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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Sociology

Race and Ethnic Relations SOC-251

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 1
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012
  • Modified 01/13/2013

Contact Information

Instructor: Cathy Matresse, MS

Office Hours

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, ONLINE

If necessary, we can make an appointment for times convenient to both of us.  

Assistance - I’m very willing to help students on material presented in class that they don’t understand.  

If you don’t feel like asking questions in class, I would encourage you to make an appointment to meet with me.  Also, you should let me know if you are having difficulties or if you have any problems with instruction please make an appointment to speak with me. This is common academic procedure. Keep in mind that I am very open to discussion and I am here to help you to the best of my ability. Your education is very important to me! You may also e-mail me with any questions you might have through our course email.

I am often online at various additional hours during the work week but may not be online during weekends. 

Meeting Times

We will not hold face-to-face sessions.  This course will be taught entirely on the Internet.

Coursework must be submitted weekly and according to all posted due dates and times. 

You are expected to log on to our site at least every other day.

Late work will be penalized.

Therefore, consistent access to the Internet is necessary for this course.


This course explores the influence of race and ethnic membership in structuring social interaction and behavior amongst people in the United States. Although the primary focus is in the ethnic experience in the U.S., comparative models will also be explored to provide a framework for the American situation. A major element of the course will be an investigation of the five major ethnic groups: Native Americans, Hispanics (Latinos), African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and white Americans; with a special emphasis on the condition of Native Americans. Principal topics will include historical aspects of race and ethnicity, theoretical viewpoints, causes of ethnic conflict, racism and prejudice, psychopathology and ethnicity, focal topics (e.g. affirmative action, "reverse" discrimination, bilingual education, immigration issues) and future trends and directions. This course will be helpful for individuals seeking to work in professions or environments where they will be in contact with members of diverse ethnic and racial groups. This course fulfills a social science requirement for the A.A. and A.S. degrees or the cultural diversity requirement for the A.A. degree. Lecture: 3 hours per week Recommended: PSYC-101


Required Materials:

Takaki, Ronald

     A Different Mirror

     Back Bay Books, New York 2008



Higginbotham, Elizabeth and Anderson, Margaret L.

     Race and Ethnicity in Society, 3rd Edition

     Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA. 2009


Also required: Since all written work is to be word processed, consistent access to a word processor or computer is required as well as consistent access to the Internet.

If you do not have consistent access to the Internet, you should reconsider your enrollment in this course.

All NIC students have access to Computer Labs on campus with student ID card.

This is an Internet class which means that all of your coursework will take place through the BlackBoard course site.


Course Outcomes: Through reading, completing written assignments, and participating in class forums, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • identify and reflect on our ethnic heritages and how our personal histories have affected our sense of heritage and identity
  • examine and compare the historical and contemporary experiences of racial and ethnic groups in the United States
  • raise our consciousness toward people and experiences which are different from ours
  • interact with stories of people from a variety of ethnic heritages.
  • develop a common vocabulary of key terms and concepts related to race and ethnic issues
  • demonstrate an understanding of the sociological perspective on race and ethnic relations in class discussions and written assignments
  • demonstrate analytical and problem-solving abilities while acquiring an understanding of race and ethnic issues
  • demonstrate an awareness of the individual, institutional, and societal dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in our contemporary society
  • study the historical origins and perpetuations of prejudices and discrimination that have been directed toward people of diverse background
  • analyze our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors regarding race and ethnicity issues
  • explore the concept of "white privilege"
  • identify qualities of an ally and develop an action plan.






Grades will be determined on the following scale and

will be posted in a timely manner.




   Intro assignments

    2 @   10 points 

     20 points

   Written assignments

    9 @ 25 points 

   225 points

   Discussion Forum

  11 @ 25 points 

   275 points




   Total Points:


   520 points





WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS: Nine written assignments will be due on the dates listed on the Course Schedule. These assignments will appear on the Lesson tab and will 'evaporate' when the due date has passed. Each assignment is worth up to 25 points.

