Exploring Belonging and Exclusion through Ethnography

bySophia Alvarez


As a United States History teacher, my classes engage with challenging content on war, slavery, segregation, and the genocide of indigenous peoples. Every year, some of my students ask the heart wrenching and obvious question: “Why? Why did people do such horrible things?” I always flounder at this question, because it is an immensely complicated one. Although I teach them that sometimes we have to just sit with not-knowing and anger at injustice, I also want to be able to give my students tools to unpack this question for themselves.

I believe that part of understanding the why has to do with a seemingly human inclination to exclude, and to physically harm, based on arbitrary markers such as race, gender, nationality, and religion. We need to ask the big questions about how exclusion--in all its forms, from systemic racism to bullying in schools--perpetuates injustice and inequity. We also need to ask what it means to be included, to belong, to be part of a community, and how that belonging can be harnessed for justice. Through this unit, I hope for my students to turn that painful question into investigation and empowerment.

My students are already thinking about these issues, already have their own brilliant insights about how society works. As teenagers, they are especially preoccupied with their sense of self and making sure that they are part of the in-group. The answers they come up with about what it means to belong, and why people exclude and hate, will be their own. As an educator, what I can bring to the table is the language, theories, and data to help them think through these issues.

I believe anthropology, the study of human societies in the past and present, is uniquely positioned to help students explore big, abstract questions like “What does it mean to be part of a society or group?,” “What are the causes of human violence?”, “How are we the same and different from each other?”, and “Who am I and where do I belong?” Anthropology not only makes these questions a focus of inquiry, but also makes them concrete through a combination of local examples and global comparison. Consequently, this unit is written for an 11th and 12th grade IB (International Baccalaureate) Social and Cultural Anthropology class. Students will read an ethnography of a gang in Chicago and the urban neighborhood where it operates. This ethnography will be put in conversation with historical context, anthropological concepts and theories, and examples of belonging and exclusion in other places and times.

The central goals for this unit are threefold. First, students will be able to read and engage with a full-length academic monograph. As juniors and seniors in high school, this will be a challenge and will require scaffolds, but it is important that they are exposed to the type of texts many of them will face at the university level. Second, students will be able to apply anthropological concepts to their own social circumstances. I believe that it can be empowering to describe your life in social science terms. For teenagers, particularly teenagers in 2021, particularly teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds, the world can be a very confusing and frightening place. Having the language to explain the historical roots of your family’s economic struggles, describe an incident of discrimination, or discuss why you do not feel that you belong in certain spaces, is immensely empowering. Third, students will explore the factors that impact who belongs to or is excluded from social groups and understand the way that social groupings are constituted through inclusion and exclusion. In short, the goal of this unit is to give students the tools they need to make sense of society.

School Context

I teach at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Booker T. is a historically African American high school founded in 1913 by a remarkable man named Ellis Walker Woods. Born to freed people in Mississippi, Woods migrated to Tulsa after college by walking. He soon founded Booker T. as a school to serve the growing black community known as Black Wall Street. Booker T. survived the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921, as well as other challenges of the Jim Crow period, and came to be known as an excellent school.

Booker T. was integrated in 1973 when it adopted programs designed to incentivize white students to attend. One such program was the International Baccalaureate program in which I will be teaching. The ethical and instructional complexity of the fact that I will be teaching a unit on race and belonging at a historically black school, in a program intended to recruit white students, does not go unnoticed.

Today, Booker T. is a magnet school of about 1300 students. Our demographics are roughly 30% African American, 30% White, 30% Latinx, and 10% other ethnicities, including a sizable and overlapping Native population. My students will be juniors and seniors from all these backgrounds, as well as diverse socioeconomic statuses. About a third of my students will be in the full IB Diploma Program. I hope for this unit to open up conversations about what it means to belong at Booker T. I want to challenge students to think critically about our school, as well as help them feel connected. High school should be a place where they can belong.

Part I: Teaching Ethnography

“Ethnography” refers to the primary research method used by cultural anthropologists (and sometimes sociologists), as well as the written work that they produce. Ethnographic research involves spending months to years in a community. Often called “participant observation,” the ethnographer learns about their field site by observing and participating in events, rituals, and daily life, as well as conducting interviews. The method has also been described as “being there”1 and “deep hanging out.”2 In the 21st century, ethnography also includes video, photography, and combing online platforms and social media.

Ethnographic research is usually focused on a topic of interest, such as gender, race, ritual, or economic systems, though the research focus can change over time. Indeed, ethnography is inherently inductive: anthropologists draw conclusions from their observations rather than, as a scientist, creating scenarios to test a hypothesis. For example, in my own brief ethnographic research in New Orleans as an undergraduate, I attended city hall meetings, volunteered with community organizations, interviewed people I met, spent a lot of time in Facebook groups, and meandered around the city talking to anyone who would talk to me. I came with a vague interest in understanding New Orleanians’ relationship to their city’s physical environment and left with research focused on the role of water management infrastructure.

The term ethnography comes from the roots ethno- meaning “people” or “culture” and -graph, referring to writing on a particular field. Thus, ethnography is literally the process of writing culture. A great deal has been written on this topic,3 but briefly, ethnography is the process of developing an image of the community, arguably even creating a culture, through the process of writing. Most anthropologists today agree that ethnography is not an objective take on a society, but one, limited perspective. The foundational American anthropologist Clifford Geertz wrote that ethnographies are “fictions, in the sense that they are ‘something made’, ‘something fashioned’... not that they are false.”4

So how does all this academic research and theory relate to students and our instruction? Why and how would we teach ethnography to high schoolers? First, ethnography is valuable as a learning method because it recognizes knowledge that is not quantitative and not easily systematized. Much like reading a novel, reading an ethnography challenges students and teachers alike to put themselves in someone else’s world and to think outside the box. Second, students can see themselves in ethnography, even ethnographies of places that are very different from their homes. An ethnography of young women navigating gender norms in Saudi Arabia will resonate with any high schooler trying to understand the social dynamics of adolescence.

Ethnography can also make big, abstract concepts concrete. It is hard for students to understand the idea of “industrialization” in history class, but what if they read an ethnography of a farming community where people start to go to work at the new factory in town? Ethnographies look at individual people and how they are impacted by larger phenomena. In this unit, I hope for ethnography to make history and theoretical abstractions like “belonging” and “identity” more concrete.

