Chapman University’s Dr. Carty Welcomes NAC Scholars to Her Classroom
It was an unusual national holiday; school was out, but NAC scholars found themselves sitting in a Chapman University classroom alongside a dozen college students. The day was Monday, January 18, a holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader in the African American Civil Rights Movement. Fittingly, the lecture was part of a Sociology Interterm course focused on Social Stratification that walked students through different dimensions of inequalities of class and race in America. Associate Professor of Sociology at Chapman University, Dr. Victoria Carty, introduced the NAC scholars before Chapman students gave presentations and shared their findings from assigned chapters of Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
In the book, Michelle Alexander, Associate Professor of Law at Ohio State University and civil rights advocate, discusses issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States today. Up until 1965, Jim Crow laws were a set of state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in the United States.
Chapman student Callan Keeter opened up the series of presentations and discussed the first chapter in the book about the “Rebirth of Caste,” which reviews racial and social control in the United States, past and present. Another Chapman student, Kendra, discussed the second chapter of the book, titled, “The Lockdown,” which describes how the “War on Drugs” has expanded political powers and given incentives to the police, negatively impacting those who become ensnared by the prison system. During the discussion portion of Kendra’s presentation, NAC scholar Carlos Gonzalez stated, “Governments are focused too much on punishing rather than helping inmates find rehabilitation clinics or programs that better them.”
To close the presentations, Chapman student Kathleen Knight discussed chapter 3, “The Color of Justice,” which revealed how people of color are treated unfairly in the criminal justice system through a “picking and choosing” form of discretion.
After the classroom presentations and discussions, all of the students walked across the hall to the third floor patio of Beckman Hall and Argyros School of Business and Economics. There, NAC scholars and Chapman students shared their life stories with one another over a meal. “I hope that this experience helps etch at that wall that is often put up,” stated Carol Sandow, a member of the Chapman class of 2016, referring to the lack of incentive to invite curious high school students to a live college classroom setting.
NAC Scholar Sebastian Ayala said that Dr. Carty’s willingness to open up a classroom on her day off shows how forward thinking she is. In his own words, “A professor doing a lesson during a holiday is pretty significant, especially because not every professor would be open to that idea.”
Chapman University is ranked #7 by U.S. News & World Report as the best college in the Western portion of the United States. At Chapman, Dr. Carty focuses on social movements in the United States, Mexico, and Panama. Her interests are in public sociology, specifically regarding issues on immigration and homelessness in Orange County.
Click Here for a video highlight of the event