Across all aspects of inequality, disparities between racial and ethnic groups are durable, persistent, and occur at multiple levels. This is apparent in gaps in academic performance, segregation across neighborhoods, and differences in physical and mental well-being. These issues are magnified due to the complex racial and ethnic composition of Houston, providing a rich opportunity for assessing the most entrenched consequences of inequality and exploring the potential for an ethnically and racially inclusive society. Such lessons, if learned, are applicable to the increasing number of “majority-minority” urban centers nationwide.
Rice is extremely well-suited to build upon its foundation in the study of racial and ethnic inequality of the Houston metropolitan area with a critical mass of faculty across schools and departments whose expertise lie within these areas of research and a robust array of centers, institutes, and programs that connect the university to the city.
While several existing campus units focus on social and economic disparities within the Houston area (e.g. HERC, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, CSWGS, Religion and Public Life Program, Center for Civic Leadership), there are no university-wide entities that focus specifically on researching factors that lead to inequality or the role of race and ethnicity in shaping it. This initiative seeks to connect existing inequality-focused work on campus to expand the understanding of race and ethnic dynamics throughout the Houston area.