Grassroots Democracy: Race, Politics & the American Promise
(POLI, SOSC, & WMST 15)
Nicky Gonzalez Yuen, Instructor
Welcome! This class is a comparative study in social justice, in how people have historically dealt with race and racism in our society, and in how these lessons can be applied to contemporary society.
Our particular focus will be a comparative study of the historical experiences of 4 major racial/ethnic groups in this country: Asians/Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos/Chicanos, and European Americans.
Our central theme this quarter will be the paradoxes that arise among conflicting characteristics in U.S. society. On one hand we are a society marked by equality, democratic politics, and the promise of the American Dream. On the other hand, we also have racism, inequality, exclusion and oppression. How do we understand these conflicting qualities, and more important, how do we create a society that lives up to its highest ideals? In addition, this quarter I will be again attempting to weave into the class various themes regarding environmental sustainability and environmental justice.
The learning method for this class will include traditional academic study, civic engagement field work, and personal exploration. Traditional academic study is vital to have a sound theoretical framework when studying race and culture; civic engagement is important because work in "the field" gives you an opportunity directly to see and engage with real humans dealing with issues of race, racism, and inequality in concrete settings; personal exploration balances these approaches and provides an opportunity to apply your learning directly to your own life and experiences. The combination will give you a richer understanding than any one approach alone.
Please read the class syllabus for details about the course operates.
I hope you will enjoy this class. Please be in touch with me with any questions or concerns you have. Nicky Gonzalez Yuen, Ph.D, JD
Instructor, Political Science Dept.
De Anza College
"If a teacher does not involve himself, his values, his commitments, in the course of discussion, why should the students?"-- Paul D. Wellstone, Professor of Political Science, Community Organizer, United States Senator (1944-2002)