“The Fallacy of a Post-Racial America:” Paper by CEO Emmett Carson says philanthropy must address issues of race and inequality

Emmett's Photo

Over the course of the past several months, tragic and disturbing news has again poured in from across the country – about the unwarranted killings of black men at the hands of law enforcement, the intentional killings of police officers and apparent hate crimes such as the massacre of people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. These events have brought great sorrow, anger, fear and frustration to people of all walks of life. They’ve also strengthened many people’s resolve that society must find solutions that will bring an end to senseless and racially oriented violence.

DownloadWhile SVCF’s CEO and president, Emmett Carson, was a visiting Scholar at the Clinton School of Public Policy at the University of Arkansas, he wrote a paper titled “Foundations and the Fallacy of a Post-Racial America: African American Men and Civic Engagement.” In it, he proposes that philanthropic foundations have a responsibility to address, “consistently with their values and mission statements,” race-specific approaches to addressing the factors underlying not just racial violence, but underlying the economic inequalities that still affect people of color across this country.

The paper has just been published by the Center on Community Philanthropy at the Clinton School in Community Philanthropy and Public Service, a compendium of works by the center’s visiting scholars. Dr. Carson added a postscript to the work in which he expresses hope that the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (begun in 2014) and the Black Lives Matter movement will keep bringing public attention to systemic injustice.

From the paper’s conclusion:

Engaging all Americans in the civic discourse that distinguishes American democracy requires a celebration and respect for diversity, not the belief in a false and circular ideology of a post-racial America in which everyone is presumed to have achieved colorlessness. To lift the burden of race, we must be able to talk about it.

You can read the entire compendium of essays from the visiting Scholars at the Clinton School of Public Service’s Center on Community Philanthropy for more insight on models of giving, civic engagement and leadership development.