Program Philosophy and Goals

What are the goals of the Race and Ethnic Studies (REST) program?

Race and Ethnic studies programs across the United States grew out of student activism for social justice and racial equality in the 1960's. Since then, race and ethnic studies has developed into an important scholarly field that seeks to understand the rich diversity of communities and cultures in America, the inequalities that result from racism, and our struggles to achieve racial and social justice.

The REST Program is grounded on three core philosophical commitments:

  • We believe that the study of race and ethnicity is a vital part of every student's liberal
    education. As California is now a “majority-minority” state, we all need to understand
    the diverse histories and social forces that shape our past and future.

  • We recognize that it is hard to talk about race and ethnicity. Students often want to
    be “color blind” or worry that they might offend someone or be criticized if they talk about race. So we strive to create an open, safe, and honest environment to talk
    about race and ethnic issues in the classroom and across the University.

  • We engage students in exploring race and ethnicity in the world around them, and in their own lives so that students can understand their own role in creating social change and racial justice.

Students who major or minor in Race and Ethnic Studies will learn to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how racism has been embedded in social structures and institutions and how these structures affect people’s everyday lives;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how race is socially constructed and transformed over time;
  • Present an analysis of racism as a form of oppression that operates in a dynamic, intersecting relationship with other forms of power and oppression;
  • Show how interdisciplinary concepts and methods contribute to their understanding of race and racism);
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how individual and collective action has and can be used to create social change and racial justice; and,
  • Demonstrate analytic and integrative skills through their written and oral communications.