Two Racial Tipping Points?

I’ve been wondering lately whether we’re moving toward two very different racial tipping points, both at the same time. Tipping Point Number One:  Not Your Mother’s Civil Rights Movement A student asked me after class Wednesday where I thought the most racial progress is being made today.  Interesting question!  I told him that the post-Ferguson […]

Segregation means that the similar is also the familiar

An international research team has been studying racial bias in children—how it develops and how it can be addressed. We have known for a long time that babies and young children look longer at things they like, and not so long at things they don’t like.  Pretty straightforward, right?  More recently, we learned that when […]

Getting un-befuddled

#BlackLivesMatter has become a national force in the year since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri.  Businesses are scrambling to adapt to the new work force, and the new customer base.  “Social justice” is the subject of sermons and studies in churches, synagogues, and mosques around the country. And 51% of likely American voters want […]

Are those kids our kids?

Back in the ‘80s, there was a lot of concern about the coarsening of U.S. culture, especially in entertainment, including the use of violent, crudely sexual, and misogynistic lyrics in both heavy metal and rap music.  At the time, heavy metal was considered a genre mostly for young White men, and rap a genre mostly […]

Who’s in the room? Who isn’t? Why?

I was talking with a physician recently, a specialist, really good at his work and a darn nice guy.  He asked me about a book I was reading on health disparities by race and class and then commented, “That’s really interesting, but come to think of it, all my patients are White.” He’s been practicing […]

Is it clear that we expected them?

We had friends over the other evening.  I excused myself a bit early from an afternoon gathering, saying, “It’s my experience that when you have people over, they expect a clean house and a decent meal.  I need to go work on that.” Yesterday afternoon, about 50 Hope College folk gathered for a webinar on […]

Code-Switching for Success

There are lots of stories, and a lot of research, about people who are adept in two different cultures.  There can be a cost to that—knowing two or more ways of being can make it difficult to feel completely at home in either place.  But there are advantages, too, to being able to move in […]

The Battle over the Battle Flag

I spent my adolescence and young adulthood in Tennessee, but I’m no expert on Southern history or culture.  With all the talk about the Confederate battle flag in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Charleston on June 17, however, I do have one small observation that might be helpful. In the New York Times […]

Race as a Bundle of Sticks

One of the very first things researchers need to do is define their terms, to develop “operational definitions” of the things they are studying. When it comes to race, however, very few researchers have taken the time to do that very difficult, but very important, task.  Maya Sen and Omar Wasow have made that much […]

Symbols and Substance

So many responses to the tragic shooting in Charleston on June 17.  A surprising number of them thoughtful, by the usual standards of public discourse on race. Kudos, first, to South Carolina Gov. Nicki Haley, a Republican, who in the wake of the Charleston shootings, suggested that the state move the Confederate battle flag off […]