'Colorblind Racism' Theme for IWU Summit

A public Summit on New Frontiers in the Study of Colorblind Racism, May 12-14 at Illinois Wesleyan University, which will focus on the modern roots of racial bigotry and discrimination.

The summit is supported by the American Sociological Association Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline, in order to bring together scholars, a campus community, and a local public to invigorate new directions for research on contemporary racism. It will include presentations by scholars as well as workshop sessions meant to stimulate new methodologies, approaches, insights, and strategies for better understanding and challenging contemporary racism.

The summit features a keynote address by Charlene Carruthers, national director of the Black Youth Project, whose recognition includes being named one of the “New Leaders of Social Justice” and “One of America’s Most Daring Young Black Activists.” 

The summit will explore the idea that contemporary racial inequality is that of colorblindness -- the notion that individual or cultural differences best explain racial inequality, rather than ongoing racism and its past legacy.

Carruthers is a "black, queer feminist" community organizer and writer with more than 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. She currently serves as the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100 is an activist member-led organization of black 18-35 year olds dedicated to "creating justice and freedom for all black people."

Her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice, and civil rights campaigns nationwide. She has led grassroots and digital strategy campaigns for national organizations including the Center for Community Change, the Women's Media Center, ColorOfChange.org and National People's Action, as well as being a member of a historic delegation of young activists in Palestine in 2015 to build solidarity between black and Palestinian liberation movements.

Carruthers is the winner of the "New Organizing Institute 2015 Organizer of the Year Award." She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, where she currently resides and continues to lead and partake in social justice movements.