In American society today, race is seemingly both nowhere and everywhere. It is nowhere, in the sense that the civil rights movement’s victories of the 1960s eliminated legal race-based hierarchies, overt bigotry has declined, many people claim to “not see race,” interracial marriage is no longer unusual, and an African American man occupied the White House for eight years. Yet it is everywhere, in that enormous racial gaps in life expectancy and health and wealth remain, cities are as segregated as ever, and concerns about immigration and cultural identity have been at the forefront of a tumultuous election season. In this intensive, discussion-based course, we will consider how this seeming contradiction is possible, asking why race still means so much when so many of us believe we have moved beyond it. Topics examined in depth may include institutional versus individual racism, how race has shaped our own lives, the feasibility and desirability of colorblindness, current political events such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2016 election, unconscious and semi-conscious bias, and how growing Latino and Asian populations interface with the historic white/black binary. This course requires an application process.


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