Skin Deep Analyzes: Mark

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Skin Deep Analyzes: Mark
The first character introduced in the documentary Skin Deep is Mark from Boston. Mark has grown up in an almost all white area for most of his life. He describes his father as having dated views on race and this is shown in a scene where he is having dinner with his family. When the topic of race comes up his father goes on a rate about how whites now a days “don’t owe the blacks anything”(Frances,1995). Mark is different than his family in that he spends his free time he sings at a black church, so he is not completely sheltered. Mark in the beginning is pseudo-independent and reintegration phase of white identity.This is because Mark recognizes racism and is reaching out in certain areas, but he stands by his father’s views which are dated racially.
Mark goes through a racial tolerance program and grows in terms of the racial identity phases defined by Beverly Tatum’s book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”. A defining point in Mark’s transformation is towards the end of the film with a student named Brian who is African American. Brian explains how people of all races need to come together and “stick their neck out”(Frances,1995) for each other when it comes to defending each other racially.  Mark has moved into what Tatum has called the Immersion/Emmersion phase. Before he recognized that race is a problem but he was in the pseudo-independent group because he “didn’t quite know what to do about it”(Tatum,2003). Now he has an idea on what to do.
Skin Deep. Dir. Francis Ried. Iris Films, 1995. Videocassette.
 Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic, 2003. Print.

Marks Journey of Racial Development

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In the documentary Skin Deep, an ethnically and culturally diverse group of college students come together to talk about race in America, and the problem of racism.  Mark, a bright italian american student attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, talks about his experiences growing up in an almost completely white neighborhood and thus his struggle with understanding and dealing with the issue of race and all that it ensues upon arriving at college.

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In the book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?” author Beverly Tatum discusses situations like Mark’s and theorizes the different stages of racial development she believes most white people go through. Mark’s situation is a tricky one to place but I believe Tatum would place him as in the “Immersion/emersion” phase, which she describes as past the guilt phase and more into the phase of recognizing “the need to find a more positive self recognition” (Tatum, p. 107).  While Mark does discuss the guilt he initially felt when he realized his white privilege, at the point the documentary was filmed he has decided not to see his everyday experiences in a light of “assumed superiority or inferiority” (Tatum) where he constantly feels white guilt. Instead it seems Mark has acknowledged his privilege and has moved on and is now in a stage of coming to terms with his own ethnic identity and not feeling guilt. When Mark joined a gospel choir that was predominately black, he talks about how he initially felt uncomfortable and starting feeling “white guilt” as Tatum would put it.  However he shows that he has moved on into the immersion stage of racial development when he discusses how he got over these feelings and started to just see his experiences with race/ in the choir through a new light. “After a while I realized… Its just getting to sing, doing something i like to do with other people that are different then me but just like to do the same thing”(Skin Deep, Mark, 13:30).


Works Cited

Reid, Frances, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, Stephen McCarthy, Deborah Hoffmann, and Mary Watkins. Skin Deep. Berkeley, CA: Iris Films, 1995.

Tatum, Beverly D. “why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations About Race. New York: BasicBooks, 1999. Print.

Analysis of Brian Allen

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Will Sleeper


Color and Money

Exercise E: Analysis of Brian Allen

            In the film Skin Deep, Brian Allen is a black student at UMass-Amherst who finds the environment at the school a lot different than the high school he attended. Brian mentions that he had many white friends in previous years of school, but he has stuck with people of his own race at UMass. Brian commented on the change for him andproceeded to say, “I couldn’t really have as many interracial relationships. I tried if it happened, but I never really initiated them” (Reid et al, 18:54).Tatum would most likely say Brain falls into the immersion/emersion phase, which she classifies as, “a strong desire to surround oneself with symbols of one’s racial identity, and actively seek out opportunities to learn about one’s own history and culture with the support of same-race peers “(Tatum, 76). Brian mentions he surrounds himself with those of his own race at UMass, but action is the key for success. In talking to a white student later in the film, Brian says, “Come to a black function and even if they question you for being there, stay there, your life has to become an action” (Reid et al, 48:31). At a school with not too many black students, Brian feels the need to associate himself with individuals of his race, who have similar experiences to him. While Brian generally surrounds himself with other blacks, at the end of the film you can see him beginning to fall into the internalization stage, as he speaks out about ‘action’, and his willingness to become friends with opposite race individuals in the group discussion. Brian is an interesting character who is coping with the transition and changes from high school to college and is curious about the changes that can be made.

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 3.49.41 PM


Works Cited:

Skin Deep. By Frances Reid, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, and Stephen         McCarthy. Iris Films, 1995. Videocassette.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”:   And Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic, 2003. Print.

Exercise E- Dane

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Among all of the White students, Dane is one intriguing factor. He makes a quite significant jump in his developmental stages. Before coming to the event, he is in the disintegration stage. The evidence is that he admits he and his friends used the word “nigger” at a little name calling event, but “nobody openly admits it. No body” (Reid et al, 22:21). Thus, he is well aware of racism and he knows that he benefits from it because he knows he will never be called “nigger”. This is paired with the disintegration stage in Tatum’s book, which is “marked by a growing awareness of racism and white privilege as a result of personal encounters in which the social significance of race is made visible”(Tatum, 96).Dan Ray 2

On the first day of the camp, after listening to many opinions from other students from different racial backgrounds, Dane states that “I’m responsible for my action. Ok?” (Reid et al, 24.53), but he claims that “there is no way I can step back and correct that” (Reid et al, 25.14). His voice sounds discomfort and angry. His statement and his voice suggest that he wants the students of color to view him as an individual and not to judge him just because he is White. Tatum would interpret this as reintegration stage, as one source of the discomfort that Whites have in this stage is “from the frustration of being seen as a group member, rather than as an individual”, (Tatum, 102).

