‘Racism in America’ webinar to examine education, housing

Despite civil rights legislation, Supreme Court rulings, protest and other efforts, many Americans continue to attend schools and live in neighborhoods that remain stubbornly segregated by race.

The College of Arts and Sciences’ (A&S) yearlong webinar series, “Racism in America,” will examine past and present impacts of racism on education and housing in its next webinar, “Education and Housing,” Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.

The event, in partnership with the College of Human Ecology (CHE), is free and open to the public; registration is required.

Moderated by Adam Harris, staff writer for The Atlantic, the webinar will feature four Cornell faculty experts who will address the history of educational inequities in the U.S.; residential and urban segregation, past and present; why efforts aimed at effecting racism in education and housing so often fail; and ideas for how to create real change.

“Just because we don’t spend much time talking about segregation, or even noticing it, doesn’t mean it does not continue to impact our lives and the lives of others, ” said organizer Noliwe Rooks, the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Literature in Africana studies and director of the American Studies Program in A&S. “Because our panelists for this webinar know how segregation hurts, who it helps and what it impedes, we will not just talk about what the problem is, but we will also offer solutions.”

Harris has covered education and national politics at The Atlantic since 2018. He was previously a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education, where he covered federal education policy and historically black colleges and universities. He is working on a book, “The State Must Provide,” a narrative history of racial inequality in higher education and how the government is responsible for shaping it. He is a 2021 New America National Fellow.

The panelists for the Nov. 19 webinar will be:

  • Rooks, whose work explores how race and gender both impact and are impacted by popular culture, social history and political life in the United States. She also focuses on race, capitalism and education, as well as Black women and material culture. Her most recent book is “Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education”;
  • Kendra Bischoff, associate professor of sociology (A&S), whose primary research interests relate to the intersection of neighborhoods and schools. She studies the patterns, causes and consequences of racial and socioeconomic residential segregation. Her work has investigated the role of fragmented school districts in facilitating racially segregated educational environments, the relationship between income inequality and income segregation, and how school enrollment decisions are shaped by neighborhood contexts;
  • Daniel Lichter, Ferris Family Professor of Policy Analysis and Management (CHE) and Robert S. Harrison Director of the Institute for Social Science, has published widely on topics in population and public policy, including studies of concentrated poverty and inequality, intermarriage, cohabitation and marriage among disadvantaged women, and immigrant incorporation. His recent work has included a focus on changing ethnoracial boundaries, as measured by changing patterns of interracial marriage and residential segregation in the United States.
  • Sergio Garcia Rios, assistant professor of government and Latina/o studies (A&S), studies the idea that immigrants develop portfolios of identities which are fluid, situational and used instrumentally. He also examines voter turnout, political participation and public opinion, especially among Latino immigrants; he is director of polling for Univision. He teaches classes on immigration; race and ethnicity; Latino politics; and social science methodology.

The spring semester will feature three Racism in America webinars: “Protest Movements and Civil Disobedience,” “Health Care Inequities” and “Race and the Economy.”

Co-hosted by the American Studies Program, the “Racism in America” series is supported by Alumni Affairs and Development; Diversity Alumni Programs; and eCornell.

Linda B. Glaser is the news and media relations manager for the College of Arts & Sciences.

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