Shirley Tilghman is the nineteenth president of Princeton University, and is the first woman to hold the position. Tilghman served on the Princeton faculty for fifteen years before being named[…]
Tilghman sees race as a major social issue. She believes that we have never truly overcome the burden of slavery. She points out African Americans make up an underclass in America, one that she says is no longer heard. She says it affects everything in this country, and we have to begin to understand its impact.
I think this country has never really overcome the enormous burden that its history imposed on it through slavery. I continue to worry desperately about the degree to which African Americans constitute an underclass in this country, and an underclass that is not even heard anymore. I just think that this is the major issue facing the United States for the next . . . Until we solve . . . I’m not gonna put a time limit on it. I think it’s enormously important. It affects everything that happens in this country in my view. And as a country, I think we have an obligation to really understand how insidious racism is; how it percolates through so much of what happens in this country; and how we have allowed a group in this country – African Americans – to be marginalized in ways that are deeply hurtful to them and, frankly in my view, _________ to the whole country.
Recorded on: 8/7/07