Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School

Published on27 JUL 2020
Making Progress Towards Racial Equity

In this episode of Talks at GS, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad discusses his work studying the history of systemic racism in America and what the response to George Floyd's death means for the future of police reform.

On the movement in response to George Floyd’s death: “We’re in unchartered territory with regards to the scale and scope of these Floyd-inspired protests, but America has had a long capacity of embracing reform when it was necessary and then backsliding. So, it’s not clear to me that looking back on this moment in 25 years from now, will we be able to say, ‘Here we go again.’”

On how history can inform the present conversation around systemic racism in America: “We need to take this to kindergarten and we need to invest in a different version of American history in social studies, something that I'm calling ‘bias education’ or ‘universal bias education,’ because if we want children to grow up not seeing difference as deficiency, not seeing difference as God's sanctions, not recognizing that the Black and brown people generally push brooms and clean up people's homes and push strollers and you happen to grow up on the Upper East Side of New York, then we actually have to teach them that stratification is not God's sanction—that it's a legacy of our past, and we're working damn hard to close those gaps.”

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