In the end of the camp, Dane appears to be at pseudo-independent stage. He talks to one black girl and really listens to her story about her dad watching his friend dying on Christmas. He also expresses his guilty feeling toward one of his friend, Carlos, “I would never take my friend Carlos to my grandparents’ house, and you know it’s difficult, because I go over to his grandparents’ house all the time” (Reid et al, 45:17). This demonstrates that he recognizes the problem of racism and he attempts to associate with the people of color. However, he does not seem like he know what what to do to improve racial problems. Therefore, it is undoubted that he is at pseudo-independent stage.


                                                                 Work Cited:

1) Reid, Frances, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, Stephen McCarthy, Deborah Hoffmann, and Mary Watkins. Skin Deep. Berkeley, CA: Iris Films, 1995.

2) Beverly Daniel Tatum. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?Basic Books, 2003.

FYSM Exercise E

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Vincent Ye

Professor Dougherty


October 19, 2013

The students from Skin Deep can be taken as a perfect example of the five developmental stages defined by Beverly Tatum regarding the issue of racism prevalent across the country and in academic institutions specifically.  Their mingling and day to day interactional experience is a perfect example of Pre-encounter, Encounter and Emersion because as much as they like being around they have to face the facts in a hard way.  Although a very few reach the stage of Internalization-Commitment because of the changing behavior and awareness regarding the issue of racism being raised by white students in different universities.  However, it is quite evident that they move between these stages depending on the conditions and environment they are faced with.   Tatum (34) states that the students are adapting to “what is means to be a group targeted by racism.”  They feel the discrimination and segregation in one way or the other and most of them feel like that. But the reality is that they have been exposed to these problems differently.

The character of Dane (Texas A & M) perfectly fits in the more than one developmental stages explained by Tatum.  Though the severity in his condition cannot be compared with the usual cases but there is a strong affiliation and connection present with the race which implies the fact that his personality is mostly developed by the stages of pre-encounter, encounter and emersion.   As per the video, “We really had to pull together. I cannot bridge between the two worlds…  I am definitely gonna be with my people because they have always been there for me.  I could not have interracial friendships”.    There is a strong feeling to overcome the barriers and be a part of the overall group yet there are psychological barriers which are there in the first place because of lack of interaction between the two groups.

excerise e

Is He Comfortable in His Own Skin?

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Is He Comfortable in His Own Skin?

The ability to not only accept the history of ones race, but also take on the obligation to paint the view of one’s race in a positive light, is extremely complicated for a minority student in America; especially a Black one.

Gordon, a student at the University of California-Berkley, is one example of a student immersed in a stage of racial identification defined in Beverly Tatum’s work Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria.

Gordon begins his place in the film Skin Deep with: “All they want to see is that they admit “X” amount of Blacks, Latinos, so on and so forth. After that they don’t care about you… There are no support groups,” (16:20). He’s at a stage where the struggle of being a black human being is real. However, despite this, he is determined to beat the odds, not only for himself, but in order to make known the struggle to the world.

Gordon at Graduation
Gordon at Graduation

The transformation Gordon made, even just during the film proves that he belongs in the fourth stage because he has expressed the will to “establish meaningful relationships across group boundaries with others, including Whites, who are respectful of this new self-definition,” (Tatum 76). Gordon hasn’t quite made it to the fifth stage because it doesn’t seem like he’s “found ways to translate a personal sense of racial identity into ongoing action expressing a sense of commitment to the concerns of Blacks as a group,” (Tatum 76).

During the discussions one point that was made repeatedly was that students couldn’t make up for what their ancestors did. Though justified, Gordon changes the view and sets the stage for the opening up of raw feelings when he says, “Things are happening now. Slavery still exists.” (26:00)



Works Cited

Reid, Frances, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, Stephen McCarthy, Deborah Hoffmann, and Mary Watkins. Skin Deep. Berkeley, CA: Iris Films, 1995.

Tatum, Beverly D. “why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations About Race. New York: BasicBooks, 1999. Print.


Mark’s Racial Wake Up Call

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Mark, a young white student attending University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is dealing with a lot of changing perspectives in his life, primarily the change in racial demographics of his fellow students at his university. Up until this point, Mark had not been exposed to many other races other than his own, white. In her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, Beverly Daniel Tatum argues that there are different stages of racial development and growth. Tatum would believe that Mark is in the racial development stage called “Pseudo independent” —in which the individual begins to feel guilty for ones racial identity. This individual recognizes the problem of racism and knows that he/she is systematically advantaged in this society and attempts to associate with people of color (Tatum p. 106). Tatum would argue that Mark is in the stage because he is making an effort to get to know people of other races, like in the gospel choir.


Mark Singing In His Gospel Choir (Skin Deep minute 13)
Mark Singing In His Gospel Choir (Skin Deep minute 13)

Mark enjoys singing in a church choir; he was given the opportunity to join a gospel choir, in which he is one of the only white members. Mark is associating himself with another race beginning to empathize with them and realize how difficult it must be to be a minority in a large group. The scene in the movie “Skin Deep”, with the gospel choir is key because Mark explains how his opinions and views are evolving as a result of being a member of this choir. “The first time I was there I really felt uncomfortable. Obviously there were all African-American people there that I felt like I had nothing in common with… the major thing I realized was that that must be how they feel in my school when there’s only two other black people” (Skin Deep minute 13). However, his views are really only changing in the context of the gospel choir, not as a whole, at least not yet. Mark’s racial identity development will continue to evolve, especially during college when he is exposed to a much more racially and ethnically diverse student body and atmosphere.




