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Racial Equity and Social Justice

Suggested Reading from the Council of Independent Colleges

Recent events have focused the attention of all Americans on issues of racial equity and social justice. Our responsibility as educators is to assure that these issues are discussed on campus in ways that lead to deeper understanding by our students. Insightful and rigorous research in the social sciences and the humanities especially has much to offer our students whose authentic emotions—from anger to sadness to bewilderment—offer “teachable moments” to inform passion and a yearning for justice with a better understanding of both history and the dynamics of social change.

Resources from recent CIC programs may be of particular and immediate interest to campus leaders who wish to respond effectively to such “teachable moments.” I hope these recommended readings will prove useful and timely.

First, as broad context, this essay by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Blight (PDF) was commissioned by CIC to define the focus of the new Legacies of American Slavery initiative.

Moving to more specific topics, below are selected readings from CIC’s two institutes on Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts, held in Atlanta, Georgia, during the summers of 2018 and 2019. The readings were selected at the time by the national experts and leading scholars who served as faculty members for this important institute. Although this list is hardly comprehensive, it should nevertheless be of value to faculty members and administrators who were unable to participate in these important institutes and who wish to make choices within a burgeoning scholarly literature.

Richard Ekman, President, Council of Independent Colleges [from CIC email, July 10, 2020]

On Free Speech and Civility

Chemerinsky, Erwin, and Howard Gillman. Free Speech on Campus. Yale University Press, 2017.

Ford, Kristie A, editor. Facilitating Change through Intergroup Dialogue : Social Justice Advocacy in Practice. Routledge, 2018.

Hare, Ivan, and James Weinstein. Extreme Speech and Democracy. Oxford University Press, 2009.

Frederick M. Lawrence, “The Contours of Free Expression on Campus: Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and Civility,” Liberal Education 103:2 (Spring 2017), pp. 14–21.

Strossen, Nadine. Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Waldron, Jeremy. The Harm in Hate Speech. Harvard University Press, 2012. 

On Higher Education

Grawe, Nathan D. Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.

Park, Julie J. Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data. Harvard Education Press, 2018.

Park, Julie J., “Student Demographics and Equity,” in The Challenge of Independent Colleges: Moving Research into Practice, edited by Christopher C. Morphew and John M. Braxton. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017, pp. 140–161.

On the Social Construction of Identities

Allen, Danielle. “Toward a Connected Society,” in Our Compelling Interests: The Value of Diversity for Democracy and a Prosperous Society, edited by Earl Lewis and Nancy Cantor. Princeton University Press, 2016.

Appiah, Anthony. The Lies That Bind : Rethinking Identity, Creed, Country, Color, Class, Culture. Liveright Publishing, 2019.

DiAngelo, Robin. “White Fragility,” The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy 3:3 (2011), pp. 54–70.

Lauryn, Inda. “A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Important Gender and Sexuality Terms,” For Harriet (March 12, 2015).

Patel, Eboo. Out of Many Faiths : Religious Diversity and the American Promise. Princeton University Press, 2019. 

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Why Are All the Black Kids Still Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race in the Twenty-First Century,” Liberal Education 103:3/4 (Summer/Fall 2017), pp. 46–55.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. Can We Talk About Race? : And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation. 1st ed., 1st ed., Beacon Press, 2007.

Bornstein, Kate, and S. Bear Bergman, editors. Gender Outlaws : The Next Generation. Seal Press, 2010.

On a More Inclusive Curriculum

Bruni, Frank. “Plato and the Promise of College,” New York Times (August 5, 2014).

Blake, Casey N., Roosevelt Montás, and Tamara Mann Teel, “Democratizing the Great Books,” Inside Higher Ed (April 3, 2017).

Davidson, Cathy N. The New Education : How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux. First ed., Basic Books, 2017.

DuBois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk (1903), esp. the chapters “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” and “Of the Wings of Atalanta.”

Montás, Roosevelt. “Democracy’s Disappearance,” Chronicle of Higher Education (October 1, 2017).

Verschelden, Cia. Bandwidth Recovery : Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization. First ed., Stylus Publishing, 2017.