Students aren’t always comfortable talking about race, especially at the beginning of the semester in a classroom led by a professor they don’t know yet.

But this semester, Wendy Christensen, an associate professor of sociology at William Paterson University, in New Jersey, is starting off her course by tackling racism head-on. “Social Stratifications,” will begin on September 6 with a discussion about the violent weekend in Charlottesville, Va., she said.

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