LR to offer an exploration of race in America in free 14-week online class

Spurred by reaction to The New York Times’ 1619 Project, the academic approach of Critical Race Theory has recently come under fire. Much of the fervor has centered on a misunderstanding of this approach and has led to resistance to exploring the very real influence of race and racism in society at both individual and systemic levels.

To that end, Lenoir-Rhyne University professors Summer Carrol, Ph.D., and Taylor Newton, Ph.D., are leading an online 14-week class, Race Matters: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Race in America, free and open to the general public.

Students enrolled in the Race Matters class will navigate racial tensions from different viewpoints to gain a fuller understanding of the complex issues of race and racism at the heart of the nation. The course will be taught by 14 faculty members, each exploring race through a different disciplinary lens every week.

Students will have the opportunity to study, discuss and apply course content in a collaborative community. The course is offered in an online format with weekly reading materials and assignments culminating in a Thursday night livestream webinar each week.

“I’m excited about the community aspect of the class,” said Carrol. “Opening the class to members of our local community here in Hickory and to the local communities of our other campuses in Asheville and Columbia, South Carolina, means we’ll all have the opportunity to learn and grow together.”

Newton agreed and added, “I’m also excited to have the opportunity to learn from experts from so many disciplines as well as from special guests from our community who can offer perspectives that complement the academic approach we professors usually take.”

Course Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to integrate knowledge from different disciplines to develop a more thorough understanding of race and racism. Students will also be able to identify contributors to and consequences of racism at individual and systemic levels and to articulate and reflect on individual and systemic ramifications of living in a racialized society.

More Information

The Race Matters class is available for three course credits to currently enrolled Lenoir-Rhyne students and is also offered as a free, not-for-credit class to the general public, Lenoir-Rhyne graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff. The class begins the week of January 17. For more information and to register, please visit

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