About the Center

 The Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics started in January of 2006 funded by Dean Scott Waugh of the Social Sciences Division at UCLA and headed by Director Mark Q. Sawyer of the Department of Political Science and the Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies Center.

   The aim of the Center is to explore the important role that race, and ethnicity play in modern societies. The center seeks to examine race, and ethnicity at the local level, at the international level, and comparatively. In order to accomplish this the Center supports outside speakers and brings together faculty, students, and community members in Los Angeles who are interested in the topic.

   The Center also takes advantage of the unique laboratory that Los Angeles provides. It has conducted a large-scale survey exploring the racial attitudes of major groups in the Los Angeles area. The survey examines the racial attitudes, especially those developing among minority groups like African Americans, Latinos, and Asians in the US. The study examines what creates, community, prejudice and conflict among groups as measured in the survey research context. Issues include jobs and labor, schools, and immigration. The Center also archives surveys collected on racial attitudes in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

   In addition the center also continues to support international work. Students associated with the center are working on issues like Salvadoran migrants in the US, African Migrants in France and the interaction between African Americans and the Chinese in the Mississippi Delta. The Center hopes to push the study of race beyond the boundaries of the US and into an international, and comparative context. It also seeks to move the understanding of race in the US beyond the black/white paradigm.

   The Center Director Mark Sawyer is quoted as saying, “Issues of Race, and Ethnicity are some of the most complex modern societies have to face. Our idea of who is or who is not a member of the race, nation, or neighborhood are in understood through the lens of race. Societies as disparate as the US, France, Cuba, the Sudan, and Venezuela are struggling with these phenomena. Globalization and mass migration have only accelerated the importance of race, nation and citizenship.”