RULES: In your papers, you will respond to the posted questions. Your papers will be written in 12-point Arial font, 500 words minimum unless otherwise specified, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins all around. Your papers must be in these formats only: .doc or .docx or .rtf in order to be accepted in the Angel drop box. It is your responsibility to correctly format your papers. These papers must be correctly posted to the drop box by the posted due date.

Please keep a copy of all assignments submitted for your own records and in case they are lost in transition to the Angel drop box.

TAKE-HOME EXAMS: These exams will cover the main textbooks. These will be open-book, essay exams and will be conducted on the Angel course site on a forum as discussions. Your initial essay exam (500 words minimum) must be created and posted prior to your viewing other student posts. This item is due before 11 pm on Thursdays of each week. Your essays should thoroughly address the weekly topic (up to 20 points). 

Next you must read and respond to a minimum of one other student's essay.  These follow-up responses (150 words minimum) will be a thoughtful response to at least one other student's essay each week (up to 5 points). These student responses are due before 11 pm on Saturdays.

Course Policies

In order for learning to take place, students must feel safe; this safety is due all students, not only those who share your values and beliefs. For this reason, courtesy, thoughtfulness, and acceptance are essential in our discussions in and out of the classroom.

Acceptance should not be confused with agreement; one need not agree with a person to listen, and one must listen well in order to disagree respectfully. Every student in this course has a voice and so deserves the courtesy of attentive listening and the freedom to express diverse ideas.










Introductory Assignments

Written Assignment

Take-home essay exam

Sept 1


Race and Ethnicity in Society – Intro & Part One

A Different Mirror – Part One

Written Assignment

Sept 8


Race and Ethnicity in Society – Intro & Part One

A Different Mirror – Part One

Take-home essay exam

Sept 15


Race and Ethnicity in Society-Part Two

Written Assignment

Take-home essay exam

Sept 22


Race and Ethnicity in Society-Part Two

Written Assignment

Take-home essay exam

Sept 29


Race and Ethnicity in Society – Part Three

Take-home essay exam

Oct 6


A Different Mirror – Part Two

Take-home essay exam

Oct 13


Race and Ethnicity in Society – Part Three

Take-home essay exam

Oct 20


Race and Ethnicity in Society – Part Four

A Different Mirror – Part Three

Written Assignment

Oct 27


Race and Ethnicity in Society – Part Four

Take-home essay exam

Nov 3


A Different Mirror – Part Four

Take-home essay exam

Nov 10


Race and Ethnicity in Society

Take-home essay exam

Nov 17


Written Assignment

Nov 24



Written Assignment

A Different Mirror – Part 4

Dec 1


Race and Ethnicity in Society

Take-home essay exam

Dec 8


Written Assignment

Dec 15



Written Assignment

Dec 20


Additional Items





=        100-93%         

A -      

=          90%


=          87%


=          83%

B -      

=          80%


=          77%


=          73%


=          70%


=          67%


=          63%


=          Below 63%




Division Policies

For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please ferfer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: 

Academic Dishonesty
Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at North Idaho College. These violations include the following:

Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study in any academic exercise.
Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Plagiarism: knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in an academic exercise.
Violation of Intellectual Property: stealing, altering, or destroying the academic work of other members of the community or the educational resources,materials, or official documents of the college. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of this policy.

Student Responsibility
As outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, all North Idaho College students have both rights and responsibilities: Please access www.nic.ferpa.StudentCode/index.htm for complete information that pertains to this subject.

North Idaho College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides both services and accommodations to students who meet the guidelines provided in these acts.  For a complete description, please see:

Please contact the North Idaho College Center for Educational Access in Seiter Hall, Room 100 for assistance.  Phone:  208-769-5947

To withdraw from all courses a student must obtain a college withdrawal form from the Registrar's Office, secure the signatures of those persons indicated on the form, and return the form to the Registrar's office. No student may withdraw from the college after the final date of withdrawal from courses except for compelling and extraordinary reasons. In such circumstances a student must petition the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for late withdrawal from college using the college withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office.


For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: 

Institutional Policies

Student Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct applies to any student enrolled at North Idaho College.  This includes, but is not limited to, face-to-face classes and Internet classes.

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes:

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.