Part of the Lifelong Fellowship portfolio, The Scholars’ Library is a monthly book talk series, where Rhodes alumni can come together to present, discover and debate their literary works. If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to Georgie Thurston at firstname.lastname@example.org
For our May event, we are pleased to invite you to take part in a conversation with Nina Yancy (Texas & New College 2013) on her book How the Color Line Bends. Moderated by a Scholar in Residence, amongst other topics, Nina will speak about anti-Black prejudice among White Americans, the significance of local geography for US racial politics, and her experience as a Black woman talking to White people about race in the US South.
In 2019, a group of Louisianans voted to create a new city in part of the Baton Rouge area. The effort drew attention not only because the decision would create a disproportionately White and wealthy city, but also because it would leave the area’s considerably poorer, majority-Black school district behind. As this story suggests, local geography, politics, and prejudice are linked in American racial politics. This book explores the relationship between where White Americans live and their attitudes about race.
In How the Color Line Bends, Nina M. Yancy shows that what White people think depends on where they live—but not, as conventional wisdom might suggest, because they are more likely to feel “threatened” where race is salient. Rejecting this tendency to tacitly position White Americans as victims, this book focuses on power, agency, and positionality in the study of prejudice and place. Yancy looks at the White perspective through a number of racialized issues, including education, affirmative action, and welfare spending in cities across the United States, as well as a vivid case study of Baton Rouge. Being explicit about Whites Americans’ racialized vantage point allows us to better appreciate the capacity of prejudice to ebb and flow in response to local conditions across a diverse nation. Yancy also illustrates why the “color line” remains relevant—if we appreciate the ability of that line to harden or soften, but not necessarily break.
You can obtain a copy of How the Color Line Bends here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/how-the-color-line-bends-9780197599433?
Nina Yancy (Texas & New College 2013) is a consultant, writer, and Rhodes Scholar based in Brooklyn, New York. Her recent book is based on her DPhil in Politics, which she completed at Oxford. Nina now works at McKinsey and Company, where she serves clients across federal, state, and local government, as well as in the social sector, with a focus on workforce and economic development, re-skilling for the future of work, and promoting racial equity. Nina also is a contributor to the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility, where she has co-authored research on topics including financial inclusion and Black entrepreneurship, and is currently helping to produce a creative project about the economic state of Black America.
There is no cost to attend this event, and we hope that all will join us! If you would like to support The Rhodes Trust, please consider giving time through volunteering, or giving a gift to the Scholars Fund. A generous Scholar Alum is providing a matching fund of up to $200,000 USD, and Scholars making their first gift, or their first gift since 2016, will be matched 1:1. If you are interested in our volunteering opportunities, they can be found on our website.
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