Works Cited



Reid, Frances, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, Stephen McCarthy, Deborah Hoffmann, and Mary Watkins. Skin Deep. Berkeley, CA: Iris Films, 1995.


Tatum, Beverly D. “why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race”New York: BasicBooks, 1999. Print.


Exercise E

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Exercise: E

Dane Ray is a student of Texas A&M, from Texas. If Tatum watched Dane talking in “Skin Deep” video, she would place him as in the “internalization” stage among those five Cross stages. It is at this point that one begins to develop racial pride and a sense of security, which establishes “meaningful relationships across group boundaries” (Tatum, 76). Dane clearly shows his pride of his family (racial group) and his race (white). He says, “My family, who I am… We are white. I am proud of my family. And I am going to be proud of my family because they are my family, and they make me who I am” (Skin Deep, 31:11). He later seems offended when others were having negative opinions against white race. He could relatively easily develop his racial identity early because he has grown up in the white town, and has not had many contacts with other non-white races. Tatum would put Dane Ray on the internalization stage.



Screenshot (5)




Tatum, Beverly Daniel. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic, 1997. Print.


“Skin Deep.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.

Skin Deep- Tammy

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Elise Ogden

FYSM Exercise E


In the film Skin Deep, Tammy, the white student at Texas A&M, shows key signs of the pseudo-independent stage of white racial development. According to Beverly Tatum, author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?”, in the pseudo-independent stage “the pseudo-independent individual has an intellectual understanding of racism as a system of advantage, but doesn’t quite know what to do about it. Self-conscious and guilty about one’s own Whiteness, the individual often desires to escape it by associating with people of color” (Tatum 106). In Skin Deep, Tammy discusses how she tries to reach out to the African American community at Texas A&M: “I wanted to have more contact with the African American students on our campus… so I joined black awareness committee for the social thing because right now my group of friends isn’t very diverse and I felt like maybe I would take the first step and maybe they would join some of ours [organizations]” (20:38-21:00). Like Tatum’s pseudo-independent individual, she wanted to be able to understand the African American community at her school. After the conference, Tammy acknowledges the advantages she receives because she is white: “I’ve come to realize that if I work hard for something I’m assured most of the time that I’m gonna get it… I’ve come to realize that for some other cultures in our society that’s not true a lot of the time and they have to work twice as hard and there’s people there telling them that they can’t do that” (32:02-32:25). Later, when she talks to Dane, she tells him that although creating a dialogue about race is difficult, it’s necessary because “if you’re not trying to make the change then you’re just accepting it and letting it go on.”

 Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 3.18.20 PM

Tammy wants to change the system, and she is trying to convince others of that fact. Based on the film, Tammy is in the pseudo-independent stage of her racial development.


Works Cited

Reid, Frances, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, Stephen McCarthy, Deborah Hoffmann, and Mary Watkins. Skin Deep. Berkeley, CA: Iris Films, 1995.

Tatum, Beverly D. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations About Race. New York: BasicBooks, 1999. Print.

Exercise: Tatum and Skin Deep

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Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 3.18.17 PM
Tammy trying to tell her peers that she is an individual and she does not like when people judge her based on her skin color, when she actively tries to not judge people based on theirs.

Growing up, Tammy never really considered the idea of racism. She grew up in a small neighborhood, the majority of people being white. Similarly to the “Contact” stage defined by Tatum as having the feeling of “I’m just normal” in her work, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”, it was typical for Tammy to be surrounded by white people as a child and she was barely exposed to cultural and racial differences until she arrived at college (Tatum 93). In the beginning of the documentary, she openly admits, “I never really experienced how other people lived” confirming the idea that although she lived in an all white neighborhood, she was aware of her non-diverse childhood (Skin Deep 8:25). Despite her homogeneous upbringing, Tammy has been open to all cultures and races during her college experience and thus would be placed somewhere in the pseudo-independent stage by Tatum. She has become more aware of surrounding racism and the societal advantages she, as a white person, has. With contrasting views of her parents, she is actively trying change and open herself up to knew and at times, uncomfortable situations and ideas. During the final discussion, she states firmly to the group, “I’m an individual and I refuse to validate anyone who wants to judge me on the basis of my skin color,” displaying her openness to all different races and cultures (Skin Deep 27:44). That being said, Tammy struggles with taking action against the undeniable racism in American society and with the guilt that there is such advantages (Tatum 106). Tatum describes a person at this stage as having a “desire to escape” this guilt “by associating with people of color,” which is what Tammy attempts to do during the retreat with all of the different college students (Tatum 106).

Works Cited

Skin Deep. By Frances Reid, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, and Stephen McCarthy. Iris Films, 1995. Videocassette.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? New York: Basic, 1999. Print.

Exercise E – Tammy

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How would Beverly Tatum interpret the students from Skin Deep? What stage (or stages) would she place them in?