Anchor Text

Students will read the ethnography Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago by anthropologist Laurence Ralph. Ralph spent three years in the early 2000s living in Chicago and immersing himself in the “Eastwood” neighborhood, particularly getting to know members of a gang called the “Divine Knights” (both pseudonyms).5 Eastwood is a predominantly African American community and has a very high rate of poverty. The Divine Knights are also representative of these demographics.

Chapter 1 discusses the beginning gentrification of the neighborhood and the role of churches and community organizations in promoting this development. It traces how various groups, including church-going grandmothers, neighborhood pastors, high school students, and gang members, have competing and overlapping visions for the neighborhood. Chapter 2 engages with the historical roots of the Divine Knights as a civil rights organization in the 1960s and competing images of what the gang is and should be today. Chapter 3 talks about the signs of belonging to the gang and the role of hip-hop in the community. Chapter 4 focuses on gang members who have been injured and their anti-violence efforts. Chapter 5 extends that discussion of injury from physical to economic and social injury. Throughout the entire book, Ralph highlights the idea of “renegade dreams,” the everyday resilience and will to thrive among people surviving violence and poverty.

Ralph seems to have a few main objectives in this ethnography. First, he seeks to push back against flat, monolithic narratives of gang violence and the “chaos” of the inner city by making gang members and residents of these communities much more complex and human. Second, Ralph is writing against the theoretical idea that neighborhoods like Eastwood are “socially isolated” or disconnected from the rest of the city.6 Third, Ralph wants to show the resilience and “renegade dreaming” of Eastwood residents, from one woman’s vision of opening a gang history museum to one man’s dream of becoming an anti-violence activist.

Renegade Dreams relates to the concepts of belonging and exclusion in a variety of ways. It discusses the sense of inclusion that gang members feel in their gang and the deep belonging that people in the neighborhood feel when they come together to advocate for their community. These belongings are reinforced through sneaker collections, church meetings, and identification with the history and symbols of the gang. The ethnography also engages with forms of social exclusion, such as systemic racism, incarceration, unemployment, and disability. Ralph acknowledges these very real issues but argues that Eastwood deserves to be seen as included in the mainstream fabric of American society. He writes in the introduction:

“I couldn’t understand Eastwood through the frame of isolation alone. This was because in Eastwood the wider world is perpetually present. Gang members weave in and out of community institutions, like juvenile detention centers; HIV-positive teenagers and drug addicts are connected to government-sponsored churches; and dilapidated houses trigger tax incentives that spark citywide economic investment.”7

Rather than a focus on social exclusion, Ralph instead seeks to highlight the way Eastwood residents declare their right to belong. They “transform injury into another way to dream,” thus declaring that they belong to the community, their city, and their country.8 It is my hope that this theoretical perspective and the rich ethnographic vignettes of Renegade Dreams will be a springboard for students to explore how seeking to belong is part of being human, and to interrogate the role of inclusion and exclusion in perpetuating inequality and violence.

Issues of Ethics and Representation in Ethnography

When teaching ethnography, there is an opportunity and an ethical imperative to teach students about research ethics and representation. There are a number of important questions to ask students, including “Who has power in this situation?” and “Is there the potential for the ethnographer to get involved in morally questionable situations?”  These are important and complex questions with regards to Renegade Dreams since Ralph has power and privilege with regards to his education and access to institutional support, but is also in potentially dangerous situations. This issue of power dynamics based on roles in society is called “positionality.”

There is also the question of what types of criminal activity Ralph may have inadvertently witnessed or heard about while doing his field work, and the need for him to ensure that he does not become complicit in unethical behavior. Moreover, there is always an ethical complexity and potential for manipulation when working with marginalized populations, such as people who are incarcerated or struggle with addiction.

One reason for selecting Renegade Dreams as an anchor text is that Ralph navigates this ethical minefield deftly. “What choices did Ralph make to remain ethical in the field?”, “How did he support the people who were allowing him to work with them?”, and “How is Ralph reflective on his relationship with the Eastwood residents? Is he reflective enough?” would be good questions to pose to students. Anthropologists would call this last question a matter of “reflexivity,” or how ethnographers reflect on decisions in the research process and the relationship with their “interlocutors,” or people with whom they worked. Lastly, it will be important to note to students the problematic origins of anthropology in eugenics and colonialism, discussed more below.

In addition to the ethical questions presented by fieldwork itself, there are issues with regards to representation in writing: how do anthropologists depict their interlocutors? These people have allowed the ethnographer into their private lives, so the ethnographer owes it to their interlocutors to represent them respectfully. This usually involves disguising identities, asking for input on conclusions, and of course, treating them as complex human beings rather than research subjects. For example, Ralph mentions in the preface to Renegade Dreams that he worked with his interlocutors to decide how to represent African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in writing.9

One of the central points of Renegade Dreams has to do with representation: that we need to see gang members as the complex human beings that they are, rather than as an abstract figure of the criminal. Ralph also explicitly discusses issues of representation when he discusses how the gang sees itself. Some gang members see themselves as part of a community solidarity organization more than a drug enterprise.10 Ralph critiques this viewpoint, arguing that drugs are central to the gang today, but takes representations of the gang and gang members as a central object of analysis. It is important that we explain the concept of representation to students, not only to stimulate discussion, but also to help them identify problematic and positive representations in their own lives.

Part II: Perspectives on Belonging and Exclusion

This unit takes a close look at the social classifications that we often take for granted, everything from broad categorizations of race, ethnicity, and nationality, to smaller social groups of the extended family, the street gang, the “cool kids,” the able-bodied, or the friend group. How are these groups created? How is inclusion or exclusion reinforced through systems of power? To which groups or identities do you belong? Historically, how have people been excluded or included based on racial, ethnic, national, religious, or other identities? What can we do when we see exclusion? How can we create belonging? Before we can discuss these with students and help them generate their own inquiry, we need to know what scholars have already said on these issues. The following is a (very) short sampling of the sociological, anthropological, and theoretical perspectives on belonging and exclusion. A more exhaustive survey would take entire tomes; this is just a few thought-provoking approaches inspired by the seminar on “Race, Gender, and Class in Today’s America” in which I participated.

