Dr. Crystal Fleming '00 will be presenting "How To Be Less Stupid About Race" to Baldwin alumnae on Tuesday, Oct. 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Bringing critical race theory from the Ivory Tower to the masses, Crystal will explain how systemic racism exposes us all to racial ignorance and provides a road map for transforming our knowledge into anti-racist change.
Racial stupidity – in the form of misconceptions, misrepresentations and denial – is clearly an epidemic. And this is not a coincidence or a mistake: living in a racist society means that we absorb harmful ideas, stereotypes and biases. When left unchallenged, racial stupidity fuels discriminatory behavior, devalues the lives of black and brown people and reproduces the white supremacist status quo from one generation to the next. This wide-ranging talk will unveil the historical roots of racial stupidity and explore how racial non-sense manifests in pop culture, (mis)education, media, politics and personal relationships today. But recognizing racial stupidity is not enough — we have to actually do something about it. Crystal seeks to inspire and empower those of us committed to building a more just society by showing how to leverage our racial literacy for anti-racist activism.
Crystal is Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies and Associate Faculty in the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. She is an author, public intellectual and expert on global racism and white supremacy. She holds a Ph.D. and a masters degree in Sociology from Harvard University and graduated with honors in Sociology and French from Wellesley College. Her scholarship appears in journals such as The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Poetics, Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and Mindfulness.
Crystal has conducted research on racism and anti-racism in multiple national contexts and collaborated on empirical projects in the United States, France, Brazil and Israel. Her first book, Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France (Temple University Press, 2017), uses critical race theory to significantly advance scholarship on racism in France and Europe. Based on her award-winning dissertation, the book marshals ethnographic data, archival research and in-depth interviews with French activists and descendants of slaves to examine how commemorations of enslavement and abolition both challenge and reproduce the racial order.
Her latest book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide (Beacon Press), is a critically acclaimed primer on systemic racism that combines memoir, critical race theory, social commentary and satire to debunk common misconceptions about race.