Tammy from the film Skin Deep is a white female who has a strong position against racism. Based on Beverly Tatum’s book “Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?”, Tammy would be placed in between the inmersion/emersion stage and the autonomy stage in Helms’s model because she embraces and understands her White identity and use those feelings to work against racism, while she leaves behind her feeling of guilt and embarrassment (Tatum 94-95)

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 1.10.38 PM

In the video she also says to the other members of the group: “I’m afraid of being judged just because of the color of my skin, she’s white, she’s probably racist” (Reid et al, 03:22) and “I’m an individual” (Reid et al, 27:44). These statements prove how she is still struggling with embracing her white identity and the privileges that it implies and thus is in the inmersion/emersion stage.

Tammy also says: “I wanted to have more contact with the African American students on campus and understand the issues they are facing and so I joined black awareness committee, one for the social thing because right now my group of friends isn’t very diverse and I felt like maybe I would take the first step and maybe they’ll take a step and join some of our organizations” (Reid et al, 20:24). This quote from Tammy shows how she is taking a step towards helping stop racism in her every day life, and this would be consider an action taken by someone in the autonomy stage. Although she acknowledges the benefits that she has based on the color of her skin, she has left behind racism and is working towards eliminating “institutional and cultural racism” (Tatum 94-95).


Reid, Frances, et al., dirs. Skin deep. Iris Film, 1996. Film.

Tatum, Beverly. Why are all the black kid sitting together in the cafeteria?. New York: Basic Books, 1997. 94-95. Print.

Exercise E: Brian Allen

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Having arrived from an integrated high school in a black neighborhood, Brian Allen is startled to find that he is one of few Black students on his university campus.  Despite having had many White friends in high school, the discomfort he feels as a minority in college, which he expresses in the 1986 documentary Skin Deep, leads him to surround himself with people of his own race with whom he feels understood.  Brian explains, “Coming to a school where there’s not a lot of other minorities, we sort of had to pull together” (Skin Deep, 18:26).

Initially, it is clear that Brian Allen is in the immersion/emersion phase of racial identity development.  It is a phase Beverly Daniel Tatum describes in her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, as a period characterized by a, “strong desire to surround oneself with symbols of one’s racial identity, and actively seek out… the support of same-race peers” (Tatum, page 76).  Brian presents himself as a young man who, after having encountered both overt and covert racism, feels the need to surround himself with people who share his experiences and can provide him the support he needs as he continues to explore his racial identity.

However, by the end of the documentary"You have to Interact, 365 days a year..." Brian is clearly entering the internalization phase, described by Tatum as a sense of security about one’s racial identity, or a willingness to transcend racial lines and commit to the concerns of one’s racial group (Tatum, 76).  Brian’s participation in the documentary itself is a testament to his desire to transcend racial boundaries, and he tells the group on the final night that to combat racism, “you have to interact [with other races]… wake up with the idea that, yo, this has got to end… and don’t believe in the stereotypes” (Skin Deep, 48:30). Brian is a fascinating example of youth navigating and developing racial identity.   


Works Cited

Skin Deep. Dir. Fraces Reid. Iris Films, 1986. Videocassette. Trinflix. Trinity College. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic, 2003. Print.

Tammy and her developmental stages

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Tammy just before she talks about how she wants to be considered an individual. (6:06)
Tammy just before she talks about how she wants to be considered an individual. (6:06)

Tammy a white student who goes to Texas A&M discusses her experience with being a white female. One of the initial things we learn about Tammy is that she does not believe race matters but her family disagrees with this fact. She tells the story of when she was younger and had a crush on a boy. When she pointed him out to her mum her mum said, “you know he is Mexican and you know I was like I guess he is but I had always seen him as just another boy” (6:06-6:35). Tatum would classify this stage as “disintegration, [which] is marked by a growing awareness of racism and white privilege as a result of personal encounters in which the social significance of race is made visible”(Tatum 96). Before this moment Tammy might have been aware of racism but it had never been so explicit. She sees the direct affects of racism on people’s lives.

At the conference Tammy is seen in a different stage. She talks about how she wants to be considered as an individual not as a group member, which Tatum considers the reintegration stage. Part of the reintegration stage is blaming the victim and feeling uncomfortable “being seen as a group member, rather than an individual” (Tatum 102) Tammy does not fall under the category of blaming the victim but she does say I am an individual and does not like when other participants generalize about white people. There is evidence of progress for Tammy through the learning stages and at the end she seems close to the Pseudo-independent stage and is seen socializing with all members of different races and is understanding her systematic advantages.







Skin Deep. Dir. Francis Reid. Iris Films, 1995.


Tatum, Beverly Daniel. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic, 1997. Print.

Kahn in “Skin Deep”

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From the short film “Skin Deep”, I analyzed Kahn. I believe Beverly Tatum, Ph.D would categorize Asian American Kahn as being in the immersion/emersion stage of his life (Tatum, 76). In the film, Kahn stated the following: “White people are very affected by internalized racism just as much as people of color are…growing up in this society I was taught to hate myself and I did hate myself, and I’m trying to deal with it. If you’re a white person you’ve got to know…you were taught to think you’re better because you’re white…” (“Skin Deep”). Tatum might conclude that Kahn is in the third stage because he stated that he “did” hate himself and is “trying to deal with it”–suggesting that he is now concentrating on developing a better self image.

Tatum suggests that “in many ways, the person at [this stage] is unlearning the internalized stereotypes about his or her own group and is redefining a positive sense of self…This is not to say that anger is totally absent, but that the focus…is on self discovery rather than on White people” (76).

