Race & Empathy Project

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 - May 30, 2017
Human Ecology Commons


Everyone has a story. The Cornell Race & Empathy Project aims to record, archive, and share the everyday stories of Cornellians that evoke racial empathy or the ability to identify and understand the feelings of someone of a different race or ethnicity.

Accumulating evidence documents a racial empathy gap in American society. Conversations that bear on important social, political, and civic issues are often racially contentious and polarizing. Studies also show that interracial conversations can be experienced as stressful, which limits willingness to engage in them. Yet, powerful stories of racial empathy exist, and, when shared, can provide opportunities to celebrate one another’s joy and happiness, or lament suffering and grief. There is urgent need to create spaces that welcome this type of experience sharing.

Inspired by existing oral history archives and student-focused social justice initiatives, this project seeks to create an audio collection of Cornellians sharing their experiences of racial empathy. In collaboration with Cornell’s Intergroup Dialogue Project, we conducted a series of initial interviews capturing a range of race-related experiences and perspectives on Cornell Campus to serve as starting points for further conversation. Within the privacy of a listening booth (located in the Lobby of Mann Library), community members can retrieve and listen to excerpts from these interviews, record a response, or share their own story of racial empathy.



PROJECT BY: Corinna Loeckenhoff and Anthony Burrow (Human Development) and Francois Guimbretiere (Information Science)

COLLABORATORS: Mann Library, Cornell Intergroup Dialogue Project, Kevin Ma, Dongwook Yoon

SPECIAL THANKS: Anthony Ong, Laura Huizinga, The Cornell Healthy Aging Laboratory

Cornell Intergroup Dialogue Project | Website