One of the most pertinent contemporary perspectives on the human tendency to exclude is that of Isabel Wilkerson in her book Caste: The Origin of our Discontents. She argues that we can understand systemic racism in the United States through the lens of caste, just as we can understand the Indian caste system or the caste system of Nazi Germany. Wilkerson makes several crucial points. First, she points out that “the hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality, it is about power--which groups have it and which do not. It is about resources--which groups are seen as worthy of them and which are not, who gets to acquire them and who does not. It is about respect, authority and assumptions of competence.”11 In the United States, African Americans are the lower caste that has historically been deprived of power, resources, respect, and authority. Students need to understand that racism is not just about feelings of hatred, but systems of oppression with real-world, material effects.

Wilkerson’s second important point is that “caste and race are neither synonymous nor mutually exclusive.”12 This is where I think Wilkerson is particularly helpful to an anthropology course: she identifies the significance of race, but complicates it through the framing of caste and compares it with other forms of social exclusion based on ethnic heritage or religion. Our students need to understand that the United States’ system of exclusion based on race has parallels in other countries but is fundamentally different from caste systems elsewhere. We need to help them “make the familiar strange,” as a common anthropology aphorism states, not only for the sake of social science, but to show the absolute absurdity of racism.

In a particularly powerful anecdote, Wilkerson describes a conversation with a Nigerian woman who tells her that “there are no black people in Africa,” but rather that it is “only when they come to America that they become black.”13 The racial caste system with which our students are most familiar, which serves a backdrop to the struggles of Eastwood residents in Renegade Dreams—and very likely is a backdrop to our students’ lives too—is not immutable nor even common among human societies.

The opposite of exclusion is inclusion or belonging. Belonging can be created and reinforced in a great many ways, including food, clothing, religion, and communication practices. Here I would like to focus on how ritual and relationships with land can create belonging. These are both important to indigenous people, as described by Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Ritual, or ceremony, “focuses attention so that attention becomes intention. If you stand together and profess a thing before your community, it holds you accountable.”14 Kimmerer is describing the role of ritual for indigenous people, specifically the Thanksgiving Address recited by Native peoples of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, but her statement holds in many contexts. In Renegade Dreams, the Divine Knights recite ritual statements to demonstrate their loyalty to the gang and reinforce their belonging.15 Birthdays, graduations, pep rallies, weddings, and church are among the rituals our students may be familiar with, providing openings to discuss how these rituals reinforce their feelings of belonging.

Relationships with land, which often overlap with ritual, are also critical to belonging. Braiding Sweetgrass describes how, for indigenous people, this relationship with land has been especially important as the basis for their worldview and way of life. Because of that, removing native people from the land, by sending them to residential schools or confining them to reservations, has operated as a mode of social exclusion. In the chapter, “Putting Down Roots,” Kimmerer describes a group of Mohawk people trying to reclaim and replant their land and, in the process, heal from the process of dislocation that occurred when their forebears were sent to the infamous Carlisle Indian School.16 Thus, legacies of social exclusion are combated by laying claim, declaring belonging to the land. While I would contend that indigenous people have a particularly important and deep relationship with land, this also applies to other social groups. In Renegade Dreams, the Divine Knights reinforce their sense of belonging to the gang through contestations over their territory. Other residents of Eastwood declare that they belong by building a museum and trying to protect homes from being destroyed by gentrification. Belonging can be contested, even demanded.

Anthropology as a discipline has long studied belonging and exclusion, though it has not always been discussed in those terms. Early 20th century anthropologists often engaged with how social bonds are constructed through kinship, religion, and economics. To provide just one example, the founding anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowski and Marcel Mauss discussed the role of the “kula ring” gift exchange in parts of Papua New Guinea. The trade of gifts of special value between communities cemented social bonds and created systems of reciprocity.17 This exchange was a form of creating social belonging. Note that the flip side of social belonging is that some people may be reduced in status, excluded, if they fail to participate in the kula ring or similar practice.

Indeed, social groupings are constructed through the delineation of who belongs and who is excluded. This applies to ethnicities, families, gangs, or any other social category. It would not make sense to say “I am a woman” if there were not the possibility of being another gender. It would not make sense to say, “I am American,” if there were not the possibility of being German or Chinese or Mexican. It would not make sense to say, as in Renegade Dreams, “I am a Divine Knight,” if it were not possible to belong to a different gang or be unaffiliated. In anthropological or philosophical terms, we would say that the “I” takes on meaning through “the other.” This is all so obvious as to not be obvious, and that is exactly what anthropology studies.

One additional theory may help students and teachers explore these concepts: the twin ideas of social and cultural capital, most famously articulated by French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu in his book Distinction. Cultural capital, in contrast to economic capital, or money, is the immaterial assets that allow certain people to navigate certain spaces.18 For example, as a college graduate, I have the cultural capital necessary for participating in the Yale National Initiative: I know how to send effective emails, behave appropriately in seminar, and access resources.  Likewise, social capital is the network of people that one knows that enables them to achieve their goals. I was able to participate in this program because I have a network of colleagues who introduced me to the program and encouraged me to apply.

Although social and cultural capital are often discussed with reference to the assets of the elite, it can be applied to any social grouping. In Renegade Dreams, Eastwood residents may not always have the cultural or social capital to comfortably navigate higher education, but they have the cultural and social capital to know how to make demands of city government and how to work with local pastors to achieve their goals. The Divine Knights members work hard to acquire the trendy sneakers that give them cultural capital and status within the gang, and consciously maintain their relationships with community and gang members in order to gain social capital.

The relation here to belonging and exclusion is that social and political capital can be markers of belonging and vehicles to inclusion, while the lack of social and political capital results in one being excluded or being an outsider. This theory concretizes how humans delineate between the in-group and the out-group. For students, this can be very helpful in understanding their own lives and overcoming the teenage sensation that “everyone knows something I don’t.” Why doesn’t the freshman feel like she fits in on the basketball team? Perhaps she doesn’t have the cultural capital, the knowledge of basketball tactics and NBA players and cool shoes, to be able to feel a part of the group. There is good news for the freshman, though: social and cultural capital can, in many cases, be acquired. This is a very important point to mention to students: who belongs and who is excluded changes. Social categories are not set in stone. This is exactly why we can and should hope for class-, race-, and gender-based exclusions to be eradicated from our society.