Don explaining how internalized racism affects both him and Whites. Time: 26:13
Kahn explaining how internalized racism affects both him and Whites.
Time: 26:13

The tone of his voice throughout the entire excerpt suggests that there is still some resentment and, possibly, feelings of anger lingering within him. However, Kahn is obviously progressing out of that angry place, and embracing the immersion/emersion stage.

Daniel Tatum, Beverly, PH.D. “Chapter 5.” Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? New York: Basic, 1999. 76. Print.

Skin Deep. Dir. Francis Reid. Perf. Mark M., Bryan A, and Don J. Berkeley, CA : Iris Films, ©1995., 1995. Videocassette.


Analysis of Brian Allen

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Analysis of Brian AllenScreen Shot 2013-10-18 at 12.07.22 AM

Brian Allen, from the 1986 film, Skin Deep, appears to be at a very interesting place with his racial identity. He doesn’t exemplify strong hate towards the white race, acknowledges that not all white people are racist, and states that he has no problem having friendships with white people. However, at the same, Brian seems to be upset with the system, which he feels has made blacks be viewed as lesser than whites. Brian states, “If it ever came down to a choice between being black or spreading out I’d stick with my own people” (Reid et al, 18:30.). This paired with the statement made that “we all gonna work together or we gonna die” (Reid et al, 48:15), shows that Brian displays signs of being in both an immersion phase and an internalization phase in his racial identity development. Author Beverly Tatum describes the immersion phase in her book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: “In many ways, the person at the immersion/emersion phase is unlearning the internalized sterotypes about his or her own group and is redefining a positive sense of self” (Tatum, p.76). Brian shows his positive sense of self by stating he would much rather stick with his people if there were ever separation. Tatum then explains the internalization stage by saying a person “is willing to establish meaningful relationships across group boundaries” (Tatum, p.76). Brian demonstrates this behavior by saying he wants to work together with white people and he has had relationships with some white people at his school (Reid et al, 18:00). All in all, Brian Allen is a fascinating character in a interesting developmental stage with his racial identity.




Reid, Frances et al. Skin deep. Berkeley, CA: Iris Films, 1995. Film.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations About Race. New York: BasicBooks, 1999. Print.


Sample essay title goes here

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If you’re a currently a member of a college faculty, it’s very likely that you came into the profession, or adjusted more than a decade ago, to using conventional word processing tools. Today, on many campuses, the most common writing implement is Microsoft Word, which prevailed over competitors such as WordStar, WordPerfect, and MacWrite during the 1980s and 1990s. Word can be a wonderful tool, which I still rely upon when drafting much of my single-author scholarship. But around 2010 I began to realize how most of my writing assignments were framed by what Word could do, and therefore limited by its constraints. Asking students to collaboratively author an essay, or simultaneously peer review each others’ work, or publish directly to the web raised many challenges because our primary word processing tool was not designed to teach this way.

But the recent wave of networked writing tools — such as wikis, Google Docs, and web publishing platforms — have nudged more of us to rethink not only what is possible, but to reconsider the most preferable ways of integrating meaningful writing into a liberal arts education. For years we’ve told ourselves that it’s the writing that mattersnot the technology, which was a comfortable stance. But what’s changed is that newer web technologies challenge our traditional norms of what types of writing matter. Think about the philosophical puzzle about the sound in the forest, and ask yourself: If a student writes a paper, and the professor was the only person who read it, was it real writing? Stated another way, if the deeper purpose of expository writing is to exchange ideas and convince readers to consider alternate points of view, then shouldn’t liberal arts faculty strive to create more authentically communicative writing assignments that engage authors and audiences, beyond the eyes of the individual professor?

If that mission sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Many faculty consider ourselves unofficial teachers of writing, as we embrace its importance in our pedagogy, but never had specialized training in helping students to enhance their prose. We believe that we know good student writing when we see it, but have no formal background in the fields of rhetoric and composition. Moreover, it’s extremely difficult to keep pace with the dizzying array of newer digital tools — and the need to sort out which ones help or hinder our teaching — without feeling a bit older and more obsolete every day (while falling further behind on our grading). Therefore, it’s no surprise that many faculty simply rely upon the traditional word processors we’ve used for decades. In light of these real-world constraints, this essay offers some simple strategies and illustrations for integrating web-based writing, and argues that harnessing the inherent power of communities — both inside and outside of our classrooms — can make the writing process more authentic and meaningful for liberal arts education.

Add caption and source credit here.
Add caption and source credit here.

Long before the web, innovative faculty began teaching collaborative writing techniques as a challenge to the tradition of solitary authoring.[1]  The transition from typewriters to word processors made this technique easier to teach, as students could independently author text and assign one team member to merge it into one document, or collaborate on writing one document by passing it back and forth. Several faculty took co-authoring one step further with wiki tools, which allow multiple users to edit the same web-based document (as Mike O’Donnell and others have shown in this volume).

But the writing tool that dropped my jaw — and reawakened the pedagogical side of my brain — was Google Documents, which enabled multiple users to edit the same web document and view collaborators as they typed changes in real time, in contrast to the delayed view of editing in wikis. Looking back, I originally understood that users could upload and share files on Google Docs in May 2009, but didn’t fully grasp its multi-authoring features until 2010 at my first THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp), where session organizers shared links to Google Documents for multiple participants to simultaneously share notes. If you’ve never seen collaborative writing in action, here’s a brief screencast of my students typing notes on the same Google Doc.


