Center on Race and Social Problems

Mission and Areas of Focus

"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line." - Web DuBois, 1903

Although progress has been made since these words were spoken more than a hundred years ago, America’s race-related problems remain with us in the 21st century. Race and ethnicity matter in virtually all aspects of our society and are likely to matter more as our society becomes even more diverse. The mission of the center is to conduct applied social-science research on race, color, and ethnicity and their influence on the quality of life for all Americans.

The University of Pittsburgh established the center in 2002 to help lead America further along the path to social justice by conducting race-related research, mentoring emerging scholars, and disseminating race-related research findings and scholarship. CRSP is multidisciplinary in its approach and multiracial in its focus and was the first race-related research center to be housed in a school of social work.

The center focuses on race-related social problems in the following seven areas:

  • Criminal Justice - examines racial disparities in the criminal justice system and seeks strategies for reducing recidivism and increasing fairness in the treatment of all citizens
  • Economic Disparities – examines racial disparities in economics conditions, access to opportunities, and outcomes for workers and business owners
  • Educational Disparities – studies racial differences in levels of attainment and seeks to improve outcomes from early to postsecondary education
  • Families, Youth and the Elderly – inspects the shifting patterns in family composition and their consequences; trends in the quality of life of parents, children, and the elderly; and alternative interventions
  • Health – examines racial disparities in health conditions across the life span, access to and quality of care, and strategies for reducing disparities
  • Interracial Group Relations – inspects interracial group dynamics and provides insight and strategies to improve intergroup relations
  • Mental Health – studies the relevance of race and culture in relations to mental health services access and outcomes