Racism, the university, and the “progressive” city.

Sis Robinson, Associate Professor at UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has written an essay about her research on five “hyper-liberal” cities: Madison, Evanston, IL, Cambridge, Chapel Hill, and Ann Arbor. Her conclusions:

My research shows that one reason is white people’s separation from the lives of people of color.  White professionals in these cities can go entire days without seeing any black or brown people. As a result, they don’t see or hear overt racism in their own daily lives, and it becomes easy to believe that it isn’t actually happening anywhere.

Also, many of us white, liberal-minded people consider ourselves “post-racial,” and accept no responsibility for racism in our community.  We understand racial disparity as a systemic issue, but feel powerless to do anything about it.

Indeed, we have also staked our identities on the belief that we live in communities that are open and fair to all. The idea that we need to change the very systems we have been invested in nurturing threatens our very sense of self.

I look forward to reading her book: Networked Voices: Race, Journalism, and Progressive Voices.

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