Between the Lines

Random reflections from the youth in a juvenile correctional facility.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Understanding Race

I came across an exciting website about understanding race and wanted to see if this could be used as a lesson in communication. I gave the students the quiz that I copied from While they were taking the quiz as a 'pretest' I showed them the streaming video "A Girl Like Me" <> The students were as horrified as I that racial stereotypes have not changed in over 50 years. I posed the question about how the children had formed their ideas about good and bad and black and white. This is a great conversation starter and would make a good writing prompt…maybe for the next blog entry.

Then we took the quiz together using the projected webpage and discussed the answers. Now that we have done this, I'm going to compare the pre and post tests and see if there have been any changes in student knowledge.

Test your knowledge of race and human variation.

1. What does skin color tell you about a person?
a. It indicates his or her race.
b. It provides information about his or her cultural heritage.
c. It offers insight into his or her predisposition to disease
d. None of the above.

2. The origins of modern humans can be traced back to Africa by studying DNA.
a. True
b. False
c. Not Sure

3. The actual patterns of DNA variation in humans show that African populations contain:
a. Nearly all of the common DNA variants found in Asians and Europeans, plus novel variants that are not found in either Europeans or Asians…
b. None of the DNA variants found in Asians and Europeans.
c. Only a few of the DNA variants found in Asians and Europeans.

4. Which of the following are influenced by both environmental and genetic factors?
a. Skin color
b. Height
c. Disease
d. All of the above

5. Can scientists determine a person's race by looking at his or her DNA?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Not sure

6. Which sentence is true?
a. Sickle cell disease causes dark skin color.
b. The sickle cell trait became prevalent in Africa and a few other parts of the world where malaria is common because the trait offers resistance to malaria.
c. Sickle cell is a disease that is found only in people of African ancestry.

7. Experiencing racism can lead to serious health consequences that affect the distribution and concentration of disease in populations.
a. True
b. False
c. Not sure

8. Skin color evolved as the body's way of adapting to:
a. Race
b. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun
c. Climate

9. The ultimate source of all human genetic variation is:
a. Mutations in DNA sequences
b. Natural selection
c. Not sure

10. Is race in humans an accurate picture of genetic diversity?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Not sure