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ETHS 305 Major Issues in U.S. Race Relations

Will race matter in this millennium? This course explores major issues currently impacting race relations in the United States, such as affirmative action, immigrant education, employment, housing, health and welfare, and so on. This course takes historical and interdisciplinary approaches to help students understand the interrelationship between social structure, public policies, race and ethnicity. Videos and movies are shown as part of class discussion on these issues. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Learning outcomes


  • Analyze major issues affecting race relations in the United States and their contributing factors.
  • Compare similarities and differences of the U.S. experience of the four major racial groups, i.e. African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Latino American with White Americans.
  • Critically examine the meaning of race and how race operates in individual and societal lives.
  • Recognize and assess the interrelationship between social structure, public policies, race, ethnicity and culture.
  • Respectfully engage in classroom and in group discussions consistent with the complexity of the subject of the course and sophistication that are characteristic of upper division courses in a comprehensive university.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.