MADISON, Wis.– The Ethnic Studies department is working to get to the root of racial inequalities.
The Department and the Ferguson to Madison movement say that many problems start with education.
“How can we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we came from?” said Black Lives Matter representative Brandi Grayson.
That was the biggest question Friday night that UW-Madison faculty and the Black Lives Matter movement were trying to answer.
UW-Madison professor Pamela Oliver said that ethnic studies classes are one answer to that question.
“It gives you the background and context. Our job as teachers is to give each new generation of young people—both people of color and white people enough background to understand the history of this country, to understand where these issues relate,” Oliver said.
But the biggest problem facing ethnic studies at this university is lack of resources.
Associate Professor Karma Chavez said this lack of resources is frustrating.
“The University claims that diversity and inclusion are an important part of its mission. And yet, the very programs designed to help students learn diverse histories and feel included on this campus are treated like third class citizens,” Chavez said.
Grayson said we should start talking about how to fix this lack of resources.
“It’s important that we do better as a community to force the issue on campus about why is it an underfunded program on campus,” said Grayson.
With Walker’s proposed budget, many dollars would be cut from the University of Wisconsin system.
The Ethnic Studies department is very small…so there would not be much left there to cut.