As the director of the race and ethnic studies program at Colorado College, I believe that our interdisciplinary work around the issue of race and ethnicity is very important to a liberal arts education. We cannot deny that in our country, race has played and continues to play an important role in allocating resources.
The fact that African Americans were not too long ago considered property, the fact that our institutions until quite recently promoted the segregation of people according to color, the fact that diﬀerences along races were enforced through laws banning mixed marriages or calling for the exclusion of Asians as unﬁt to ever become U.S. citizens, all these facts have had an enormous legacy in our society. But what is “race” to begin with? When did the idea of “race” even hatch? It turns out that while diﬀerences among people have always existed, these diﬀerences have not always been racialized. It turns out that accepting the concept of races commits us to the idea that there are some essential diﬀerences (intellectual, physical and moral) that mark each race. Even though today, this idea is no longer acceptable, we are still dealing with the repercussions of its profound impact on the worldview of our society for many generations.
This is why race and ethnic studies is an important interdisciplinary program. Faculty from all disciplines contribute their energy and expertise to shed light on these crucial issues.
Race and Ethnic Studies Program Colorado College