Race in the 21st Century: A Web Quest Assignment

"When all the talk, all the propaganda has been cut away, the criterion is nothing but the color of skin. My experience has proved that. They judged me by no other quality. My skin was dark. That was sufficient reason for them to deny me those rights and freedoms without which life loses its significance and becomes a matter of little more than animal survival."

John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me

Griffin finds through his own experience what racial discrimination is really like. Perhaps his discovery is even more profound because he is white, because he experiences both the cruel ignorance of bigotry and the ignominy of knowing his own race can be so inhuman. Griffin's experiences took place in the American South in 1959. The Civil Rights Movement began in earnest in 1963.

What has transpired since then, since Griffin sojourned into oblivion? This assignment asks you to think about race in the 21st century. Where are we now? What needs to be done? How can we promote racial equity in our lives?

Connect with a partner in your class and follow the directions carefully.
You have two full class periods to accomplish this assignment.

Preparing to learn

  1. Open a Word document and save it in one partner's H:/ drive

  2. Copy and paste the Web Quest Assignment document in that new file. Copy only what is inside the table below.


  4. Work between this page and the Word document as needed. It is good to use the web browser to locate sites and not try to open sites from Word.

  5. Put your answers below the questions. Leave the questions in the document.

  6. You need to do parts 1, 2, and 3A or 3B. Part 4 is extra credit if you have time.

Handing in your work

  1. Insert your names at the top of the document. Add your class period and the date.

  2. Print your Word document after you have reviewed the directions, proofread, and spell-checked.

Web Quest Assignment

Media & Lit: Race in the 21st Century

Directions: Do Parts 1, 2, and 3A or 3B. Part 4 is for extra credit if you have time.

Part 1: Racial Profiling

  1. Visit the ACLU site on racial profiling. Read one of the five articles shown under the heading "Racial Justice : Racial Profiling - Press Releases."
  2. Write a summary below (75-100 words). At the beginning, give the title of the article you read and give the author's name.
  3. Write a response to the article below (125-150 words). Suggestions: After a short discussion, what do you and your partner think about what was reported in the article? What is important for people to know? How are you better informed about the idea of racial profiling?

Part 2: Getting a Good Education

  1. Read the article by Linda Darling-Hammond about inequality in education. There are five sections: find the main idea in each. A short two-three sentence response should be sufficient to represent the main point in each section.
    • The Nature of Educational Inequality
    • What Difference Does it Make?
    • When Opportunity Is More Equal
    • What Can Be Done?
    • An Entitlement to Good Teaching
  2. Why do you need to know about this achievement gap? After all, you go to a good school and are not necessarily denied an excellent educational experience. So, in other words, how does this issue affect you? Why is it important that all children have good schools, good teachers, and quality learning environments? (125-150 words)

Part 3A: The Future through the Lens of the Past

  1. Read the speech, The Negro as an American by Robert C. Weaver, the first black Cabinet member (Kennedy Administration), given on June 13, 1963.
  2. Find three ways to connect Weaver's speech with Griffin's book, Black Like Me. What things are similar? Explain each.
  3. What do you think Weaver would change if he were to give this speech today? Be specific.

Part 3B: The Future through the Lens of the Past

  1. President John F. Kennedy spurred the national Civil Rights Movement in 1963, 4 years after Griffin's experiences with racial discrimination. In his speech, Kennedy gives a vision of America that many found hopeful.
  2. Read the announcement.
  3. What goals were accomplished? Explain.
  4. What part of Kennedy's vision has not yet been fulfilled? Explain.

Part 4: One America

  1. President Clinton's One America initiative asks us to be more aware of who we are as Americans. This site gives a list of ten things every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Read this list.
  2. Which of these would be easiest for you and why?
  3. Which would be hardest for you and why?