Social theory is challenging for college students, let alone high schoolers. However, concepts like caste, reciprocity, and social and cultural capital are within reach if we do our jobs as educators to translate them and make them real. Theory should not be the central part of teaching anthropology or sociology to teenagers, but in digestible bites, it can be empowering.

Part III: Historical Context

In addition to the ethnographic and theoretical components of this unit, it is imperative to provide students with historical context. My students will have already taken United States History as 10th graders, but they will need a review and some nudges for how to draw connections between the past and the ethnographic present. This is a summary of some pivotal trends that led predominantly African American urban neighborhoods like Eastwood to face the challenges of unemployment, drug addiction, and violence that they too often face today.

Housing Discrimination

In the first half of the 20th century, the daily hardships of living under the Jim Crow regime, as well as the growing pull of industrial jobs, led six million African Americans to migrate from the South to the North and West. They flocked to cities like Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Chicago. When they arrived, they found many new freedoms and privileges, but equal and quality housing was rarely one of them.19 Through discriminatory government policies and practices such as redlining and mortgage discrimination, black residents were denied the ability to rent or purchase homes in white neighborhoods, forcing even middle and upper class African Americans into often sub-par housing in concentrated neighborhoods.20 This limited many families’ access to economic opportunities in other parts of the city and prevented them from building wealth through home equity, all at a time when white Americans were acquiring massive wealth through federally subsidized mortgages.21

Following the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, many white city residents participated in “white flight” by moving to the suburbs. This further concentrated the residential segregation of America’s cities and, because of racist presumptions of who “deserved” government support, led to systematic disinvestment in city infrastructure and services. “The structural conditions established by 20th century federal policy endure to this day” in urban neighborhoods like Eastwood, where decades of disinvestment and lack of economic opportunity have led to a high concentration of African Americans living in poverty.22

History of Gangs in the United States

This history of disinvestment in urban non-white communities is paralleled by the history of gangs. Gangs first arose on the east coast soon after the American Revolution: they have been a feature of American society since the founding of our nation, but their shape and role has shifted over time.23 In Chicago, the location of Eastwood, and thus the focus of this section, gangs emerged during industrialization in the late 19th century.24 Gangs formed along ethnic lines, among Irish, Polish, Italians and other European immigrant groups.25 These were the same groups that were marginalized and racialized as non-white at the time.

The first significant African American gangs were formed during the 1919 Chicago Race Riot in which “Black males united to confront hostile White gang members who were terrorizing the Black community.”26 This incident of racial violence, as well as the growth of African American gangs in Chicago, mirrors the impact of the Great Migration as it changed the demographics of the Windy City. During this same time, Mexican American gangs formed in Chicago as migration from Mexico increased. These two groups are most publicized in the media today as involved with gangs, because, as Shelden, Tracy, and Brown argue in their book Youth Gangs in American Society, they are currently the “ethnic minority groups that the dominant social class has perceived to be more threatening to social stability.”27 In understanding and teaching about gangs, it is imperative to disentangle the racist stereotypes of Black and Latino gang violence from the realities on the ground.

The global drug trade, while in existence at least since the 19th century, experienced changes in flow, availability, and demand in the late twentieth century, leading gangs in Chicago to become increasingly involved with the drug trade. This was often associated with increased violence.28 Shelden, Tracy, and Brown contend that increased gang involvement with the drug trade is part of the expansion of unregulated capitalism and entrepreneurial values.29 The 1970s and 80s, when this trade increased, was the same period in which there were decreasing opportunities for employment in America's cities, as deindustrialization began. This lack of economic opportunity has led more gang members to remain with the gang into adulthood.30 However, we see in Renegade Dreams that adult gang members have many reasons for retaining their affiliation, from Mr. Otis’s pride in being a part of the gang’s history to Kemo’s desire for profit and a role in his community. Ethnography provides a window into how gang membership is a result of social relationships and sense of belonging, as well as economic imperatives.

The War on Drugs

In June 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs,” and soon after increased the role of federal drug agencies and increased the criminal consequences for using and selling illegal drugs.31 John Ehrlichman, a member of the Nixon administration, later admitted:

“You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”32

Thus, the War on Drugs, in the opinion of its own strategists, was a racist effort, and as intended, it has had outsize effects on African Americans. Over the past few decades, black Americans have received drug convictions and sentences far disproportionate to drug usage and their presence in the population; in fact, 5% of illicit drug users are African American, yet African Americans represent 29% of those arrested and 33% of those incarcerated for drug offenses.33 These disproportionate effects of the drug war on African Americans have led, in part, to the mass incarceration that we see today. The number of people incarcerated rose from roughly 500,000 to 2.2 million between 1980 and 2015, and African Americans are incarcerated at a rate 5 times higher than whites.34 It is important to also note that mass incarceration does not just affect people who are imprisoned, but their families and communities—like those in Eastwood.

The effects of the war on drugs are wildly disproportionate and unhelpful to those who need support with addiction or employment, but it is true that many people in Eastwood struggle with drug use. An epidemiological study of inner city neighborhoods found that first, African-Americans living in six central cities had “low lifetime rates of illicit drug use”; second, there were “higher rates of use of illicit drugs in the past year than the national sample, especially those still living in areas with high rates of poverty”; and third, “reports of heavy drug trafficking were much greater in the inner city areas than in the suburbs.”35 In short, the drug problem in predominantly black, urban communities is both very real and very overblown in the media.

The third finding of that study is reflected in Renegade Dreams. In Eastwood, the Divine Knights gang was originally more of a civil rights and community service organization, but it entered the drug market in the 1980s and 90s. This had appeal in a community where other economic and educational opportunities were limited. The drug trade, with its accompanying problems of addiction, violence, and incarceration, serves as a backdrop to the ethnography. Thus, I believe it is essential that students understand these historical nuances regarding the war on drugs and drug dealing. They need to know about these realities, without perpetuating racist stereotypes and assumptions of criminality that create so much harm.

