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New ILR courses on racial inequality offered

New ILR courses being taught this semester will enable understanding of how organizations perpetuate and have the ability to reduce racial inequality, and will investigate race and class in the American labor market from Colonial America to today.

“Advancing Racial Equity in Organizations” will be taught by Assistant Professor Courtney McCluney. “Race and the America Labor Market in Historical Perspective” will be taught by Seth Sanders, the Ronald G. Ehrenberg Professor of Labor Economics.

ILR Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs George Boyer said, “The courses are part of the ILR community’s broader work to promote and enhance diversity, inclusion and belonging. Programs and events are being offered to ILR students, staff, faculty and alumni throughout the academic year to help our community build a more diverse and inclusive environment.”

The purpose of “Advancing Racial Equity in Organizations” is to identify and understand the role of workplaces in advancing racial equity, McCluney said, describing the course in this overview: “We are witnessing a drastic shift in organizations’ actions, statements, and approaches to the topic of race and racism in the U.S. Protests against racial injustice across the nation have spurred business leaders to pledge support for antiracism efforts, Black-owned businesses, and historically Black colleges and universities. At the same time, the federal government issued an executive order to end diversity and inclusion training that ‘perpetuates racial stereotyping or division for federal employees and their contractors.”

“By centering the experiences Black people and other people of color in the U.S. workplace, we will nuance how intersecting systems of inequality affect multiple groups (e.g., women of color, queer people of color, etc.), and examine how organizational processes affect racial progress in the U.S. Students will demonstrate their learning through writing personal reflections, analyzing case studies, and participating in virtual simulations and experiential activities.”

Sanders said his new course will “investigate the circumstances and labor institutions that brought labor to the U.S. and how laborers of various classes were received. A primary goal of the class is to understand the degree to which social mobility was historically possible in different time periods for different races in American history.”

“Social mobility is intimately tied to labor market institutions and the ability for workers to get ahead within those institutions. Some of the labor market institutions we study are Indentured Servitude, Slavery, tenant farming, the Great Migration and labor organization in the industrial north. We also look at educational opportunities for African Americans in the South between 1880 and World War II. Ultimately, we hope to build an understanding of the historical roots of the role of race and class today,” Sanders said.

This story also appears on the ILR website.

Mary Catt is the ILR School’s communications director.

 

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