Elijah Anderson: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week: Black in White Space

MLK Day Postcard

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week: Black in White Space

Powerful stereotypes of “the ghetto,” long-entrenched in generations of Americans’ psyche, continue to permeate. Today, routine activities, like birdwatching in Central Park or jogging in a Brunswick neighborhood, elicit jarring and sometimes even fatal responses that involve police and citizens. With increased attention from the national media on these incidents, we must ask ourselves, “what about these events stands out, and why?” For Elijah Anderson, Sterling Professor of Sociology at Yale, the answer couldn’t be more evident. 

In what Publishers Weekly calls a “penetrating ethnographic study,” Anderson’s new book, Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life, argues that “symbolic racism” connects people of color to crime and poverty in the American psyche, regardless of social status or economic position. Together with Grand Valley State University’s Division of Inclusion and Equity, the Hauenstein Center was proud to welcome Anderson to the stage during Grand Valley’s week of events in commemoration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Elijah Anderson is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University. He is one of the leading urban ethnographers in the United States. His publications include “Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City” (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; “Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community” (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology; and the classic sociological work, “A Place on the Corner” (1978; 2nd ed., 2003). “The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life”, was published by WW Norton in 2011, and his latest ethnographic work, “Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life,” will be published by Chicago University Press in January 2022. Professor Anderson is the recipient of numerous professional awards, most recently, the 2021 Stockholm Prize in Criminology.

Elija Anderson Image

Video from the event

Elija Anderson

Page last modified January 27, 2022