Politics of Respectability

A major theme in Renegade Dreams is the contestation of who is deemed a good guy versus a troublemaker causing the violence in Eastwood. Gang unaffiliated residents blame the gang, older gang members blame younger gang members, and younger gang members blame other gangs. These various people compete to claim who has a right to speak on behalf of the neighborhood. I want to briefly note the connection between this contestation and the long history of a “politics of respectability” in black communities. This politics of respectability demarcates who is considered “respectable,” or included in the social mainstream.

It originates, in part, from a 19th century civil rights strategy promoted by leaders like Booker T. Washington. Washington argued that if African Americans demonstrated that they were morally, economically, and socially respectable as individuals, it would lead to great rights. Meanwhile, W.E.B. Du Bois promoted the idea of a “talented tenth” of black Americans who would lead the civil rights movement. These ideas, as well as the lived reality for black Americans that they could face criminalization or death if perceived as a troublemaker, led to a politics of respectability. The legacy of this, and shades of it, continue to today. It may be important to provide this historical context to students to help them understand the roots of the internal disagreements among black people in Eastwood.

Anthropology and Racism

In discussing the history of racist policies in the United States, it is essential to also note the role that the discipline of anthropology has played in promoting racism. Some late 19th and early 20th century anthropologists classified human skulls by race and ethnographers divided people into strata of “civilized” and “primitive,” categories of social exclusion rooted in racism. This “research” contributed to the eugenics movement and the racist biological arguments made by proponents of segregation. While some early anthropologists, such as Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas, pushed back against theories of cultural or racial superiority, most early anthropology is laden with racist assumptions about who is included in “civilization” or “society.” In fact, the delineation between sociology and anthropology can trace its roots to these assumptions; sociologists studied “civilized” (code: white) societies, while anthropologists studied “primitive” (code: non-white) societies. Any discussion of ethnography and race requires us to acknowledge and honor this fraught history. We must teach students to question the discipline, even as we teach them its value.

Teaching Strategies

Inquiry-Based Learning

One of the education buzzwords that has gained traction in recent years, inquiry-based learning is quite simply about triggering student curiosity through provocative, real-world questions and allowing students the space and time for investigation.36 Inquiry based learning, like problem-based learning or project-based learning, is focused on making the classroom more student-centered and developing independent learners.37 The International Baccalaureate Program which my anthropology course is designed for has long used an inquiry-based approach. The IB learning process involves “cycles of inquiry, action, and reflection.”38 Indeed, the root of an IB unit plan is “inquiry questions” which help students dig into the content, concepts, and skills that they need to succeed.

My overarching approach for this unit is that I will provide students with inquiry questions, help them generate their own supplemental questions, and use these as drivers for learning and discussion. For example, one model of inquiry-based learning involves a cycle of the three Ds: discovery, discussion, and demonstration.39 For this unit, this cycle could look like reading part of Renegade Dreams and supplemental videos or reading; discussing the texts as a class and helping students ask their own questions; and then providing students with opportunities to deepen their learning, perhaps by giving them an opportunity to do an ethnographic observation on a topic of interest. While there are many ways that inquiry-based learning can be implemented, the central point to keep in mind is that learning should be generated largely from student questions and insights.

Thought, Question, Epiphany Discussion Method

One of the key parts of inquiry learning is discussion, but as all experienced teachers know, facilitating rich discussion is much easier said than done. Since the core of this unit is ethnography, it will be important to provide an effective and clear structure for student discussion that supports rather than detracts from student reading itself. The thought, question, epiphany, or TQE, discussion method can help here.40 With TQE, students are not assessed on teacher-created reading questions, but solely on their participation in discussion. After completing the assigned reading at home or in previous class time, class begins with small group discussion where students generate thoughts, questions, and epiphanies they have regarding the reading. The small groups select two top TQEs that become the basis for a whole class discussion moderated by the teacher, where students are assessed on participation (although alternative assessment can be provided for students who are deeply uncomfortable with contributing). TQE is similar to other discussion methods, but I have found that the framing of “thought, question, epiphany” is uniquely successful in pushing students to share their insights.

Modern Classrooms Project Instructional Model

The content part of the unit plan, including historical background and anthropological theories, will be presented through supplemental readings and instructional videos. Since it is not essential that students receive this information at the same place in the inquiry cycle, nor imperative that they have this material to participate in a discussion of Renegade Dreams, it will be provided in a self-paced format following the Modern Classrooms Project (MCP) instructional model. I used this model for all my classes this past year and it has been transformative in helping me to organize and measure student learning, as well as drive student inquiry into topics of interest. In brief, MCP involves self-paced learning through teacher-created instructional videos and activities; categorization of tasks as Must Do, Should Do, or Aspire to Do; and assessment of mastery checks at the end of each lesson.

For this unit, a lesson on Isabel Wilkerson’s thesis in Caste: The Origin of our Discontents may include an instructional video on the book, a reflection activity where students show how the concept of caste applies or does not apply to Renegade Dreams, an optional reading from Caste, and a mastery check assessing whether they understand Wilkerson’s central argument. In this way, students can supplement their reading of the anchor text without being overwhelmed by the requirements or pace and having flexibility to focus on their own interests. If they do not show mastery, there will be an opportunity to review the concepts with the teacher and in discussion with peers before attempting the mastery check again. In MCP model, students move onto the next lesson when they have shown their understanding on the previous lesson. Consequently, I plan for there to be two parallel structures for this unit: a self-paced lesson structure and a time-sensitive reading schedule. In this way, I hope to accommodate the necessity of having both whole class discussion and differentiated learning.

Social and Emotional Learning

I hope for another education buzzword, social and emotional learning (SEL), to take on genuine meaning in this unit. Since we will engage with the deeply emotional topics of belonging, exclusion, and racism, and since anthropology as a discipline is about our personal and collective relations to society, I believe it is essential to frame this unit around SEL. Moreover, we will be discussing emotionally charged content like gang violence, police brutality, and drug addiction; there must be structures in place to support students and make them feel safe amidst these difficult conversations.

According to CASEL, the main organization for SEL, social and emotional learning involves five key competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.41 In order to cultivate social awareness of how our words in discussion may impact other students, it is important to have clear guidelines for appropriate classroom conversation and to frequently revisit the classroom contract we make at the beginning of the year. We will also use journaling as a processing tool and to promote self-awareness of how we are feeling about the content. Social and emotional learning enables students to feel safe in the classroom, helps them to learn social and emotional skills through anthropology, and leverages their emotional connections to the text and to each other for deeper learning.

