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Phone: 607-753-2705
Fax: 607-758-5006

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02/13/2012

Noted Scholar Will Discuss 21st Century Racism

Joe Feagin, a noted sociologist who enlisted students from campuses around the country to keep diaries that chronicled the everyday racism still plaguing the United States., will speak on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at SUNY Cortland.

Feagin, the Ella C. McFadden Professor in Sociology at Texas A&M University and the former president of the American Sociological Association, will give two presentations as part of the College’s Black History Month (BHM) series of events during February.

Feagin will offer “Racial Diaries of White and Black Students: No Post-Racial America,” during a seminar at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 105. Earlier in the day, he will present “Racial History My Teacher Never Told Me” at 12:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Feagin’s publications have won him several national and professional association prizes including the American Sociological Association’s Oliver C. Cox Book Award in 1996 for White Racism: The Basics (1995).

His evening seminar will be an in-depth analysis of more than 1,000 students’ racial diaries. The students, who kept an account of all racial interactions for eight to 10 weeks, were from 28 different colleges throughout the U.S.

“It’s hard to surprise me,” said Feagin, the author or co-author of 58 published books, including the text Ghetto Revolts: The Politics of Violence in American Cities (1973). The book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

“I have been doing this for a while, but the level of blatant racism among white students was a little shocking,” Feagin said.

He will share the diaries of multiple students during the seminar.

“We have a very deep foundation of racial oppression. We are living in a country that still operates under a constitution made by slave-owners,” said Feagin, former scholar-in-residence at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

During his seminar, Feagin will touch upon the way racism has evolved over the decades.

“The younger generation has learned to hide their racist actions when they are in public,” he said. “But they do a lot behind closed doors, whether it be posting stuff on their Facebook or making racist jokes with their friends.

“There really is no post-racial America,” Feagin concluded.

In his afternoon discussion, Feagin will cover the history that rarely makes it into textbooks, including slaves’ significant contributions to the American Revolution.

“The Revolutionary War probably would have been a draw if it were not for the 200,000 black soldiers that fought in it,” Feagin said.

“It is common for people to think Lincoln freed the slaves, but, the slaves freed the slaves,” remarked Feagin, a current member of the Association of Black Sociologists who received a Ph.D. in sociology at Harvard University.

The Africana Studies Department has organized BHM events for the College since the late 1970s. BHM campus events will be posted online under Featured Events on the College’s home page and on the Africana Studies Department and the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office websites. Events are open to the public and free unless otherwise noted.

For more information about Black History Month, contact organizer Seth Asumah, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science, at (607) 753-2064, or in Old Main, Room 208-B.