The Question of Racial Discrimination

Jim is an 18-year-old white student living away from home for the first time. He and his girlfriend were hanging out at the park when they noticed a car pull into the empty parking lot. No one got out of the car for nearly an hour, and it was getting dark. Jim and his girlfriend had planned to stay a while longer, but the car made them feel nervous.

As they left the park, they passed nearby the car, and Jim knocked on the window to see if the occupants needed any help. As the window rolled down, Jim noticed that the men were black. He said, “Hey, what’s up? What are you guys doing here?” One of the men was insulted, became angry, and stated that they had every right to be in the parking lot. He claimed that Jim was racially profiling them. He has gone to the campus mediation center to report the incident and is demanding that Jim formally apologize.

Jim is very upset because he feels he is being unfairly called a racist.
Imagine that you are a residence hall counselor on campus, and the student described in the incident has come to you to ask for advice.

What sort of advice would you give to the student?
Explain why your advice represents the best course of action for the student to follow.

In this assignment, you are asked to reflect on one of the presented scenarios. This should not just be writing down your first reaction or what you already know. Reflection involves critical thinking, which means rethinking your existing knowledge and previously held opinions in light of what we have learned about prejudice.

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