Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Randall Kennedy on Black America's Promised Land

In the Fall 2014 issue of The American Prospect magazine, Randall Kennedy composed an essay on why he remains an optimist on race relations. Pessimism is rampant in the black community with the grand jury decisions and persistent economic inequality but Kennedy reminds us why we should be thankful with the progress that has been made since the civil rights movement. With Black History Month less than a month away, I thought this piece was worth sharing on this blog.

Slumping morale among blacks, however, is attributable to more than frustration with Obama’s enemies; it also reflects frustration with the president himself. Although the overwhelming majority of politically active blacks supported Obama in 2008 and 2012 and continue to rally behind him defensively, an appreciable number feel let down. They maintain that he has been altogether too fearful of being charged with racial favoritism and has done too little to educate the public about the peculiar racial hazards that African Americans routinely face.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Schlissel: University of Michigan needs plan to increase campus diversity

Good news for black students and advocates who demand transformative change in the compositional diversity of the student body. For too long, the black student population at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the flagship public university, has hovered dangerously around 4 percent, which is below the state's black population at 14 percent. From The Detroit News:

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel says he will ask his 19 deans to come up with plans to diversify their departments as part of a measurable effort to make the campus more diverse.

And that diversity goes beyond race and ethnicity, he said.

"The reason why it's so darn important — beyond the question of being fair to all the citizens that we serve here as a public university — is we cannot be academically excellent without being diverse," Schlissel told The Detroit News in an interview Friday. "So much of the learning that goes on here comes with engaging one another."

Schlissel said he plans to develop a strategy aimed at re-energizing the university's efforts to diversify the student body, faculty and the staff.

Part of that strategy will include asking the university's deans next month to come up with diversity plans. A baseline will be established to measure the current state of each college.