Lecture Preview

Elizabeth Anderson
"The Imperative of Racial Integration"
THursday October 6 at 4:30
BH 136A (Adamson Wing)

?How does one deal with diversity?? This is a question that applies to the world at large. Racial integration has been a significant research topic of Elizabeth S. Anderson, professor of philosophy and women?s studies at the University of Michigan. Anderson makes it clear that segregation continues to produce inequality on a global basis ? a dilemma solvable by integration alone.

Anderson will be presenting her lecture, ?The Imperative of Racial Integration,? as part of the LaPaglia Lecture Series on October 6 at 4:30 PM in Baker Hall 136A (Adamson Wing). A major issue she will be addressing is affirmative action, which, in Anderson?s mind, is a way of looking to the future.

Anderson presents this view in contrast to the compensatory notion, or the perspective that affirmative action?s purpose is to compensate for the historical suffering of African-Americans and Latino Americans. She believes that the true importance of affirmative action is its placement of minority group members in higher education and other areas, an especially important measure in a society whose highest socio-economic positions (i.e., corporate and managerial) are headed mostly by white Americans.

As Alex London, a professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon, points out, as time progresses, we become more detached from such signs of inequality as the Jim Crow laws and need fresh reminders of the inequality that still exists in the United States. ?You can?t have a photograph of it,? says London of racial and socio-economic differences.

Anderson also wishes to distinguish herself from the multi-culturalist view that racial problems result from cultural difference. Rather, Anderson points out that racial problems are a result of segregation, not cultural difference. Segregation and integration are worldwide issues, ranging from the integration of minorities in the European Union to that of Muslims in India.

College certainly plays a role in addressing this concern, says Anderson, as college is a pivotal stage in character development.

Anderson says that ?College is the place where people learn to create cross-cutting identities.? She goes on to say that ?It is for millions of Americans when they first experience ... real ethnic mixing.? Once students become more aware, they can become more active. Students are the ?engine for integration,? and integration depends upon their reaching out, says Anderson.

Anderson?s topics are eclectic, ranging from animal rights to economic value to democracy. At the focus of most of her research are the ideas of justice and parity in the U.S. In her forthcoming publication, ?Racial Integration as a Compelling Interest,? she looks at court cases dealing with desegregation and how they relate to affirmative action.

London says that this should be a ?thought-provoking lecture ... the way a lecture should be.?