News

Mass. State Rep. Calls on University VP to Increase Transparency for Allston Multimodal Project

News

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow Made $1.1 Million in 2020, Financial Disclosures Show

News

Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp To Step Down

News

81 Republican Lawmakers File Amicus Brief Supporting SFFA in Harvard Affirmative Action Lawsuit

News

Duke Senior’s Commencement Speech Appears to Plagiarize 2014 Address by Harvard Student

New Race Relations Handbook Distributed

By Leondra R. Kruger

The 1995 edition of the Handbook on Race Relations was distributed to undergraduates yesterday, marking the fourth year of the guide's publication.

Published by the office of Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, the handbook provides an A-to-Z list of the resources provided by the College to students and faculty interested in issues of race and ethnicity.

The guide covers everything from how to handle incidents of racial harassment to a listing of instructors who offer courses in ethnic studies.

According to Epps, the University resources for dealing with issues of race relations have changed significantly since the handbook was first published in 1992.

Since then, the Harvard Mediation Service has been established, diversity training has become mandatory for first-year students and, Epps said, there have been fewer reports of racial harassment.

"Last year we did not have a single incident on campus," Epps said. "This year we've had several...but on the whole I give [College race relations] a very high grade."

The principal service of the handbook, Epps said, is to provide "a mapping of the resources that are available," but it is also designed to "develop of more sophisticated understanding of race among students."

In line with this goal, this year's handbook also features an article by Professor of Sociology Mary C. Waters, who teaches the popular course Sociology 60: "Race and Ethnic Relations" and has written extensively about race relations in the U.S.

Her essay, "Some Thoughts on Race Relations at Harvard," begins with a summary of the comments Waters receivedfrom students enrolled in her race relationscourse.

White students in the course tended to makestatements such as, "Why do blacks separatethemselves all the time?" and "I feel like if youare not an oppressed person your voice does notcount."

Black students, on the other hand, madecomments such as, "I came here to get an educationand I am tired of educating ignorant whites whowant to know more about black people."

Waters said the responses she received from herclass in some senses indicate the diversity ofperspectives in the College as a whole.

"There are a number of asymmetries in theexperiences of black and white students that leadto different expectations of themselves and eachother," Waters wrote.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Waters saidshe wanted to convey two main messages toundergraduate readers: first, that everyone'sperspective on race relations comes from pastexperiences, and second, that developing racialsensitivity is not an easy task.

"It's something you have to work at," Waterssaid. "It's not automatic."

Waters ended her article with therecommendation that the University requirestudents to take at least one course on racerelations.

Epps said though he doesn't favor requiring arace relations course, he believes one such courseshould be added to the offerings of the corecurriculum.

He added that the University should "makeprogress in offering a wider range of courses inethnic studies in the United state."

In the years since she taught the class onwhich the article is based, Waters said, theracial climate at the College has improved.

"Race relations are somewhat better than theyused to be," Waters said, attributing theimprovement to the "moral leadership" that Harvardhas shown over the past few years.

"I think the most important thing is that theUniversity has made it a priority," Waters said.

Leaders of several student ethnicorganizations, however, said they weren't evenaware that the new handbooks had been distributed.

The guide is currently available at some of theundergraduate dining halls and the Dean ofStudents office in University Hall

White students in the course tended to makestatements such as, "Why do blacks separatethemselves all the time?" and "I feel like if youare not an oppressed person your voice does notcount."

Black students, on the other hand, madecomments such as, "I came here to get an educationand I am tired of educating ignorant whites whowant to know more about black people."

Waters said the responses she received from herclass in some senses indicate the diversity ofperspectives in the College as a whole.

"There are a number of asymmetries in theexperiences of black and white students that leadto different expectations of themselves and eachother," Waters wrote.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Waters saidshe wanted to convey two main messages toundergraduate readers: first, that everyone'sperspective on race relations comes from pastexperiences, and second, that developing racialsensitivity is not an easy task.

"It's something you have to work at," Waterssaid. "It's not automatic."

Waters ended her article with therecommendation that the University requirestudents to take at least one course on racerelations.

Epps said though he doesn't favor requiring arace relations course, he believes one such courseshould be added to the offerings of the corecurriculum.

He added that the University should "makeprogress in offering a wider range of courses inethnic studies in the United state."

In the years since she taught the class onwhich the article is based, Waters said, theracial climate at the College has improved.

"Race relations are somewhat better than theyused to be," Waters said, attributing theimprovement to the "moral leadership" that Harvardhas shown over the past few years.

"I think the most important thing is that theUniversity has made it a priority," Waters said.

Leaders of several student ethnicorganizations, however, said they weren't evenaware that the new handbooks had been distributed.

The guide is currently available at some of theundergraduate dining halls and the Dean ofStudents office in University Hall

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags