events calendar Graduate offices and services contact us
La Salle University
About La Salle Academics Admissions Athletics Community Service Library News and Media
graduate undergraduate continuing studies offices and services contact us

Social Work

Race, Race Relations, Ethnicity, Poverty, Immigration, Affirmative Action

Charles Gallagher, Chair, Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice Department.

Ph.D.  Temple University,
M.A.   Temple University
B.S.     Drexel University


While in graduate school, Gallagher noticed a disconnect between what he was reading in academic journals and what he was hearing from the students in his undergraduate classes.

“The literature said that white people don’t often think of their race, but the students said they were thinking about their race all the time,” he said. His white students, however, told him they thought about their being white when riding Philadelphia’s subway system (where ridership is predominately black) or when they travel through neighborhoods that are African-American. “Race was very meaningful in their lives,” he said. (His Ph.D. dissertation was White Racial Identity: The Contemporary Meaning of Race.)

“I believe we live in two Americas,” said Gallagher. “One is where the belief holds true to our core values of equal status for all. What the Barack Obama candidacy is doing is cementing this idea that we are colorblind. How are we going to have series conversations about racial equality when all you have to do is point to his being the Democratic nominee?

“In the second America, most whites believe the country has gotten beyond race, but many whites live in white neighborhoods; most whites have white partners; whites choose to be in segregated environments. They don’t want race to matter, but it does,” he said.

He is the editor and co-editor, respectively,  of two forthcoming books, New Directions in Race Research and Below the Belt: Race, Ethnicity, Labor and Politics in a Changing Sunbelt.


Return to the Faculty Expert Guide