"The Color Bind," Co-Authored by Erica Gabrielle Foldy, Debuts at NYU Wagner
Erica Gabrielle Foldy and Tamara R. Buckley’s The Color Bind: Talking (and Not Talking) About Race at Work investigates a stubborn American phenomenon: The taboo nature of race in our work places – and how to transcend it.
Just published by the Russell Sage Foundation, The Color Bind was the focus of a well-attended dialogue held at NYU Wagner on Feb. 26. The conversation included the co-authors as well as Melody Barnes, Senior Fellow at NYU Wagner and Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives at New York University. Wagner and its Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) co-sponsored the book launch. More than 125 people attended, filling all the seats in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue and enlivening the audience Q&A portion of the program.
Foldy is Associate Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management at Wagner; Buckley is Associate Professor of Counseling at Hunter College and Psychology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Their in-depth book grew out of Foldy's direct observation, over many months, of child welfare workers at one social services agency. At first she anticipated that, given the nature of their work, child welfare case workers would bring discussions of race into their team meetings readily. Instead, she found “the color bind” operating in full force, blunting the creativity, morale, and effectiveness of the teams.
One team at the agency, however, broached race and ethnicity regularly, without signs of defensiveness or worries of recrimination. Professors Foldy and Buckley dug into what made this team unique, gleaning some crucial lessons for social service organizations, advocacy groups, public agencies, schools, health providers, and many others.
In any organization, be it in the nonprofit, public, or private sector, the journey out of “the color bind” begins with mindfulness by its leaders that race matters. That’s the initial step towards fostering an atmosphere where employees can discuss fraught topics freely, and where “cultural competency,” or having the skills to communicate about race, ethnicity, and culture, can be developed, the authors said.
“Race is ever-present,” said Buckley. “The taboo of it often keeps us quiet about it. What we’re trying to do is show the assets that race brings to us in all the different kinds of conversations that we have.”
Professor Buckley, who is African American, and Professor Foldy, who is white, surfaced their own sometimes-clashing perspectives about race during the writing process. But in crossing lines that often keep others separated, both of them found that they could deepen their knowledge and advance their shared mission.
Talking about race is rarely smooth or simple, Foldy explained. “If you are going to enter this territory, you have to live with the fact that you are going to make mistakes.”
The Color Bind is published by the Russell Sage Foundation.
"There's nothing comparable to public service" - Former Mayor Edward I. Koch [Video]
Former New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch, who died in the early-morning hours Feb. 1, led an informative, entertaining hour of discussion in the fall of 2010 at NYU Wagner about his eventful three terms at City Hall – years that sparked a remarkable turnaround in the condition and character of much of New York City, noticeable to this day.
Joining Koch was Jonathan Soffer, NYU Polytechnic associate professor of history and author of a critically acclaimed biography, Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City (Columbia University Press, 2010), as well as Wagner's dean Ellen Schall, who introduced Koch as “my mayor," noting that she had worked extensively for city government, including as the commissioner of juvenile justice.
“City government, I say to all my students, is really the most amazing opportunity,” she commented. “It allows you to work on incredibly important issues, have much more authority as a young person that you have any reason to have, and make a huge amount of difference.”
Koch spoke passionately about the merits of embarking on a career in public service.
“There’s nothing comparable to public service,” he said. “More than saying ‘How am I doin’?’ … more than that I said 10,000 times that public service is the most noble profession if it’s done honestly and if it’s done well. And that’s why people serve. There’s nothing like it.”
In this videotape of the Oct. 14, 2010 conversation at Wagner, the former mayor begins speaking at marker 15:48.
'Code For Change' Tech Competition Launched to Design New Apps for the Public Good
In partnership with the largest organizations supporting technological development in the nonprofit sector, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University will launch a new competition in September, challenging tech developers to design new applications to address some of the most pressing public issues facing New Yorkers.
The school and its partners—One Economy, Code for America, NPower and Blue Ridge Foundation—have begun evaluating major challenges from government agencies and nonprofits seeking to enter the “Code For Change” competition. Team formation begins on September 28, and prizes include $10,000 in cash to support application development, VC and mentor lunches and potential support from local foundations.
Code for Change will be a twist on the traditional 24- or 36-hour hackathon, because participating developers will spend two weeks working on their concepts, culminating in the judging at NYU Wagner on Friday, October 12.
Code for Change will look for tech applications that will lead to improvements with a broad public purpose, be they in education, emergency readiness, voting, social services, or other areas of public interest and public service.
Code for Change is made possible by generous support from Motorola Mobility Foundation and Liquidnet.
Anyone interested in entering the contest can create challenges, join teams, and view rules and other details at www.applicationsforgood.org, a platform for designers created by the global nonprofit One Economy.
'Nest' Program for Autistic Kids Grows
Dorothy Siegel of NYU's Institute for Education and Social Policy helped the city Department of Education to create the "Nest" program for autistic children in 2003. According to a May 25, 2007, article in the New York Daily News, this successful program, which puts kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the same class with other students, is growing. Come September, it will be available to 200 kids. Once it is implemented across the city, it could benefit as many as 2,000 children.
Founded in 1995, the Institute for Education and Social Policy is a partnership between the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. It conducts scientific research about U.S. education and related social policy issues to help inform educational institutions about the effectiveness of instructional programs, the impact of school reform initiatives, and the relationships between academic achievement, school finance and socio-economic and demographic factors such as poverty, ethnicity and immigration status. It is led by Wagner Professors Amy Ellen Schwartz (director) and Leanna Stiefel (associate director).
To read the article, click below.
'Operation Impact' in the News
Dennis Smith, NYU Wagner Associate Professor for Public Policy, was recently interviewed about New York City policing and his study of the New York Police Department's "Operation Impact" by the BBC and, separately, by a Brazilian news program (go to link below, click video box No. 2, then click new video titled "Tolerencia"). The interviews are part of the elevated profile that his recent research work on "Operation Impact," a method of hot-spot policing, has received. Professor Smith's expertise was also called upon by The New York Times. The newspaper interviewed him in December, 2007, about the overall effectiveness of the policing program (link to the article below).