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Document Study Sheet

From Community to Cyberspace, An interview with Susan Maze-Rothstein, 2001

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About this Film

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Historical Background

Discussion Questions

Level: Middle School and above


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More of this TYPE: Film, News Article

More of this TIME PERIOD: 1950-2000

More on these TOPICS: Racial Discrimination


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

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Susan Maze-Rothstein grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite the generally liberal tenor of the times and the progressive nature of the town, Susan was the victim of discrimination. The child of a white father and black mother, and a resident of the town’s lower-income housing projects, she was subjected to negative stereotyping and behavior because of both her race and class. While some of this sentiment was manifested through physical violence, most came in the form of indifference and neglect on the part of school officials and church leaders. Despite these obstacles, she went on to obtain a B.A. from Cornell and a J.D. from Boston College. Maze-Rothstein now serves an Administrative Law Judge at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents and an adjunct professor at Northeastern University School of Law. She teaches law students to address issues of difference in the law through her Law, Culture and Difference course and the Community Lawyering Program.

Maze-Rothstein continues to live in Brookline, where she is raising two children. She remains committed to addressing the subtle and overt forms of discrimination that she faced and that most residents of the town do not know exist. She has been a leader in developing the Diversity Committee at the Driscoll School, a K-8 school in Brookline. The Diversity Committee works on issues such as curriculum and hiring, sponsors cross-cultural social and educational events, and serves as an umbrella organization for the many committees that represent the school’s diverse community.

For more on Maze-Rothstein and her activism, go to JWA’s Women Who Dared exhibit at http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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1. What do you conclude about the town, Brookline, from Maze-Rothstein’s remarks? Would it be possible for anyone to say the same thing about the town in which you live?

2. How did the perceptions of others help shape Maze-Rothstein’s self-image? How did Maze-Rothstein use others’ more limited views of her to develop an appreciation for her rich and diverse background?


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How to Cite This Page
Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Films - Interview About Racial Discrimination." <http://jwa.org/primarysources/film_02.html>.