Students discuss race in dialogues

October 4, 2017


          UT hosted a Dialogues on Diversity lecture Sept. 27 to give students and faculty the chance to voice their opinions on various topics. This year’s series of lectures was rebooted from last year’s talks.

          “We wanted to provide an opportunity to talk about hard topics,” Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Willie McKether said.

          The talk was originally supposed to be on Hispanic heritage but was changed to race on Charlottesville, because they wanted to talk about the current events, Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion Jennifer Pizio said.

          Sociology department chair and Associate Professor of Sociology Patricia Case and Assistant Professor and Sociology Undergraduate Advisor Monita Mungo led the discussions with students and faculty asking questions on various subjects.

          They discussed the definition of race from a sociological point of view and then let people ask questions. Case called race “a social construction that can change by social classification.”

          Many topics were brought up in the discussion, including Charlottesville, the NFL protest and equality versus equity.

          “For equality to happen, white people have to give things up. They have had a majority of the pie for so long that they feel entitled to keeping the pie,” Case said.

          Mungo described microaggressions as “you are very articulate, which on the surface seems nice, but deeper down they mean you are very articulate for a black woman.”

          White privilege was defined by Case as not having to combat the barriers of racism. 

          Doctoral Program Director Amy Thompson said she never thought about how little things like the microaggression could hurt someone and how, come to think of it, she had never been called articulate.

          Raising children of color was discussed, as many people in attendance have children of color.                  They talked about the hardships of raising their children in a society that will likely stereotype against them.

          Mungo said that raising a black child in this society, as he’s doing, is difficult. But, as his son gets older, he will tell him that people won’t see him as a child, they will see him as a man.

          The next Dialogues on Diversity will cover LGBTQIA+ history on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

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