‘Far From a Post Racial Society’ says Douglas Blackmon at SUNY Oswego Lecture

As part of SUNY Oswego’s Race Place Being series, Pulitzer Prize winning author Douglas A. Blackmon visited campus to give a lecture to faculty and students about his book “Slavery by Another Name.”

Photo by James Walters
Photo by James Walters

While Blackmon’s lecture focused on approximately the 80 years between the end of the Civil War to World War 2, he would go on say something that left students like Ian Dembling dumbfounded and stunned.

“I was shocked (Blackmon) said that. Personally, I think that is the wrong message to send to students,” Dembling said.

What Dembling was referring to Blackmon’s statement, “The psychology of White people in America is that we are, whether we know it or not, we are just a lot more comfortable, generally speaking, if a whole lot of black men are contained somewhere.”

Watch Blackmon’s statement:

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSOwAJAn6ashttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-1VoSth_ag&feature=youtu.be” width=”420″ height=”440″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-1VoSth_ag&feature=youtu.be[/su_youtube]

WRVO'S Ryan Delaney
Photo by WRVO

WRVO’s Ryan Delaney reported last November that Syracuse suffers from “hyper-segregation” and according to a report from CNY Fair Housing, “Of particular concern for the purposes of identifying impediments to fair housing choice, are areas in which there are both high concentrations of poverty as well as racial and ethnic minorities.”

According to Delaney’s report  “A practice of only placing affordable housing in low-income neighborhoods, combined with the fact that few landlords outside those blocks are willing to accept housing vouchers, has resulted in Syracuse being one of the most segregated cities in the country”

What Blackmon says seems to stand up, but what about the actual statistics? Statistics on dosomething.org, an organization that strives to “make the world suck less”, in 2009 ⅔ of people receiving life sentences were “non-white.”

Race Place Being Logo
Photo from SUNY Oswego

According to statistics, Blackmon’s point seems to be valid. Blackmon’s lecture was part of a series of events hosted by SUNY Oswego, Syracuse Stage, and the ArtRage Gallery called “Race, Place, Being.” Race, Place, Being is a semester long series of events that focuses on topics of race and identity in the culture of current times and the past. The goal is to use these events to understand the current climate of racial tensions in the country and the world and maybe work past it.