"Living with a Past: C. P. Ellis" from American Dreams: Lost and Found by Studs Terkel

Prepared by Dr. Loretta Kasper

C. P. Ellis is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, who says that in many ways he was socialized to hate blacks. He claims that he experienced feelings of inferiority and alienation from the society, and that these feelings led to his bigotry and prejudice.

In this lesson, you will explore a number of different concepts through Internet research. You will search for information on the following:

  1. The Ku Klux Klan
  2. The psychologist, Carl Rogers, who proposed a theory of how people develop their self-image.
  3. The four agents of socialization: family, school, peers, media.

Begin by going to our Search Resources page. Use the Vivisimo search engine.

One by one, type in the following keywords and find ONE article for each topic:

  1. Ku Klux Klan
  2. Carl Rogers
  3. Agents of Socialization

Now write several paragraphs in which you answer the following questions:

  • For the Ku Klux Klan (KKK):
    1. What is the Ku Klux Klan?
    2. How did the KKK originate?

  • For Carl Rogers:
    1. Who was Carl Rogers?
    2. What did Carl Rogers believe about the development of self-image?
    3. What factors did Rogers indicate as influencing the development of self-image?

  • For the Agents of Socialization:
    1. How does each of the four agents of socialization affect the child's development?
    2. Which of the agents seems to be most important in the child's development? Why?
    3. Are all children influenced in the same way by each agent of socialization? Explain your answer.

    Now read the article "Socialization and Culture". Answer the Comprehension Questions at the end of the article, and be sure that you know the definitions of each of the new vocabulary words.

    Write a well-organized essay on the following topic:

    In waht way(s) do the various agents of socialization work to reinforce feelings of inferiority in the individual? Provide specific examples from Ellis' essay to explain how his prejudice and participation in the KKK were supported by each of the agents of socialization.

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    Web page created by Dr. Loretta Kasper
    Professor of English

    Site last updated on
    May 10, 2004

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