At a time when society is swiftly transforming, the Our Compelling Interests book series lays out the premise that for a democracy to thrive, diversity is critical. This vision comes as we are contemplating a changing social landscape. Major demographic changes taking place in America today necessitate a renewed discussion about diversity. The question we must now ask ourselves is whether we are indeed planning properly, and what shape that plan must take if we are to be successful and prosperous moving forward together. The series promises to explore diversity—in racial, socioeconomic, gender, religious, sexual, and other forms—through accessible, sophisticated, and balanced treatments by leading scholars, writers, intellectuals, and commentators.
This series launched in the fall of 2016 under the leadership and editing of Dr. Earl Lewis and Dr. Nancy Cantor. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Our Compelling Interests is one of the key projects housed at the University of Michigan's Center for Social Solutions. Its next planned volume will discuss the failure of colorblind solutions to unequal education in the U.S. Future volumes have been commissioned on educational testing, crime and incarceration, art and creativity, and education and social mobility. With the aid of a steering committee, additional publications are being conceived.
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Edited by Earl Lewis and Nancy Cantor
In his essay for the first installment of the Our Compelling Interests book series, demographer and author William H. Frey stated, “I am convinced that the United States is in the midst of a pivotal period ushering in extraordinary shifts in the nation’s racial demographic makeup. If planned for properly,” he continued, “these demographic changes will allow the country to face the future with growth and vitality..." The question we must now ask ourselves is whether we are indeed planning properly, and what shape that plan must take if we are to be successful and prosperous moving forward together.
The Our Compelling Interests series lays out the premise that for a democracy to thrive, diversity is critical. The initiative comes at a time when we are contemplating a changing societal landscape. The series promises to explore diversity—in racial, socioeconomic, gender, religious, regional, sexual, and other forms—through accessible, sophisticated, and balanced treatments by leading scholars, writers, intellectuals, and commentators. The goal is lively, informed analysis, not social or political bromides.
Written by Scott E. Page
What if workforce diversity is more than simply the right thing to do? What if diversity and inclusion can also improve the bottom line for businesses and other organizations facing complex challenges in the knowledge economy? It can. And The Diversity Bonus shows us how and why. In this volume, Scott Page, Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan and a thought leader whose ideas and advice are sought after by corporations, nonprofits, universities, and governments around the world, makes a clear and pragmatic case for diversity and inclusion.
Written by Eboo Patel
Will America’s identity as a Judeo-Christian nation shift as dozens of different backgrounds grow in numbers and influence? In what ways will minority religious communities have to adapt in order to be welcomed in American society? In addressing these and other questions, Eboo Patel shows how America’s promise is a guarantee of equal rights and dignity for all and how that promises the foundation of all of America’s unrivaled strength as a nation.
This volume also includes incisive commentaries by John Inazu, Robert Jones, and Laurie Patton on American civil religion, faith and law, and the increasing number of nonreligious Americans.
Written by Gary Orfield
In our unequal society, families of color fully share the dream of college but their children often attend schools that do not prepare them, and the higher education system gives the best opportunities to the most privileged. Students of color hope for college but often face a dead end.
For many young people, racial inequality puts them at a disadvantage from early childhood. The Walls around Opportunity argues that colorblind policies have made college inaccessible to a large share of students of color, and reveals how policies that acknowledge racial inequalities and set racial equality goals can succeed where colorblindness has failed.
Gary Orfield paints a troubling portrait of American higher education, explaining how profound racial gaps imbedded in virtually every stage of our children’s lives pose a major threat to communities of color and the nation. He describes how the 1960s and early 1970s was the only period in history to witness sustained efforts at racial equity in higher education, and how the Reagan era ushered in today’s colorblind policies, which ignore the realities of color inequality. Orfield shows how this misguided policy has resegregated public schools, exacerbated inequalities in college preparation, denied needed financial aid to families, and led to huge price increases over decades that have seen little real gain in income for most Americans.
Drawing on a wealth of new data and featuring commentaries by Stella Flores and James Anderson, this timely and urgent book shows how colorblind policies serve only to raise the walls of segregation higher, and proposes real solutions that can make higher education available to all.