the student seem to be dealing with the course material? Have they thought about at least one reading? Have they paid enough attention in class to react to at least one person? Can they relate the course materials to the outside world?

You do not have to agree with your instructors to be thoughtful. You do have to try to understand what they are saying. You do not have to either agree with or attack your classmates to be thoughtful. You do have to listen to them. Only the instructors will read the journals.

Weekly Journals will be due on May 2. They should be typed, if at all possible. If this presents a problem, please write neatly and use only one side of the page. Late papers will be received until May 9, but a 10-point penalty will be assessed.

Attendance/Participation (100 points) We have designed the course to emphasize interaction between faculty and students as well as interaction among students. Therefore, it is essential that students attend class and participate. Together, this makes up one-fifth of your grade.

Students will be expected to attend regularly, to arrive on time and to stay for the entire class. Attendance will be taken. Coming late, leaving early and wondering in and out is disruptive and shows a lack of courtesy. Students will be allowed three absences without penalty. Beginning with the fourth absence, points will be deducted. Coming late will be counted as one-half of an absence.

Students will be expected to ask questions, make comments and participate in a dialogue. Sometimes this will occur in small groups and sometimes in the context of the whole class. Both quantity and quality of participation is important. The instructors will not permit any single student to dominate the class. Students must be respectful of others; name-calling will not be permitted. It is possible to disagree with what a person says without trying to demolish that person. Students who don't participate will receive lower grades for this part of the course.

Final grade The number of points for each assignment will be added up to determine the student's final grade. There are 500 total points. To get an A, a student will have to get approximately 450 points, which is 90% of the total. The approximate points needed for other grades is as follows: 400 points for a B, 350 points for a C, 350 points for a D.

Pass-Fail Students taking the course on a pass-fail basis must earn at least a "C" to receive the grade of "pass." Students earning a "D" will receive the grade of "fail."

E-mail List All students enrolled in the course will be subscribed to to an e-mail list "inds320." This is a closed list which will permit members of the class to talk to each other via e-mail. It will serve at least two functions. First, instructors will be able to communicate with all students between classes. It's a good idea to check your e-mail once a day. More importantly, students can communicate with each other and with the instructors. Although this is a convenient way to ask questions (e.g., "what will be on the test?), the real purpose is for students to exhange ideas about the course material ouside of class. Perhaps you read something that got you so excited (or upset) that you just couldn't wait for class to get it off of your chest. Perhaps you wanted to say something in class but were afraid to. Or, maybe you didn't get called on. On the other hand, perhaps you thought of something that you should have said but didn't. You may have felt good or bad after the class discussion. In other words, this list is a way to have conversations about the course materials outside of class.

You will receive a message each time someone sends something. If you reply, your message will go to all other students and both instructors. If you want to inititate a message, the address is "" Handle this as you would any other e-mail. If you want to communicate with someone privately, you must send them a personal e-mail outside of the list. All messages in the list go to all members of the list. Hopefully, this will create additional means of communication. Neither of the instructors have tried this before so it is an experiment. It's up to you to make it a successful one.