Prof. Pica-Smith Featured on NPR Program Discussing Interracial Friendships

Feb. 7, 2020
By Emily Grillo ’20, Office of Communications Intern
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Assumption University Associate Professor of Human Services & Rehabilitation Studies Cinzia Pica-Smith, Ed.D., was recently featured as a guest on the National Public Radio (NPR) podcast Code Switch, a program that focuses on conversations relative to race and identity. During “Ask Code Switch: What about your friends?”, Prof. Pica-Smith shared her insight on interracial relationships, both platonic and intimate, pertaining to many different social situations.

Prof. Pica-Smith, who is also the coordinator of the Working with Children & Adolescents in Community Settings concentration, shared that despite progress that has been made in recent years, schools today remain segregated in more than one way. “Children will find each other across racial lines when they enjoy equal status, when they collaborate with one another on common goals and when they are supported by authority. And that is not happening in schools today,” she said.  Prof. Pica-Smith added that, even in those schools that are racially diverse, there is a presence of tracking in which students of color are overrepresented in lower academic tracks.  

According to Prof. Pica-Smith, it is hard for these students to make any sort of cross-friendships with racial tracking in effect. “When we have created a system of education that is racially equitable across the board, we're going to see children enjoying cross-race friendships at a much higher rate,” she explained. 

Prof. Pica-Smith was recently awarded the American Educational Studies Association (AESA) Critics’ Choice Book Award for a book she co-author, Social Justice Education in European Multi-ethnic Schools: Addressing the Goals of Intercultural Education, (Routledge Press). In December 2018, Prof. Pica-Smith presented d a TEDx talk in Easthampton about interracial friendships in school settings. Last July, Prof. Pica-Smith spoke on NPR in which she discussed her research relating to interracial friendships. 

Listen to the podcast