One of the reoccurring themes to emerge after the re-election of President Obama is the concept that we live in “a post-racial America.” The suggestion is that race no longer matters, but no matter how you identify yourself, you know from your daily experience – in school, in the classroom, in your life beyond Oakwood – that race still matters. It matters in a personal sense because of the way we define ourselves and the way others define us. In this course, we’ll be watching and discussing films that confront this subject head on – Bamboozled, Do the Right Thing, Grand Torino, Crash, Django Unchained, Fruitvale Station, 12 Years a Slave, Dear White People – to name a few. We’ll have frank discussions, write journals, research our ancestors, engage with guests, and read literature. The focus of these activities will explore the nature of identity in general and race in particular. We’ll reflect on how we arrive at a sense of self, both in the individual and social domains. The course will culminate with each student’s hands-on presentation of a “self-identity project,” expressed in an art form of the student’s choice.
We’d like to embark on this experience with a group dynamic that we don’t normally have at Oakwood. We will attempt to enroll the course with an equal number of students of color and an equal number of white students, breaking the expectations we have (regardless of who we are) upon entering an Oakwood classroom.