The American Sociological Association recently issued a statement on the importance of teaching and learning about race and racism in the nation’s public schools as well as on college and university campuses.
The association strongly rejects efforts by many states to curtail the teaching of courses dealing with race.
“As experts in the study of social life, change, and the causes and consequences of human behavior, sociologists recognize that race is a socially constructed concept, not a biological or natural one,” according to the statement. “We understand race as a dynamic classification system that has been used to create hierarchies and determine access and opportunities for different people based on factors such as color, culture, heritage, and location. Racism — marked by power, domination, and violence — has been pervasive in societies throughout history. Even though formal forms of racism have been outlawed through constitutional amendments and civil rights laws, their impact is still present in economic and political institutions, leading to persistent disparities among racial groups in areas such as criminal justice, education, health, housing, and income.”
The American Sociological Association urges public officials, educators, and lawmakers to avoid suppressing knowledge, violating academic and free speech, and prohibiting scholars and teachers from discussing and teaching about the roles of race and racism in society.
“The prohibition of discussions of race and racism, and related inequalities, disadvantages, and advantages, threatens our democracy more than any education that exposes the causes and practices of building a more just society,” the statement reads.