Diverse: Issues In Higher Education (formerly Black Issues In Higher Education) is a useful resource for those seeking information about racial and ethnic issues in higher education. Here is part of their formal statement:
The key to the achievement of this goal is knowledge and information about higher education. And when it comes to providing the information that underpins this, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education has been at the forefront for the past twenty years. . . . . Since its founding in 1984, Black Issues In Higher Education (which is now Diverse) has been America’s premier news source for information concerning these vitally important issues. That the magazine received the 2002 Folio award as the best education publication in America only attests to how well we have carried out our mission of being the most reliable source for those who understand the importance of these issues.
In a recent article they discuss racial and ethnic research centers, including one at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that grew out of an idea that I (full disclosure!) suggested to the provost there:
During this historic presidential election campaign, remarks with racial overtones have made headlines, offending some voters and garnering sympathy from others. The candidates have been required to interpret, explain, apologize for, denounce or distance themselves from these statements and those who made them. The missteps in the discussions about race at the highest levels of leadership in this country show the enormity and the complexity of the task faced by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society. As a component of UIUC’s diversity initiative, the university established the center five years ago with the mission of producing “vigorous scholarly and public debate on the multiple racial contexts of democracy” and analysis of the “national dynamics of racial divisions and of democratic possibilities.”
They add that this increase in racial and ethnic studies centers is not limited to Illinois:
Brought forth by other universities and researchers along the same lines, race and democracy research centers have been established at other universities, including Stanford University, Texas A&M University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. “Part of the job of these centers is to begin telling the truth about American history and our racial and ethnic history,” [Joe] Feagin says. “As a country, we have not faced our history.”
So true that we have ‘not faced our history.’ Indeed, in a truly puzzling turn to me, the K-12 curriculum “Facing History, Facing Ourselves,” that is supposed to teach racial/ethnic tolerance to grade school aged children, centers on the Nazi German holocaust rather than American racism. This, even though the creators of this curriculum are U.S.-based educators addressing an almost excluvisely U.S.-based audience of schoolchildren. The idea, of course, is that children are supposed to “make the connection” between the Nazis and white racism in the U.S., but there’s no evidence that this connection actually happens.