The Narrative of Racial Progress

Monday, Oct. 21, 2024 (3:30 PM – 5 PM)

Michael Kraus

Northwestern University

In this talk, Michael Kraus will provide a broad overview of our research on the narrative of racial progress—the tendency for Americans to believe in the linear, automatic, and even natural march forward to racial equity and justice. The talk will begin with an overall orientation to Kraus’s research approach to inequality. From there, he will describe the theoretical background of this narrative, highlighting the psychological and structural drivers of the tendency to overestimate racial equality and progress toward achieving it. Along the way he will summarize the state of the evidence in support of racial progress beliefs. Having provided this summary, he will conclude by discussing some of our emerging efforts to promote more realistic conceptions of racial inequality, and how narratives of racial progress act as barriers to the actual achievement of racial equity.

Psychologist Michael W. Kraus studies how inequality fundamentally shapes the dynamics of human social interactions. His current research explores the behaviors and emotional states that maintain and perpetuate economic and racial inequality in society.

If you would like to meet with the speaker, please click here to contact Erin Loomas.