Monday, March 7, 2016

Presidential elections always bring a resurgence of “the culture wars.”  Whether it’s civil marriage and LGBT rights, marijuana legalization, immigration reform, affirmative action, or government support for marginalized communities, these issues transcend typical partisan policy debates and enter a red-hot contest for who we are and what we value as a nation. The recent election has seen an explosion of racist and xenophobic rhetoric. What are the cultural causes underlying these political effects? How are culture and cultural change different than politics and political change? How can funders and grantees identify signposts of cultural shifts and utilize them in social-change work involving race, identity, equity and inclusion?

We posed these and other questions to Jeff Chang, director of Stanford’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts, who has brought pioneering insights into what he calls the “colorization of America.”  A fascinating examination of how the interplay between race, culture and politics has given rise to figures and movements such as President Obama, the Tea Party, Black Lives Matter, Dreamers, and Donald Trump, and what the future may hold for discourse in America.