[1] Donald C Stewart, “Collaborative Learning and Composition: Boon or Bane?,” Rhetoric Review 7, no. 1 (1988): 58–83; Rebecca Moore Howard, “Collaborative Pedagogy,” in A Guide to Composition Pedagogies, ed. Gary Tate, Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), cited in Emily Viggiano, “Teaching Tip Sheet: Collaborative Writing” (Writing Across the Curriculum, George Mason University, circa 2004),

Color and Money Persuasive Essay

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Isabelle Boundy

September 22, 2013

Color and Money: Race and Social Class

Persuasive Essay: Debating policy in The College simulation

This essay was assigned to be written from the perspective of a class matters advocate, and does not necessarily represent the views of the author.

            Since at least the time of President Lincoln, the United States has embraced the idea of social mobility– idea that everyone, regardless of socio-economic class, has the opportunity to climb the social ladder and achieve a higher standard of living than that of the previous generation.  The United States’ Educational System has long been regarded as the engine of this meritocratic society, and the system through which all people have the opportunity succeed and achieve a better standard of living than that of the previous generation.  However, recent sociological studies into the education world and college admissions in particular have shown a very different reality.  These studies have shown monetarily disadvantaged students to be at an incredible disadvantage begins the day they start kindergarten, and follows them to the admissions decision round table when college admissions and financial aid committees come together to discuss who will receive admission and necessary aid, and who will be let go.

When evaluating various applicants for admission, one should not assume that all candidates were afforded equality of opportunity.  The steps and achievements necessary to receive a letter of acceptance from any one of the nation’s elite institutions comes with a hefty price tag, and thus more privileged applicants are provided a significant advantage.  In a system so infested with inequality, it has become the job of the admissions officers to evaluate discrepancies of opportunity among applicants, and take these differences into consideration throughout the decisions process.  However, during The College simulation, it does not appear that such an evaluation took place as less affluent students repeatedly lost their letters of acceptance to more affluent students.  Although actions taken by the simulation admissions committee may have been legal, the process as a whole most certainly did not promoted equal educational opportunity, and thus did not necessarily result in the best possible entering class.

With regard to the college admissions process, students who come from lesser means are put at a significant disadvantage that begins the day they are born.  For most privileged families, decisions regarding college are made even before their children are born: they buy homes in communities with strong public schools, and start trust funds and savings accounts in anticipation of future tuition payments.  Some families pay for prestigious kindergartens and eventually prep schools, SAT/ACT prep classes, and nearly all sign their children up for a laundry list extra-curricular that surely included athletics and performing arts (Stevens, 243).  However, the ability to provide these opportunities for their children is a luxury enjoyed almost exclusively by America’s most privileged elites, leaving less affluent applicants at a significant disadvantage.

It is the responsibility of the admissions officers to consider issues such as the aforementioned regarding inequalities of opportunity throughout the admissions process.   However, participants in the simulation admissions process did not necessarily follow through on this task.

Throughout the beginning stages of the simulation, issues of socio-economic class were disregarded almost entirely.  Students were evaluated largely in the arenas of academic and extra-curricular accomplishment, and while many saw this as a meritocratic and therefore just system, this was not so.  Students were given a rating for academic and extra-curricular accomplishments respectively, and received extra points for their enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, in addition to their achievements in various performing arts and athletic competitions.  However, many high schools, particularly schools in less affluent areas, do not offer AP and/or IB classes, and thus these students are penalized in the college admissions process for circumstances which are beyond their control.  Moreover, it is very common for more affluent students to attend SAT/ACT prep courses that can raise an applicant’s score by several hundred points.  However, these classes are expensive and thus available almost exclusively to the wealthy.  Additionally, it should be noted that while that nearly all individuals have the opportunity to participate in athletics to some degree, nurturing a strong athlete requires quality medical care, good nutrition, routine physical training, and quality coaching- all of which are more readily accessible to those with greater means (Stevens, 99).

Despite the simulation admissions officers’ total indifference towards socio-economic class during earlier rounds of admissions, when it came time to make final admissions decisions each student’s financial history and ability to pay tuition was very much a part of the conversation.  After receiving an admissions grand total rating based largely on academic and extracurricular achievements, each applicant submitted to an “F-Round” in which a Net Price Calculator was used to determine the dollar amount the admissions committee could except the families of each applicant to contribute, and how much would need to be supplemented with various forms of financial aid (primarily in the form of grants, in addition to work study and student loans) (F-Round financial aid).

Each candidate’s admissions grand total rating and estimated family contribution became the primary determining factors during the final round of admissions, although it soon became clear that estimated family contribution was perhaps the dominating factor in the decision making process.  The clearest indicator of this phenomenon was that regarding the applicants Caitlin Quinn and Rosa Martinez.

Caitlin Quinn was the first applicant to be offered admission to The College.  With her near perfect GPA and dual-sport varsity captains (Caitlin Quinn), Ms. Quinn certainly demonstrated herself to be both a stellar student and an accomplished athlete.  However, it was undoubtedly her family’s legacy and substantial financial means that granted her the position of most desirable candidate.  According to the simulation calculations, the Quinn family would be able to pay full tuition, and more (F-Round financial aid).  A letter from The College’s Vice President of Development reminded simulation participants of Ms. Quinn’s legacy status and her family’s generous financial support of The College in previous years (Correspondence from Dean of Admissions).  Ms. Quinn’s privileged background and the before-mentioned letter provided her with considerable clout at the simulation committee table, and thus she was the first to be offered admission to The College.