Adapting the Unit to a History, ELA, or Sociology Classroom

Very few high schools in the United States offer anthropology. However, this unit can be adapted to a history, English Language Arts (ELA), or sociology course. For a U.S. history class, the emphasis can be placed on the historical context explored above regarding housing discrimination, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration, rather than the abstractions of belonging and exclusion. Renegade Dreams, or excerpts from it, could be used as a link to the 21st century; it is an ethnographic example of how history and past governmental policies continue to impact communities today. Chapter 1, on Development, may be useful here.

For an ELA class, Renegade Dreams could be read in its entirety as an introduction to academic non-fiction or excerpts could be read as exposure to the genre of ethnography. For ELA, it would be helpful to focus on a deep reading of parts of the text and its connections to key themes, such as belonging and exclusion. Ethnography may also provide an opening to talk about how we should discuss and understand people in non-fiction texts versus characters in fiction. It would create opportunities to talk about how authors construct arguments through both examples, as in ethnographic excerpts, and direct argumentation. Chapters 2 and 3 may be most helpful for ELA teachers, since they have rich ethnographic anecdotes. Alternatively, ELA teachers studying a novel about belonging may find Part II of this unit plan helpful as for theoretical and conceptual framing.

This unit is perhaps most easily adapted to a sociology classroom. It would be effective to supplement the ethnographic text, read in full or in part, with quantitative data from the historical periods mentioned and the present. In this way, the unit could become an entry point for discussing how sociologists use a variety of methods and angles to draw conclusions. Renegade Dreams also draws on and responds to a variety of sociological theories, taking quarrel with the “culture of poverty” thesis of past sociologists. For a more advanced sociology classroom, these theories could be explored more deeply than they are in this unit.

Classroom Activities

Activity 1: Providing Historical Context

Objective: Students will be able to explain how government policies and other social factors produced urban communities such as Eastwood in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Description: This lesson will follow the blended learning model from the Modern Classrooms Project. Students will first watch several short instructional videos for their history instruction: one on housing discrimination, one on the war on drugs, and one on economic disinvestment. They will take guided notes as they watch the videos, then complete a cause-and-effect activity linking the historical factors to the phenomena observed by Ralph in Eastwood. After reviewing their notes and completing the practice activity, students will take a mastery check asking them: “With reference to at least two factors, explain how government policies and other social factors produced urban communities such as Eastwood in the latter half of the twentieth century.” Their paragraph response will be assessed for achievement of the objective. If they show understanding, they can move on to the next lesson; if not, they will have an opportunity to discuss with the teacher and revise their response (with no grade penalty). Students who easily master the lesson will have an opportunity to challenge themselves with a bonus (“aspire to do”) activity focusing on historical housing policies in our own city of Tulsa.

Activity 2: Thought, Question, Epiphany Discussion

Objectives:  Students will be able to contribute to a class discussion and demonstrate their understanding of the reading.

Description: This activity is an example of the discussion protocol that I plan to use every week with my students to help them dive into the anchor text, chapter by chapter. The goal of this activity is threefold: first, to help students engage meaningfully with the text, second, to help students practice discussion skills, and third, to assess whether they did the reading. Students will have read the chapter before this activity, either at home or during designated class reading time. The exercise begins by providing students a short amount of silent, independent time to record their thoughts, questions, and epiphanies regarding the text. Sentence stems will be provided for students who struggle with generating ideas. “What surprised you?”, “What confused you?”, “One thing I had never thought about before was…”, “One way the ethnographer was present/not present in this chapter was...” are a few ideas. Next, students are put in groups, assigned or selected, and each person shares their TQEs. The group then selects the “top two” for each category and shares them with the class. Finally, the teacher moderates a whole class discussion of these TQEs. Student reading is assessed very simply: did the student participate to an extent that showed they read critically? If so, a check mark (and a grade) for that week. For a dense academic text, it is important to hear out students’ questions and fill in any gaps of understanding of vocabulary, theory, or concepts. These discussions might turn in a variety of directions, such as to history, to ethics, or to mapping out all the interlocutors in Renegade Dreams, but the TQE format provides a way to start.

Activity 3: Interviews on “Renegade Dreams”

Objective: Students will be able to practice their interviewing skills, form relationships with their classmates, and develop empathy.

Description: As an in-class assignment to help students connect the text to their lives, students will be asked to conduct a short interview with a classmate about their “renegade dreams.” This will require students to first unpack what Ralph means by the phrase and how they would think about it with reference to their own dreams. A short worksheet or graphic organizer can help them structure these thoughts. Then, students build empathy with their classmates by generating interview questions. Some training in interviewing and listening skills needs to be provided before this activity. It would also be helpful to give some example questions, such as, “What do you want to do one day that some people might think is crazy?”, “What is a passion that you have that I might not know about?”, “What would you do if you had a million dollars and you couldn’t do anything ‘practical’ with it?”, and “What do you do that is ‘renegade’?” After students conduct the interview and take notes, they write a short paragraph summing up their classmate’s “renegade dreams.” This could also become a larger class project or discussion where students share out the class’s “renegade dreams.”

Activity 4: Belonging and Exclusion at Our School

Objective: Students will be able to draw connections between the unit and their experiences in high school, as well as develop productive ideas about how we can improve our school.

Description: In this interactive activity, students reflect on where they have experienced or witnessed belonging and exclusion at school. This could follow a discussion of the anchor text, be a stand-alone lesson, or work as a hook activity. It is intended to show the relevance of the unit and give students a sense of ownership over their school. Give students pieces of scrap paper and set up bins, boxes, or hats labeled with sentence stems including, “One time I felt I belonged at school was….”, “One time I felt excluded at school was…”, “One thing we do well as a school to make people feel included is…”, “One thing we can improve is…”, and “One thing that holds us together as a student body is…” Have students write their responses on the scrap paper and then submit them to the bins. This is obviously a vulnerable activity, so it may be best done anonymously, and at a point in the year when trust and class culture has been established. It should also be preceded by a disclaimer about not sharing anything that would be necessary to report, such as harassment, and be willing to speak to the teacher about it if you do choose to share such sensitive information. After submitting to the bins, put students in groups to sort through one bin and identify themes or commonalities. They can record these on chart paper or on the board. Then, as a class, go over the themes and facilitate a whole class discussion about how our school is doing well or needs to improve. Prompt students, in groups, to generate specific ideas or action items that could make our school more inclusive. This could then be shared with the administration or others.

