Washington, D.C. - Despite the election of the first African-American president, which seemed to mark a new era in race relations, the country in many ways remains divided over how it talks about race. In order to unite and heal Americans, we must address this division head-on. The American Prospect's April 2011 special report does this with contributions from leading scholars and journalists who reveal how racial inequality still persists, and what can be done to overcome it.
Shirley Sherrod, former USDA Georgia director of rural development, introduces the report with a clear vision of how to aspire to and achieve racial healing (Toward Racial Healing). A piece on the media's role (The Right Messengers), which features comments from former NPR contributor Juan Williams, examines why stories about racial injustice don't receive the same coverage and hype as those involving controversy.
The special report, "Color Blinded," is published jointly by The American Prospect and the New York-based think tank and research center Demos, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The report also features commentary from the following preeminent scholars on racial justice and equity:
* Harvard professor of law Randall Kennedy explains why President Obama struggles to talk candidly about race unless addressing controversy like Reverend Wright's comments or the arrest of Henry Louis Gates (Race Talk in the Obama Era)
* Taeku Lee, chair of U.C. Berkeley's political science department, examines polling data and reveals that the American public often supports racial equity in principle, but not in practice (Polling Prejudice)
* Harvard professor of sociology and social policy William Julius Wilson revisits his stance on whether or not Democrats should focus on policies that aim to achieve racial equity (Revisiting Race-Neutral Politics)
* U.C. Berkeley professor of law Ian Haney Lopez writes that "colorblindness" jurisprudence and politics-on display in Arizona where the state's attorney general wants to strip funding from Mexican American studies programs-retards racial progress and foments new racial divisions (Blind Spot)
* Mark R. Warren, Harvard professor of education, argues that white Americans must embrace racial justice as their own cause if we hope to achieve widespread equity (The White Fight)
The report features the following articles on health disparities, residential integration, anti-immigrant sentiment, and youth activism:
* South Park, a small industrial community south of Seattle, battles health disparities that disproportionately affect people of color and the poor; (Home Disadvantage)
* The Chicago suburb Oak Park is a model for residential integration that could be replicated across the country with the right combination of local and federal policy-making and investment (Our Town)
* Residents of Fairfield, Ohio, a small Cincinnati suburb, bridge divides between natives and Latino immigrants despite an increasingly hostile, anti-immigration environment (The Melting Pot)
* By 2050, minorities will be the majority. A series of vignettes profiles youth activists of color who are trying to make a difference in their communities, which include Oakland, Calif., Miami, Fl., and American Indian reservations in Arizona. (Next Generation)