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CCSS Statement on Systemic Racism

  • Cornell BLM Protest

CCSS, which developed from the former Institute for Social Sciences, has a long history of inclusion practices and supporting research that aims to understand and overcome bias and social inequalities. This research support includes collaborative projects on mass incarceration, US Deportation, and Contested Global Landscapes: Property, Governance, Economy, and Livelihoods on the Ground as well as funding research and conferences on topics such as immigration policy, health equity, and the effects of diversity statements in syllabi. And past CCSS Distinguished Speakers have focused on topics such as, democracy, hidden biases, racism and the new racial science, and poverty.

But these efforts, while important, are not enough. We believe a culture of anti-racist behaviors is critical to the mission of our organization. Therefore, we are meeting regularly as a unit to specifically discuss pathways toward deepening our understanding of systemic racism, bias, micro-aggression, and inequality. Here are some of the activities our center is deeply committed to undertaking both as a unit and as individuals:

Campus-wide Engagement

  • Isabel Wilkerson will give this year’s CCSS Distinguished Lecture in the Social Sciences on “Our Racial Moment of Truth.” Although originally scheduled for an on-campus event, we have transitioned to a high-quality virtual event that will be open to the entire Cornell community, including alumni and Tompkins County residents.

  • We are joining Cornell’s Community Book Read of How to Be an Antiracist and helped provide partner centers with access to this book.

  • Amplifying both the narrative experiences and research findings of our colleagues of color through social media, formal organizational settings, and informal conversations.

Internal Reflection and Change

  • Voluntarily attending formal workshops available at Cornell. To date, we have 100% attendance training on AllyShip.

  • We held a special training session for CCSS and all partner social science centers on July 20, hosted by Reginald Harris White, Director of Human Resources, Research Division, Cornell.

  • Deepening our understanding of the personal experiences of our colleagues by closely following the production of personal narratives such as #blackintheivory.

  • Examining our individual understanding of systemic racism by sharing resources together and conversing openly about our own perspectives and experiences.

  • Identifying ways to improve as individuals, including identifying our own racist actions and biases.

  • In addition to Cornell’s Community Book Read, engaging in a staff read of both of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration and committing to engage in potentially uncomfortable discussions about the content.

Focused Programming and Practices

  • CCSS opened a pool of funds to support social scientific investigation of systemic racism, including anti-racism, bias, Black Lives Matter, inequality, micro aggressions, policy brutality, and mass incarceration.

  • Supporting faculty of color, particularly in an effort to unburden our colleagues from, for example, being expected to educate us on racism and protecting fellowship time to prevent extensive service and trickle up of teaching loads.

  • CCSS is partnering with the Roper Center to support amplification of the voices of Black Americans by developing the largest historical collection of public opinion data from Black Americans.