MSU professor says white people need to “get uncomfortable” about race

Jul 16, 2015

MSU professor Donna Rich Kaplowitz visited the South Carolina church where nine people were slain last month just hours before the shootings. She offers her thoughts on the current state of race relations in America.

Donna Rich Kaplowitz
Credit Courtesy MSU Residential College in the Arts and Humanities

It’s been nearly a month since the horrific shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The murder of nine African-Americans at the hands of a 21-year-old white gunman failed to produce the “race war” that the accused, Dylann Roof, claimed he wanted to start. The incident prompted the state of South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from public display at the state capitol, moving it instead into a museum.

Current State speaks with Donna Rich Kaplowitz, an assistant professor of international relations in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. She was inside Mother Emanuel Church on June 17, some two hours before the shooting. Shortly after returning to Michigan, she wrote an opinion article in the Lansing State Journal in which she offers a sort of road map for how white people might address issues of race going forward.