Next, it came time for the simulation admissions committee to discuss Rosa Martinez.  With a phenomenal GPA, stellar SAT scores, and leadership positions on her highs school yearbook committee and Student Advisory Council (Rosa Martinez), Ms. Martinez proved to be an excellent candidate at least as impressive as Caitlin Quinn.  However, coming from a less affluent family, Ms. Martinez would require 52219 dollars in grants from The College that would create a deep hole in The College’s 70000 dollar financial aid budget.  Her hefty price tag proved to be a significant blight on her application as she was waitlisted upon her first review by a vote of 5-7 with 6 simulation participants abstaining from the vote (Decision day).  Consequentially, Rosa Martinez’s place in the entering class was given to an apparently less promising candidate with a smaller price tag.

Many argue that higher education does promote social mobility, pointing to various heart-warming success stories of individuals born into poverty who worked hard and, with the help of scholarships and financial aid, managed to obtain a college degree. However, stories like these are few and far between.  And, while The College in this simulation did provide nearly 55000 dollars in grants to needy students, this was not enough for Rosa Martinez and countless other students just like her who were denied acceptance simply because they were too poor.

While the actions of The College simulation admissions officers may seem unfair and unjust, it should be acknowledge that, with regard to the legality of the simulation admissions committee’s actions, no laws were broken as there virtually are no laws regarding socio-economic class and college admissions.  When the issue of race-based affirmative action is challenged in a legal setting (as it frequently is), it is often suggested that the nation, state, or institution switch to a system of class-based affirmative action that would arguably maintain racial diversity while simultaneously providing a leg up to students who have been born into a lower socio-economic class (Gaertner, 1).  However, it remains that no such class-based alternative to affirmative action is currently on the books, and thus The College simulation was well within legal bounds.

Despite the legality of the simulation committee’s actions, they undoubtedly provided a significant advantage to more affluent applicants.  These advantages have made higher education a cloak over existing class inequalities, and a system by which less privileged students are held back, and more privileged families are provided the opportunity to justify their own class advantage (Stevens, 11).

These inequalities could be greatly diminished if the country were to adopt a class-based system of affirmative action, and the federal and state government provide greater funds to colleges and universities to decrease tuition and increase financial aid budgets.  Although the higher education system may seem grim for those of lower socio-economic classes, there is certainly hope in the future for greater equality and restoration of the American dream.

Works Cited

Caitlin Quinn, Simulation Applicant Files, Color & Money seminar at Trinity College, Fall 2013,

Correspondence from Dean of Admissions (from simulation), Color & Money seminar at Trinity College, Fall 2013,

Decision day, Color and Money Admissions Simulation Data, Trinity College, Fall 2013,

F-Round financial aid, Color and Money Admissions Simulation Data, Trinity College, Fall 2013,

Gaertner, Matthew, and Melissa Hart. “Considering Class: College Access and Diversity.” U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper 12.18 (2012): n. pag. Social Science Research Network. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

Rosa Martinez, Simulation Applicant Files, Color & Money seminar at Trinity College, Fall 2013,

Stevens, Mitchell. Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites. N.p.: n.p., 2007. Print.

4th round review, Color and Money Admissions Simulation Data, Trinity College, Fall 2013,

Class Consciousness in the College Admissions Process

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 Class Matters

This essay was assigned to be written from the perspective of a (choose one: Class matters) advocate, and does not necessarily represent the views of the author.


Over the past few weeks, our first year seminar class, Color and Money, carried out a mock admissions activity for which we acted as a group of admissions officers for a fictional school called The College. At the end of this activity, we selected candidates for admission, and eventually reached a group of students who would enroll in The College next year. Although our class’s admissions process was legal, it did not result in the best possible class of incoming freshman due to a lack of socioeconomic diversity and a minimal financial aid budget. Socioeconomic diversity would prove beneficial to The College and The United States for a number of reasons, and even with The College’s current financial aid budget, it is very capable of admitting a more socioeconomically diverse class.

During the deliberation process, my classmates would often bring up that we only had $70,000 to spend on financial aid for candidates. Because of this, we would often admit wealthy students who were comparable but still less qualified than other less wealthy students on the basis that they needed less financial aid. For example, our class chose to accept applicant Jazmine Hope-Martin, before choosing to accept applicants Rosa Martinez, and Angelica Parker, although both Angelica and Rosa had been ranked higher than Jazmine in terms of merit in previous rounds. Jazmine, however, posed a cost $25,000 less than Angelica and around $30,000 less than Rosa, and this made Jazmine the most sought after applicant of the three (Decision Day). This was all legal, as we had a financial aid budget to meet, and we were trying to use the money as best as possible, but it did take away from our ability to create the best class possible.

The most obvious way to create a more socioeconomically diverse class would be to increase the financial aid budget, however even with the current budget, The College is very able to create more socioeconomic diversity. To take steps toward creating a more socioeconomically diverse class, The College has a few strong options even with its current financial aid budget. Firstly, The College could choose to give diversity points to socioeconomically less fortunate candidates in the same way diversity points are awarded to applicants of minority races. During the admissions process, our class decided to give points for a candidate if we felt he or she would add to The College’s diversity. However, looking at our 4th round review sheet, no points were ever granted based solely on the low socioeconomic status of an applicant (4th round). By being awarded points for being of lower socioeconomic standing, poorer candidates would get higher admissions scores, and thus would be more likely to gain admittance to The College. Additionally, The College could distribute its financial aid budget more intelligently. To admit as many non-wealthy applicants as possible, The College could search for a sort of financial aid sweet spot. For example, instead of admitting a single applicant who requires full financial aid, it could admit two who require half financial aid. This would produce a more socioeconomically diverse environment by distributing it among many relatively poor students rather than a smaller number of extremely poor students. Also to compensate for the fact that no students requiring full financial aid would be admitted with this plan, the college could save spots for a select few exceptional students who require full financial aid.

