Letter from the Chair

June 1, 2020

Dear Friends, 

            The protests during the past week over the murder of George Floyd (and many others) have brought to the forefront of our national attention the racial injustices against blacks in the US and elsewhere. Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect – no one should be seen as suspect because of their race or other intersectional identities and personal attributes. I am writing to convey my broad support to our students, staff, and faculty during this distressing time, but I offer these sentiments especially to those who live under the multigenerational and daily oppression of racism. Some of us are reminded every so often that race is important, but others live with this realization in every moment of their lives. 

As all of you know, many of Yale Sociology Department’s faculty and students are actively engaged in research that informs current and future discussions of these important problems. Sterling Professor Elijah Anderson has spent his entire career writing about the lives of blacks in the US, and his recent work on white spaces is far-reaching and timely. Many other colleagues and I have written about racial disparities in a range of socioeconomic outcomes. 

Our students are in the midst of producing groundbreaking and highly relevant research. PhD candidate Philip McHarris just published an op-ed in The New York Times on policing this morning (the link is in our News section dated June 1, 2020). Other students, including but not limited to, Demar Lewis, Patrice Collins, Kalisha Dessources, Stephane Andrade, Craig Holloway, Tony Cheng, and Kayla Thomas work on a variety of research topics including the carceral state, lynching, the school-to-confinement pathways, the effects of incarcerated parents on children, policing-community relations, and so forth. Recent graduates such as Roger Baumann, Esther Chan, and current students such as Hannah Tessler, Meera Choi, Chloe Sariego, and Keitaro Okura work in areas on other racial and ethnic groups that inform our understanding of race relations more generally. 

I am also grateful for the messages of support that President Peter Salovey, Deans Lynn Cooley and Marvin Chun, and Tamar Gendler issued over the past weekend. 

I wish all of you well, and please stay safe and healthy. 

Best, Grace 

Chair & IBM Professor