In the wake of protests around the world, three experts from Washington University in St. Louis compared research and scholarly notes about systemic racism, potential societal change and the implications for teaching, research and higher education. Hedwig Lee, David Cunningham and Geoff Ward are engaged in a collective research project examining the legacies of racial violence. Read the full story here.



Highlights from the video


Hedwig Lee, professor of sociology and an expert in policing and social control, and racial and ethnic disparities in health: “People really want to see change in systems. Over policing, mass incarceration, disparities in COVID-19 – all of these things are linked together. Racism is not something of the past. People are opening their eyes to how racism operates today and understanding that not everyone has the same rights to their humanity. 


Geoff Ward, professor of African and African-American studies and an expert in the legacies of racial violence: “One of the things that’s encouraging about the movement now is there’s this emergence, kind of a solidification of the understanding of white supremacy as a system; and, a shift away from early sort of moments where the inclination was to think of racism as an individual-level psychological problem, a problem of prejudice and bias and sort of animus that afflicted certain people.”


David Cunningham, chair of the sociology department and author of Klansville, U.S.A.: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan “This is a time of great challenge, but it’s also a space within which we can double down on this mission to say that it’s impossible to think about a vibrant university moving forward that doesn’t engage these pressing issues in a way that’s relevant to students and relevant to the community and relevant to all of us as we work together.”