Activity 5: Conducting Ethnographic Fieldwork

Objective: Students will be able to apply their knowledge of anthropological concepts and ethnography to conduct their own abbreviated fieldwork.

Description: This lesson includes part of the “internal assessment” that my Social and Cultural Anthropology students need to complete for the IB. It is an extension of an initial observation students conduct at the beginning of the school year. In this activity, completed over the course of the entire unit, students propose their fieldwork, conduct it, and write a summary of the data. They may choose from several methods, including classic participant observation, interviews, visual anthropology (photography, video), surveys, or life history. It is essential that they connect this fieldwork to a key concept we have studied earlier in the year, or one or more of the key concepts of this unit: belonging, exclusion, identity, power, social relations, race, caste, place, class, gender, etc. Students will be assessed on several criteria. First, does the research method align with the concepts under study? If a student is interested in people’s perception of the role of race in their personal lives, it may make sense to conduct a life history or interviews, whereas if a student is interested in who is excluded at lunch in the cafeteria, it would make more sense to do participant observation. Second, can the student clearly explain the link between what they observed and the concepts? Third, can the student analyze the data (in the form of fieldnotes, transcripts, etc.) and provide insights into its meaning? This activity is the culmination and summative assessment for the entire unit.


Student Reading List

The following is a list of texts that are appropriate for students (11th and 12th graders), while the full annotated bibliography, with suggestions for teachers, is listed below. Aside from the anchor text, it is recommended that short excerpts be assigned, or as in the case of the encyclopedia, simply be available to be referenced.

  • Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago by Laurence Ralph
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology website

Annotated Bibliography

“A Brief Biography of Ellis Walker Woods,” August 27, 2019. https://tulsa.okstate.edu/ewwoods/biography.

Borneman, John, and Abdellah Hammoudi, eds. Being There: The Fieldwork Encounter and the Making of Truth. Berkeley: University of California, 2009.

This book is a collection of essays by renowned anthropologists about conducting fieldwork. They are somewhat dense but engage with some of the key ethical and methodological questions about ethnography. Good for teachers looking for an introduction into some of the major debates in anthropology. The introductory essay is particularly helpful to this end.

Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction. Routledge, 1987. https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674212770.

Bourdieu’s landmark work on social and cultural capital. This is a dense theoretical text and is only recommended for teachers really wanting to understand the nuances of Bourdieu’s theory.

Clifford, James, and Marcus, George. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. University of California Press, 1986.

This seminal work in anthropology sparked a massive debate about the purpose of the discipline and the role of ethnography in elucidating, creating, or obscuring the concept of culture. It is essential reading for teachers of anthropology, but not necessary for other social studies teachers.

“What is SEL?” CASEL. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. 2021. https://casel.org/what-is-sel/.

The CASEL website provides a broad frame for helping teachers think through SEL and its connection to their curriculum, as well as helpful resources about implementing social and emotional learning.

Drug Policy Alliance. “A Brief History of the Drug War.” Accessed July 20, 2021. https://drugpolicy.org/issues/brief-history-drug-war.

Accessible to students and teachers alike, this is a succinct history of the War on Drugs is very helpful in providing context to the politics around drugs referenced in Renegade Dreams.

Economic Policy Institute. “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” Accessed July 20, 2021. https://www.epi.org/publication/the-color-of-law-a-forgotten-history-of-how-our-government-segregated-america/.

This is a brief summary of Richard Rothstein’s Color of Law and its key points.

Ensminger, M. E., Anthony, J. C., & McCord, J. “The inner city and drug use: Initial findings from an epidemiological study.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 48(3), 1997.

Geertz, Clifford. “Deep Hanging Out” The New York Review of Books. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1998/10/22/deep-hanging-out/. ———. The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books, 1973.

Geertz is required reading for anyone teaching anthropology. His 1973 book of essays is probably the most influential work of social anthropology in the last half century. It lays out a framework for thinking about culture and social relations as reading literature, where the underlying meaning is ultimately unknowable, but that shadows of that meaning can be discerned. Read the first essay “Thick Description” and the later essay on the Balinese cock fight. “Deep Hanging Out” is also helpful for more information on the practice and theory of doing ethnography.

Gonzalez, Jennifer. “Deeper Class Discussions with the TQE Method.” Cult of Pedagogy, August 26, 2018. https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/tqe-method/.

Detailed description of the Thought, Question, Epiphany Method, with links to articles from the woman who developed it and helpful images and examples.

Hinton, Jefferey. “Culturally Responsive Inquiry Learning.” Edutopia, July 8, 2021. https://www.edutopia.org/article/culturally-responsive-inquiry-learning.

Howell, James C, and Elizabeth Griffiths. Gangs in America's Communities. 3rd ed. Los Angeles, California: Sage, 2019. 

This is a textbook-like text with information about the history and development of gangs. It has a helpful myth-busting section regarding common misconceptions about gangs.

International Baccalaureate®. “The IB Teaching Style.” Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.ibo.org/benefits/the-ib-teaching-style/.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 2013.

Kimmerer’s book is not a work of anthropology exactly, but a hybrid of science, nature writing, social analysis, history, and creative non-fiction. This excellent and accessible book is recommended for trying to develop an anthropological lens on the world, as well as anyone interested in indigenous studies, reciprocity, and relationships between human and non-humans.

“Kula Ring,” New World Encyclopedia. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Kula_ring.

The Modern Classrooms Project. 2021. https://www.modernclassrooms.org/.

NAACP. “Criminal Justice Fact Sheet,” May 24, 2021. https://naacp.org/resources/criminal-justice-fact-sheet.

Helpful fact sheet for statistics that can inform, and some cases shock, students into the reality of our criminal justice system and the way that it perpetuates systemic racism. These facts are very helpful for contextualizing the incarceration we see in Renegade Dreams.

Ralph, Laurence. Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2014.

The anchor text for this unit, it is discussed in depth in the Part I of the unit.

