Skip to main content Skip to navigation
CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

WSU announces humanities fellows for 2015-16

2015-2016 Humanities Fellows
2015-2016 Humanities Fellows

Three professors – representing history, philosophy and ethnic studies – have been selected as Washington State University humanities fellows for the 2015-16 academic year. » More …

March 26: Photographer activist to speak, show work

Ayana V. Jackson
Ayana V. Jackson

Award-winning photographer and activist Ayana V. Jackson explores how Western historical archives have shaped ideas about non-Europeans in a free, public exhibit March 16-April 1 in the CUB gallery and in the Jo Hockenhull Distinguished Lecture at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the CUB auditorium. » More …

Inclusion is focus of Humanities Week events Feb. 17-19

David William Foster
David William Foster

Three free, public events highlighting the central and inclusive nature of the humanities will be held Tuesday-Thursday, Feb. 17-19, on the WSU campus and at Neill Public Library in Pullman. A reception will follow each event. » More …

5 Percent of White People Don’t Have Any Nonwhite Friends

David Leonard
David Leonard

A collective gasp of surprise went up this week after the Public Religion Research Institute released new survey data that found that 75 percent of white Americans have “entirely white social networks.” Yet our popular culture, the 800-percent rise in hate groups, the woefully homogenous workplaces at companies such as Google, an ever-widening wealth gap, and neighborhoods still segregated along racial lines should make it obvious that the postracial promised land heralded when President Obama was first elected does not exist.

“The data does not surprise me at all,” says David J. Leonard, an associate professor of critical culture, gender, and race at WSU. “Implicit biases and stereotypes shape friendships, and if we look at media, if we look at popular culture, if we look at education, we see a persistence in the circulation of stereotypes that recycle prejudices. Those assumptions about difference shape friendships and invariably impact how white people interact with African Americans,” he says.

Socializing in homogenous networks and communities affects white people’s ability to be empathetic to the struggles their contemporaries of another color face. It also increases the likelihood that white Americans will view their minority counterparts through a stereotypical lens.

To begin bridging the gap that may lead to more cross-cultural friendships down the line, Leonard argues the route is simple: People have to talk to each other, and white folks have to own their privilege.

“Whites rarely have the opportunity to talk about race, to be held accountable for privilege, and to have important conversations,” he says. “Lacking the language to talk about race and to engage cross-racially will impact white people’s ability and willingness to develop these friendships.”

Read more about the research in TakePart

Controversy over “Washington Redskins” team name remains unresolved

C. Richard King
C. Richard King

With the new National Football League season poised to kick off in early September, the Washington, D.C., franchise went to federal court Aug. 14 in an attempt to stem the hemorrhage of bad publicity and legal calamities the team encountered over the summer as it holds onto its racist nickname and logo which have been found to be offensive to Native Americans.

The team ownership and some of its fans insist they are “honoring” the bravery of Native Americans by imitating tribal dress and customs which for the most part they don’t understand. But C. Richard King, co-editor of Encyclopedia of Native Americans in Sports and professor of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at WSU, says those who believe that the name is an “honor” are simply holding onto a “sincere fiction.”

Read more about diverging perspectives of the name