Race and Power: History | Summary and Q&A

December 7, 2020
Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Race and Power: History


Professors Carson and Crew discuss the importance of history, understanding motivations, and creating narratives to address racism and societal divisions in the United States.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What should we look for to determine if history is shifting in terms of racial equality in the United States?

Professors Carson and Crew emphasize the need to understand and address the deep-seated racial divide in America, as well as the power dynamics and interests that influence voting patterns. They highlight the importance of shifting the balance of power and enacting policies that promote equality and inclusivity.

Q: How do historians reconcile the shift in attitudes reported by white Americans about race, while voting patterns haven't shifted to the same extent?

Professors Carson and Crew agree that understanding the motivations of white Americans is crucial. They analyze the impact of political ideologies, racial privilege, and the desire to maintain the status quo. They also highlight the need for empathy, dialogue, and a deeper understanding of the history and motivations behind voting patterns.

Q: How should we approach the removal of Confederate monuments and the renaming of buildings named after controversial historical figures, while preserving history?

Professors Carson and Crew believe that context and historical provenance are important. They suggest creating spaces, such as parks or museums, where statues can be relocated and accompanied by conversations and learning opportunities. They also emphasize the need to present a full picture of historical individuals and events, acknowledging their shortcomings while highlighting their impact on history.

Q: How can historians address the reactionary response from individuals who feel their history or culture is being taken away from them?

Professors Carson and Crew encourage understanding the motivations behind reactionary responses. They discuss the importance of narratives and the need for a sense of self-respect and self-worth for all individuals. They highlight the potential benefits of empathetic conversations, creating connections, and addressing economic concerns to bridge divides.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Professors Carson and Crew discuss the historic moment of Kamala Harris becoming the first African-American woman elected as Vice President of the United States.

  • They express cautious optimism for change but also highlight the need to understand the deep-seated racial divide in America and the challenge of transforming perspectives.

  • The conversation explores the importance of addressing power dynamics, embracing diversity, confronting racism, and creating spaces for open dialogue and learning.

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