‘Playing the long game’: How a historian views USC’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion — USC News – USC News – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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During a fraught time for race relations in American history, Christopher Manning would like to set the record straight.

As Black History Month begins, Manning —  USC’s first chief inclusion and diversity officer — points out that there never was a perfectly unified time in American history.

Christopher Manning, USC chief inclusion and diversity officer

Christopher Manning is USC’s first chief inclusion and diversity officer. (Photo/Rick Stewart)

Having taught subjects as Black history, the civil rights movement and 20th-century American history, Manning is now focused on building a framework for strategies and programs that reinforce USC’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging. He sat down with USC News to discuss the 2022 themes for Black History Month.

What are some things that are top of mind for you in the context of this year’s national Black History Month theme – Black Health and Wellness?

When I think about health, the thing that strikes me most is that the COVID pandemic has exposed nationally and repeatedly the vulnerability of African American people – and generally speaking, Black and brown people – within the health care context.

For those of us who are scholars in the field, health disparities are something we’ve known about for a long time. But this is the first time in in my lifetime that this has been a repeated subject of conversation.

It provides us a big opportunity to hopefully evolve as a nation and as a people. In a lot of ways, the circumstances of slavery, Jim Crow and continued racism, combined with a lack of access, has put African Americans in a position where we must be super-people. We must set aside our own physical and mental health needs and carry on. My hope is that the exposure of our vulnerability within a context in which everyone is vulnerable provides a space for creating more equitable


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