The College should choose to address the lack of socioeconomic diversity, which is inevitable in its classes to come. The way the current system works is very unfair in favoring the wealthy, and it would prove advantageous to admit more non-wealthy students for a multitude of reasons.

The system that is used in the vast majority of America’s colleges for admission, The College included, is portrayed as a meritocracy (Stevens). This means that admission is ‘merit based’, and the applicants who display the greatest distinction are the ones who will be admitted. However, affluent applicants are much more equipped to meet these merits that colleges evaluate than lower class applicants. Mitchell L. Stevens describes this issue in depth in his study, Creating a Class: “Keenly aware of the terms of elite college admission, privileged parents do everything in their power to make their children into ideal applicants. They pay for academically excellent high schools. They shower their children with books and field trips and lots of adult attention….. In the process of doing all of this, affluent families fashion an entire way of life organized around the production of measurable virtue in children” (Stevens p.20). Stevens describes the impact that gaining admission to a prestigious college has on the child raising process in America. He also states the pricey expenditures that the wealthy make to help their children meet admissions requirements. The poor however are less capable of making these kinds of expenditures, as they do not have the same kind of income level as the wealthy. Class Consciousness in The College’s admissions process could potentially correct this discrepancy by recognizing that lower income applicants are less capable of meeting these merit based requirements and awarding them admissions points due to this fact.

Another benefit being class conscious in The Colleges admissions process could have is that it could help to diminish the lack of upward social mobility in the US. America used to be thought of as a land of opportunity, and a land where with hard work the poor could one day become rich. However, in a recent study conducted by Miles Corak with the World Bank, The United States was ranked lower in social mobility than neighbor Canada. Although, there are many factors contributing to this low social mobility, college’s uncanny favoritism towards the wealthy definitely plays a role (Greenstone et al.). A 2008 Haskins study showed that of children born in the lowest quintile of wealth, those who obtained a college degree were 3 to 4 times as likely to become upper class (4th and 5th quintile) than those who did not get a college degree (Greenstone et al.). Acknowledging class in the admissions process could help to increase social mobility in the United States by giving poor individuals an opportunity to earn a college degree, and thus the ability to move up in socioeconomic status. This would prove very beneficial to the United States, as there is a correlation between nations with high social mobility and nations that exemplify general citizen happiness (Forbes). Although many may feel that it is the government’s job to correct its nation’s lack of social mobility, with the value of a college degree in today’s world, and how much it improves the likelihood of upward social mobility, Colleges also must make changes for this problem to get fixed.

A last reason as to why The College should choose to address its lack of socioeconomic diversity is that it would prove beneficial for The College itself. A main goal of many colleges is to prepare its students for the so-called real world. One way to do this would be to create an environment similar to the real world, and include socioeconomic diversity. This would make the wealthy students more aware of the poverty that exists in the country, and vise versa for the poor students. Although it may turn wealthy classist families away from The College, it would produce a more interesting and more realistic atmosphere and this probably would not have a significant effect on the prestige or perception of The College. Additionally, it would be more beneficial for The College to admit more students from the lower class because the lower class is growing. A poll conducted by Pew Research showed a jump from 25% of Americans identifying themselves as poor in 2008 to 32% in 2012 (“America’s Middle Class Shrinks Further. Now, Blacks And Whites Equally Broke”). With this rapid growth of the lower class, if The College wants to maintain it’s strong applicant pool, it must appeal to the lower class. An obvious way to do this would be to admit more lower class applicants now. If more lower class applicants are attending The College it would set the tone for applicant pools to come. Although some may say that these statistics aren’t truly telling due to the economic recession that started in 2008, the little upward social mobility in America, and the increasing size of the lower class makes for an inevitably large lower class in the future.

The College must address its lack of socioeconomic diversity in its admission process and set an example for the rest of America’s higher education institutions to follow. The people of the nation have called for change and The College has nothing to do but respond accordingly. A 2005 New York Times poll showed that 84% of respondents in a nationwide survey favored programs that allowed low-income individuals to get ahead regardless of race, gender or ethnicity (New York Times). In conclusion, with the relevance of class in the United States today, and the countless benefits that using class as a criteria for admission presents, The College should adopt a class-conscious admissions office and work to create more socioeconomically diverse classes in the future.



@crobmatthews, Christopher Matthews. “America’s Productivity Problem.” Time. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.

Stevens, Mitchell L. Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009. Print.

“Happy Country=Social Mobility?” Forbes. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

Deparle, Jason. “Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs.” The New York Times 4 Jan. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

Greenstone, Michael et al. “Thirteen Economic Facts About Social Mobility and the Role of Education.” The Brookings Institution. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

4th round review, Color and Money Admissions Simulation Data, Trinity College, Fall 2013,  Web. 29 Sept. 2013

“How Class Works.” New York Times. N.p., 15 May 2005. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

Decision Day, Color and Money Admissions Simulation Data, Trinity College, Fall 2013,  Web. 29 Sept. 2013

“America’s Middle Class Shrinks Further. Now, Blacks And Whites Equally Broke.” Forbes. Web. 4 Oct. 2013.