Why does racism persist more than fifty years after the passage of Civil Rights Legislation? Why do people have different understandings of what racism is? With Charlottesville and other examples of open racial bigotry, can we assume that white nationalism is on the rise? This two-part olio will lend some insight into these questions as we trace the evolution of racism, how it changed forms, and how this affects the way racism is defined. Participants will leave these sessions with a conceptual understanding of racism that will help them promote more productive conversations.
Nov 26 - Session One: Defining Racism and Understanding Its Evolution
Starting with a discussion on how “race” was invented, participants in this olio will learn how early forms of racism, backed by problematic scientific studies, developed and how this science was used to support a profitable system of slavery. We will discuss how more recent forms of racism, cultural and color-blind, have informed policies that were detrimental to racially oppressed groups. One of the key elements of effective organizing against racial injustice is a common understanding of what racism is. Therefore, we will also address logical errors people tend to make about how racism operates in contemporary society.
Readings: Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview by Audrey Smedley, Chapter 5; Racial Domination, Racial Progress by Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer, pages 1-6 and 15-38; White Racism, Black Bigotry: The Talk about Race is all Wrong by Yvonne R. Davis
Dec 3 - Session Two: Modeling the Anatomy of Racism and Understanding Contemporary Racism
Using the readings as a guide, participants will be asked to create a diagram that illustrates how different institutions and ideologies interact to perpetuate racism. Participants will gain more in-depth knowledge on different forms of racism and how contemporary racism is manifest in subtle ways. We will examine research on white nationalist groups and how they have persisted in a so-called post-racial society. Finally, we will also consider types of racism that affect people of color on an individual and interpersonal level. As racism changes forms, our methods for studying and combating racism may also need to change.
Readings: White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meaning of Race by Matthew Hughey; Racism: From Slavery to Advanced Capitalism by Carter Wilson, Chapter 4
Just a few blocks from Madison Square Park and facing the Lexington Avenue Armory, this house exists as an oasis nestled in the heart of the city. Spread across five floors of a 1913 industrial building, it mixes elements of raw grandeur with bespoke furnishings informed by a domestic sensibility. A careful mix of work and social spaces creates a unique environment that caters to the needs of the modern day media, fashion and design leaders who call Madison Square home while celebrating the building’s lineage as a manufacturing center. It’s the New York workspace redesigned and reimagined.