Seminar to examine program on racial issues

By Kevin Lyons

Racial issues in America are the hottest topics in the country right now in the midst of the L.A. policemen’s trial and the Social Science Research Institute will dive in Monday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. with a seminar on “The Issue is Race: A Crisis in Black and White.”

“It will be a very robust discussion on an issue that won’t go away,” said Keenan Grenell, professor of African American studies.

Grenell, coordinator of the event sponsored by the Social Science Research Institute, promised serious discussion on a serious documentary series which ran on PBS in October.

The documentary is broken into three basic ideologies of the intellectual race debate with a panel of experts from across the political spectrum.

The three theories presented will be: “A Case for Government Assistance” by Sylvester Monroe of Time Magazine, “A Case for Self-Help” by Tony Brown, a black-conservative writer and “A Case for Multi-racial Awareness” by Princeton University President Cornel West.

Grenell is encouraging primarily graduate students and academics to attend what he expects to be a very engaging discussion.

Monroe will examine the merits of government assistance and discuss Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes, arguing that the government should be providing more assistance.

Brown contends that the black middle class should take the responsibility for the plight of others professing a social responsibility theory on their part.

West will be promoting the ideal of the “merger of ideas and dreams” similar to higher education’s typical call for “unity in diversity.”

The documentary film is moderated by Phil Donahue with a discussion panel including Washington, D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, rapper Sister Souljah, Jonathon Silber, president of Boston University and others.

After the film is shown the floor will be open for discussion for one hour followed by a wine and cheese reception.

“All types of theories will be dialoguing with one another,” Grenell said. “The discussion starts with the issue of race and the fact that it hasn’t vanished.”

Grenell said the seminar should provoke serious thought and raise questions as to why after all this discussion on race nothing has changed.

Among other things, the question of “what is the common thread that brings us all together?” will be brought to light.