Rothstein, Stephanie. “Discover, Discuss, Demonstrate: Using Inquiry-Based Learning to Keep Students Engaged.” Edutopia, January 25, 2021. https://www.edutopia.org/article/discover-discuss-demonstrate-using-inquiry-based-learning-keep-students-engaged.

This is a pedagogical article that outlines a feasible way of implementing inquiry-based learning.

Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law. New York: Norton, 2017.

This is an in-depth history of how the government legislated barriers for African Americans and other non-whites, particularly regarding housing. Essential reading for teachers adapting this unit for a United States history class.

Shelden, Randall G, Sharon Tracy, and William Brown. Youth Gangs in American Society. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.

This is also a textbook-like guide unpacking the history and present challenges with youth gangs. It takes a critical view at some of the language used to describe and criticize gang members, while also looking to answers for reducing violence.

Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. Race for Profit. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 2019.

This is a deep dive into the history of housing discrimination in the United States, particularly the barriers to African American home ownership. Very helpful reading for teachers seeking to adapt this unit for a United States history class.

Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents. Waterville, ME: Thorndike, 2021. ———. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. New York: Random House, 2010.

Both of Wilkerson’s books are excellent entries into the history of race in the United States. Caste is more relevant to this unit and would provide interesting theories for sociology or history students to think through when studying racial inequities. The Warmth of Other Suns is a collection of oral histories of the Great Migration and is excellent for use in a U.S. History class or to provide another methodological perspective.

Wolpert-Gawron, Heather. “What the Heck Is Inquiry-Based Learning?” Edutopia, August 11, 2016. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-inquiry-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron.

Appendix on Implementing District Standards

Oklahoma Social Studies Practices

  • 4B. Students will apply critical reading and thinking skills to interpret, evaluate, and respond to a variety of complex texts from historical, ethnic, and global perspectives.
  • 5B. Students will engage in authentic inquiry to acquire, refine, and share knowledge through written presentations related to social studies.

While other practices will be applied in this unit, 4 and 5 are the central practices. Students will achieve practice 4B regarding reading and critically analyzing texts through reading an academic monograph. They will engage with practice 5B by using the inquiry process to plan and conduct their own ethnographic observations.

Oklahoma State Standards for Social Studies

  • US History. 8 The student will analyze the impact of foreign and domestic policies from 1977 to 2001.
  • US History. 9 The student will examine contemporary challenges and successes in meeting the needs of the American citizen and society, 2002 to the present.
  • Sociology. 4 The student will examine how social groups are composed of people who share common characteristics including interests, beliefs, behaviors, and feelings.
  • Sociology. 4.5 Investigate stereotypes of different groups including gangs, generational groups, immigrants, and the homeless.
  • Sociology. 5.1 Analyze the impact of social institutions on individuals, groups, and organizations within society; explain how these institutions transmit the values of society including familial, religious, educational, economic, and political.

Both US History and Sociology standards apply here. Students will achieve US History 8 and 9 by studying the historical context for Ralph’s ethnography. Students will engage with sociology 4 and 5 by exploring the meaning of social groups, how they develop and transmit values and practices, and will critique stereotypes.

IB Social and Cultural Anthropology Assessment Objectives

  • Knowledge and understanding (AO1): Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of anthropological concepts and theories and anthropological research methods and ethics
  • Application and analysis (AO2): Recognize anthropological concepts in ethnographic materials.
  • Synthesis and evaluation (AO3): Compare and contrast characteristics of specific cultures and societies.
  • Selection and use of a variety of skills (AO4): Identify an appropriate context, anthropological concept, and research question for investigation; select and demonstrate the use of methods and skills to gather, present, analyze, interpret, and reflect on ethnographic data.

While reference to the IB Area of Inquiry “Belonging,” students will demonstrate their understanding (AO1) of concepts such as caste, “the other,” belonging, and exclusion. They will show their knowledge of ethnographic research ethics. Students will closely read the text in order to identify concepts in it (AO2) and compare and contrast the society in Eastwood and the U.S. urban context with other places we have studied (AO3). Students will complete parts of their IB internal assessment by identifying anthropological themes to study, conducting fieldwork, and summarizing the data (AO4).


1 Borneman and Hammoudi, Being There.

2 Geertz, “Deep Hanging Out.”

3 Clifford and Marcus, Writing Culture; Borneman and Hammoudi, Being There.

4 Geertz, Interpretation of Cultures.

5 Ralph, Renegade Dreams.

6 Ralph, Renegade Dreams, 14.

7 Ibid.

8 Ralph, Renegade Dreams, 18.

9 Ralph, Renegade Dreams, xix.

10 Ralph, Renegade Dreams, 63.

11 Wilkerson, Caste, 17-18.

12 Wilkerson, Caste, 19.

13 Wilkerson, Caste, 52.

14 Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, 249.

15 Ralph, Renegade Dreams, 25-26.

16 Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, 254-267

17 “Kula Ring,” New World Encyclopedia.

18 Bourdieu, Distinction.

19 Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns.

20 Rothstein, The Color of Law.

21 Taylor, Race for Profit.

22 Economic Policy Institute.

23 Howell and Griffiths, Gangs in America’s Communities, 1.

24 Howell and Griffiths, Gangs in America’s Communities, 5.

25 Ibid.

26 Howell and Griffiths, Gangs in America’s Communities, 6.

27 Shelden, Tracy, and Brown, Youth Gangs, 5.

28 Howell and Griffiths, Gangs in America’s Communities, 7.

29 Shelden, Tracy, and Brown, Youth Gangs, 4.

30 Shelden, Tracy, and Brown, Youth Gangs, 6.

31 “A Brief History of the Drug War,” Drug Policy Alliance.

32 Ibid.

33 “Criminal Justice Fact Sheet,” NAACP.

34 Ibid.

35 Ensminger, Anthony, and McCord, “The Inner City and Drug Use.”

36 Wolpert-Gawron, “What the Heck Is Inquiry-Based Learning?”

37 Hinton, “Culturally Responsive Inquiry Based Learning.”

38 “IB Teaching Style”, IBO.

39 Rothstein, “Discover, Discuss, Demonstrate.”

40 Gonzalez, “Deeper Class Discussions with the TQE Method.”

41 “What is SEL?”, CASEL.

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