“We must treat the disease of racism. This means we must understand the disease.” S. Shriver

Leading for Racial Equity: Examining Structural Issues of Race and Class

SPHG 720 (section 001) 2.0 credits, Fall 2018

This fourth professional interdisciplinary course partners with the Racial Equity Institute (REI) LLC, a national anti-racism training organization, to prepare graduate students from UNC professional degree programs to become effective leaders in an increasingly diverse world.  The goal is to provide graduate students with a framework that directs them to critically analyze institutions, rather than characteristics of individuals and groups, in order to understand institutional legacy, response, and accountability to different populations.  This course also involves local community members as a key element of the pedagogy, so that the interactive nature of the course will allow all participants to learn from the perspectives of others with different backgrounds and in different stages of life.

Our experience and direct feedback from former students and colleagues suggest that in order to successfully promote equitable outcomes in chosen fields, current and future leaders must understand the legacy of racism in American institutions. Students and agents of change require a framework that directs them to analyze social institutions, rather than characteristics of individuals and groups, in order to develop appropriate institutional responses and accountability to the communities they serve. Training future leaders on how racial inequities are produced by systemic bias and the related practices of institutions is critical to achieve meaningful change in societal outcomes.

Participants complete an intensive 2-day training, September 28-29, 2018, with REI trainers and course instructors on the explicit and subtle ways that racialized patterns in American culture, policies, and practices permeate political, economic, and social structures.  At three and five weeks following this initial training, students will meet to discuss, evaluate, and analyze completed readings and the final group assignment.