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TWISC: Race Relations in South Carolina

February 15, 2019 - Posted in This Week in South Carolina by Tara Shepherd

This week host Gavin Jackson sits down with state Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg, and Dr. John Dozier, Chief Diversity Officer at the University of South Carolina, to discuss the state of race relations in the Palmetto State.  

Highlights

  • More than half of African Americans in the region report said that they have been discriminated against in the last year because of their race or ethnicity, while 18% of whites report such discrimination
  • 1 in 8 public schools is now intensely segregated with 90 percent or more minority students
  • Dr. John Dozier, Chief Diversity Officer at the University of South Carolina said, recognizing moments, having those important conversations, and creating conditions where everyone feels equally committed is an important step to stamping out racial intolerance and racial insensitivity in our community

A deep racial divide among whites and blacks remains in the South, according to the findings from a recent Winthrop poll and in South Carolina’s education system. While the south strives for unity, racist habits, incidents and rhetoric continue to permeate the fabric of society, but have also prompted conversations.

“While we have dealt with the legality of race, we have not dealt with the heart issues associated with race,” Dozier said. “We have not dealt with the the pain and history.”

Bamberg believes that now is a “pivotal point where Hispanics and other immigrants are facing discrimination much like African Americans did in the post-lynching era.”

Both agree there is so much work to be done, but that it shouldn’t stop when the conversation gets uncomfortable and people shy away. They see hope in young people who are more open to engaging across racial divides and are more inclined to see beyond the issues of the past and realize the world is changing.

Combatting diversity in the education system is a complex and drawn-out issue in the state. The education system is corrupt, rife with de facto segregation in some public schools. The Post and Courier’s “Minimally Adequate” series found one in eight schools are intensely segregated with a 90 percent minority rate. Much of that still depends on where you grew up.

Discussion about redrawing district lines to unify school systems was mentioned and Bamberg said, “There is a fine balance between choosing what type of community they want to have in the state and forcing those communities to be a certain way.” As we move forward, there will be a point in time where “you are either going to be left behind or on the train going forward.”

For change that is desired to happen everyone needs to come together to make a change. Until you address the flaws in the system, are we really going to expect individual people to easily move forward together? This is an ongoing conversation and realization that we exist and live together and by creating and acknowledging the issue, we will be able to move forward.

Guests: Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg and Dr. John Dozier

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