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Schools, Universities Can Confront Racism By Talking About It

University students sit in a classroom
Tulane Public Relations
Schools and universities play an important role in helping students process and learn after racial trauma.

In 2016, a 43-year-old black man named Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police about a mile away from the main campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The shooting sparked demonstrations in the student body, but the administration was slow to respond. 

In the aftermath of the shooting and protests, Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at UNC-Charlotte, conducted a study analyzing the university’s response and recommending ways that the institution could have guided professors in starting conversations about race and meeting the needs of students after the traumatic event. In the wake of George Floyd's shooting, Benson contributed to a piece for Education Week on how school educators should respond.

Benson talks with host Frank Stasio about the role of higher education in establishing racial literacy among its students. They also discuss the relationship between the police force and K-12 education system in North Carolina.

Kaia Findlay is a producer for Embodied, WUNC's weekly, live talk show on health, sex and relationships. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.