Sometimes when we think about racism, we think of individual circumstances or actions that we’ve seen or read about. When thinking of police violence against communities of color, we often hear phrases like “one bad apple” or get the idea that there is one person or event that is racist, not that there are racist systems. It’s harder to consider that most American institutions are built on white supremacy.

Before reading the article or watching the video, consider this question:

  1. What is the American Dream? What does it mean to you? Can you point to instances in your own life that prove or disprove this idea?

Please watch the first twenty minutes of this movie, “White Like Me”: (feel free to watch the whole thing if you’d like)

Read this article:

Questions to consider after reading/watching:

  1. Is the American Dream real? Is it available to everyone?
  2. Tim Wise shows that many of the social programs that we take for granted (Social Security, FHA loans, GI Bill) were specifically denied to communities of color. Does that change your opinion of these programs?
  3. The author of the article mentions multiple instances of racial violence and disruption. Before reading the article, were you aware of these events? Does knowing about them change your opinion about the attainment of the American Dream?
  4. When thinking about wealth disparities between people of color and white people, have you ever considered the history of racial violence and systemic racism against communities of color?