Study Guide for "Listening Across the Racial Divide"

Stevante Clark

Stevante’s brother, Stephon Clark, was killed by police in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento, CA, on March 18, 2018. Stevante has since become strong advocate against racial violence.

1. Stevante Clark Recalls Killing of His Brother, Stephon Clark

How does this video speak to you? What does it say about the pain and injustice Black families endure that is different from other minority groups?

 

2. The Community and System Failed His Brother

How does this video speak to you? Why does Stevante feel that community leaders and even churches have failed African Americans, in addition to our institutions?

3. We Don’t Want Their Money, How Asians and Brown People Can Help

In an earlier part of his interview, Stevante makes the distinction between “actorvists” and “activitists.” Why do you think he wary of celebrities and other minority leaders speaking for Blacks? Why does Stevante feel money won’t solve the problem of racial violence and discrimination? What is your ethnic group doing to help Blacks achieve racial equality and justice?

4. True Leaders Hold Accountability and Delegate Responsibility

How does this video speak to you? What is your definition of accountability when it comes to racial justice? What do you think of his statement that the word “accountability” is more overused than the word “love.” 

5. We Need Three Things Now

How does this video speak to you? What do you think of Stevante’s call for economic development, community sustainability, and education for his community? In your experience, how often do you see victims of racial violence advocate for these kinds of reforms?

6. We Are Not Anti Law Enforcement

What strikes you about this video? What have you learned about the Clark family that you didn’t know before? How would you describe the role Stevante is playing in addressing racial inequality and violence?

Yuanyuan Zhu

In March 9, 2020, Yuanyuan Zhu was threatened and spit on in broad daylight on a busy street in downtown San Francisco. “F### China,” yelled her attacker. “Run them over.” Yuanyuan is an artist and the Exhibition Manager of the Chinese Cultural Museum in San Francisco. She immigrated to the U.S. from China when she was 20 and had a very pristine and hopeful image of the U.S. Much of that has changed now.

7. Yuanyuan Zhu Describes Hate Incident

Have you ever been harassed and spit upon in this manner? What would you do if it happened to you?

8. A Message for My Attacker

How does this video speak to you? What do you think of Yuanyuan’s message and would you handle it any differently? How have you seen victims in your community confront their attackers?

9. Reasons for Racial Rage

Do you agree with Yuanyuan’s observations? What more would you add to why there is resentment to Chinese and Asians in general? What are the reasons for racial rage against your ethnic group? Are they similar or different?

10. Older Chinese Americans Stay Silent

What are your impressions of the Chinese community in terms of their involvement in racial issues vis-a-vis generational lines and different Chinese subcultures. How does this compare with your ethnic community.

Herny Ortiz

Henry Ortiz served 18-years in prison for manslaughter. He is on a mission to give parolees and other ex-prisoners and a chance in making it. He is also trying to change a system that perpetuates the vicious cycle of incarcerating people of color. More about Henry’s story in this article.

11. Brown and Black and Portrayed as Monsters

Does Henry have a point? Can you speak to the demonization of certain ethnic groups, subtle or otherwise, in politics and policy making? How do we fix this problem?

12. System Does Nothing to Break Vicious Cycle

Do you agree with Henry that minority groups are at such a great disadvantage socio-economically and that system is ill-designed to free them from this type of bondage? Does your minority group feel and experience the same?

13. Turned His Life Around, Educates Others

What stands out in Henry’s story, which is described in this article? Discuss other examples of someone who has turned racial discrimination or a violent crime into something very positive for society.

14. We’ve Been Here 500 Years and We’re Still Victimized

Victims like Henry and many scholars alike have talked about racism as America’s original sin. How much does this idea resonate in your ethic minority group? What do we do about it?

15. Everyone Needs to Be Held Accountable

Do you think Henry’s expectations for accountability are reasonable? What are your?

Nathan Lewin

Nathan Lewin’s family escaped from Poland in 1939 right before the Nazi invasion. With the help of Japanese Vice-Consul Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania, his family secured visas to travel to Japan and eventually to the United States. Three of his grandparents were were killed by the Nazis. Mr. Lewin graduated from Harvard Law School and later served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. He has argued more than 28 cases in front of the Supreme Court. More on Nathan Lewin.

16. How the Japanese Vice-Consul Chiune Sugihara Helped Nathan Lewin’s Family Escape the Holocaust

What is your reaction to Nathan’s story? What must have been Vice-Consul Sugihara’s state of mind in his desire and decision to help Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler’s advancing army? How can his actions help to define “courage” in today’s context? More on Vice-Consul Chiune Sugihara.

17. Pain and Resentment from Murder of Grandparents by Nazis

Nathan and his family fled Europe as the Germans and Ukranians slaughtered his friends and relatives. Put yourself in his shoes. What do you think he experienced and felt at the time?  How would you describe the pain that you or victims in your community have felt towards racial violence and other injustices?

18. Upon arriving in the U.S., Nathan Lewin’s father was the first to report atrocities against Jews in the Yiddish press. At his urging, prominent Jewish leaders in the U.S. took their case to President Roosevelt, but they were ignored.

How might history have been different if the U.S. government acted earlier? How do you feel about our government’s response to racial issues that exist today?

19. Antisemitism Comes from an Irrational Hatred of Jews

Has your ethnic community explored the origins of discrimination and hate when it happens to them?  What have you learned?

20. Where Do We Go from Here?

Discuss the interdependency of ethnic minority groups in their fight for racial justice and equality. What else would you add to Nathan’s call-to-action list?