SOCI 3422 The Power of an Illusion of The House We Live In Discussion

SOCI 3422 – Racial & Ethnic Minorities


For this assignment, you should watch Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 3 – The House We Live In.

To use the streaming service provided by The University of Memphis, go to (Links to an external site.)

. (Links to an external site.)

You will need to create an account using your credentials. This is a FREE service provided by UofM. You do not need to pay for it! It is basically like Netflix for documentaries, but the university pays for our subscription. Find the University of Memphis from the list of subscribers. Use your email to create your account. Follow the steps promoted by to set up your account.

Then, search for Race: The Power of an Illusion.


You should write your reflection after viewing Episode 3. Prompts to help you with your reflection are on the next page. Reflections should incorporate the knowledge and vocabulary about race you have gained from this class, as well as details from the film. That is, you should take the perspective of a sociologist and use sociological terms from the text in your reflection. Use the prompts on the following page to guide your reflection.

Your reflection should be at least 2 to 3 full pages of text, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides. Write your reflection in paragraph format, not bullet points. Use a standard 12-point font like Arial or Times New Roman. Please be sure to proofread your essay before submitting.

Due by Sunday by 11:59pm CST.

No late work will be accepted.

Upload your completed reflection. Each reflection should be your own original work created specifically for the purposes of this assignment. Your essay will be submitted through the university’s plagiarism software. Reflections written for other classes may not be submitted for credit. Reflections found to be in violation of this policy will receive a zero.

It is your responsibility that the correct file is uploaded. I will only grade the file you upload. Double-check that you upload the correct file. Save your reflection on your computer as something specific to this class and assignment. Do not use any special characters (such as ? # ! $ &) in the file name.

Save your file as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf. Other file types will not be accepted.

Episode Description &

Reflection Prompts:

Race: The Power of an Illusion

Note: You do not have to answer each of these reflection prompts. Just use them to get you thinking. The questions are based on Race: The Power of an Illusion Discussion Guide (2003).

Episode 3 – The House We Live In: The House We Live In asks, if race is not biology, what is it? This episode uncovers how race resides not in nature but in politics, economics and culture. It reveals how our social institutions “make” race by disproportionately channeling resources, power, status and wealth to white people.

Reflection Prompts:

  • What are some ways that race has been used to rationalize inequality?
  • Who was allowed to become a naturalized citizen before 1954 and who wasn’t? What rights and privileges do citizens have that noncitizens don’t have? What were the consequences for those denied citizenship?
  • How did European “ethnics” become white? What changes made this possible?
  • How did federal housing policies institutionalize segregation and wealth disparities?
  • Why do property values go down when a neighborhood changes from white to nonwhite? Who plays a role in this?
  • What happens to measures of racial disparities in places like education and welfare rates when groups of similar income AND wealth are compared?
  • Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum summarizes the impact of institutionalized racial policies like FHA loan practices: “To the child of that parent, it looks like, ‘My father worked hard, bought a house, passed his wealth on to me, made it possible for me to go to school….How come your father didn’t do that?’” How would you answer the child of that privileged parent? How would you explain the situation to the child of the parent who was disadvantaged by government policies?
  • Commenting on the idea that the U.S. is a melting pot, sociologist Eduardo

Bonilla-Silva says, “That melting pot never included people of color. Blacks, Chinese, Puerto Ricans, etc. could not melt 4 into the pot.” Think about the phrase “melting pot”—what does it imply? If this does not appropriately describe the U.S., what phrase would aptly describe the relationship between its various peoples?

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