Title

Historical Roots of Racism in the USA

Conference Strand

Teaching, Training, and Supervision

Abstract

Through a series of storytelling vignettes, this session presents a history of race and racism in the United States, beginning with the arrival of European settlers to Jamestown. Examination of this history will illuminate current realities of inequality and injustice. Participants will gain greater historical understanding of racism and counselor educators will gain content for teaching cross cultural counseling.

Description

This session will focus on an historical examination of race and racism in the USA. Race as a physical distinction is a specious concept – it seems true, but it isn’t. Race is not about skin color, not about physical features, not about genes. The currently popular online genetic swab testing tells us about our ancestors’ geography, not race. Race was a concept created for power. Understanding the history of “race” is crucial to our understanding of modern racism. Learning objectives of this session include (1) Understanding the history of race and racism in the USA; (2) Understanding the cumulative and lasting impacts of unjust policies and practices; and (3) Presentation of a concrete teaching tool for the development of counselors-in-training in the areas of cultural diversity and white privilege. Through a storytelling-style interactive lecture, I will present key moments in history that are designed to increase participants’ awareness of the development of the social construct of race and of practices and policies that overtly or covertly discriminate(d) on the basis of race. Beginning with the Jamestown settlement in 1607, I will present a chronologic view of race-based historical moments. Some historical events presented will already be relatively widely known such as the marriage of John Rolfe and Pocahantas, the Indian Removal Act, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the constitution’s 13th Amendment. Others will likely be less well known such as the headright system, John Punch, Blumenbach’s racial classification, and USA v. Bhagat Singh Thind. The intent of examining this history is to illuminate the lasting impacts of unjust and inequitable laws, policies, and practices in housing, family income, jobs, education, health care, and more. For educators and counselors to advocate for and on behalf of students and clients, we must understand the depth of racism’s roots in our country.

Evidence

Informing this presentation are the following sources and participants will receive an annotated bibliography of these texts and more.

Higginbotham, A. L. (1980). In the matter of color: Race and the American legal process (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University.

Katznelson, I. (2006). When affirmation action was white: An untold history of racial inequality in twentieth-century America. New York, NY: W. W. Horton.

Kendi, I. X. (2016). Stamped from the beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America. New York, NY: Nation Books.

Painter, N. I. (2011). The history of white people. New York, NY: W. W. Horton.

Racial Equity Institute. (2017, February). Racial Equity Workshop Phase 1: Foundations in Historical and Institutional Racism. Workshop March 2017. Asheville NC.

Rothstein, R. (2018). The color of law: A forgotten history of how our own government segregated America. New York, NY: Liveright.

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Lisen C. Roberts, Ph.D., is an associate professor of counseling and the department head of human services at Western Carolina University.

Location

PARB 128

Start Date

2-8-2019 1:00 PM

End Date

2-8-2019 2:15 PM

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Feb 8th, 1:00 PM Feb 8th, 2:15 PM

Historical Roots of Racism in the USA

PARB 128

Through a series of storytelling vignettes, this session presents a history of race and racism in the United States, beginning with the arrival of European settlers to Jamestown. Examination of this history will illuminate current realities of inequality and injustice. Participants will gain greater historical understanding of racism and counselor educators will gain content for teaching cross cultural counseling.