Scholar: Discussion Of Race Remains Critical Issue In America

Oct 21, 2014

Susan Glisson is the Executive Director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation based at the University of Mississippi. The group focuses on community building and youth engagement to support racial equity. She is among the speakers Tuesday night for an academic symposium. The topic is "Freedom '64: Education, Activism, and Civil Rights in America."

Credit NIU College of Education

Glisson says talking about race is often taboo because society favors a debate model instead of a dialogue model.

"Too often it is about trying to make your point and not listening to what someone has to say."

Glisson says it can also be difficult to localize issues of race.

"Far too often when we talk about race, we talk about big events like slavery, the Middle Passage, the rise of segregation and Jim Crow, or maybe a big incident when a celebrity makes a racist comment and there's a public outcry like with Paula Deen," Glisson said. "The problem is that we try to lump all of those conversations into one conversation on race, and we don't get anywhere.

Glisson says issues of race have played out differently in different parts of the country.

"The more specific we can get, the better we are at providing solutions in our own neighborhoods."

Featured speakers also include Wesley Hogan, Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, and Charles M. Payne, Jr., Frank P. Hixon Professor at the University of Chicago.

They will take part in a panel discussion and Q&A from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center in DeKalb.

The event is free and open to the public.

The College of Education is also hosting an alumni panel on Oct. 23. More information here.