The President's Initiative on Race

Summary of Presentation to the Race Advisory Board
Dr. Derald Wing Sue

I believe that if we are to become a fair, just, and equitable society, we must begin to individually and institutionally address one of the most divisive concepts in our society. President Clinton's call for a constructive dialogue on "race" represents a major step in that direction. It will succeed, however, only if we are able to acknowledge our biases and preconceived notions; to be open and honest with one another; to hear the hopes, fears, and concerns of all groups in this society; to recognize how prejudice and discrimination hurts everyone; and to seek common solutions that allow for equal access and opportunities.

To accomplish the cultural mosaic of "One America" means several important things. First, overcoming our biased cultural conditioning means that each and everyone of us must confront ourselves. We must have a willingness to address internal issues related to personal belief systems, behaviors, and emotions when interacting with other racial groups. On an individual level, we must experience and learn about race and racism in order to check out the validity of our assumptions and understanding. Suggestions for how White Americans and other racial/ethnic minority groups can change individually will be given.

Second, to allow for equal access and opportunity in institutions (education, business and industry), we must attempt to change, refine, instill or create new policies, programs, practices, and structures which are fair to all groups. My work on institutions suggests several conditions which would facilitate and help organizations in that direction.

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