Students join racial conversations Reply

Noor Lobad – 1851 Staff

Thirty students of diverse backgrounds gathered in the Intercultural Center & Commuter Cottage (IC3) on Monday Oct. 15 for the “Real Talk on Race.” Students discussed their diverse perspectives and experiences regarding race on campus. The event was hosted by the college’s Director of the Donahue Institute for Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion.

The event allowed students to have an informal conversation about racial experiences on campus, with hopes of not offending others. This emphasis on being open and sharing the truth was a significant factor in the event’s successful turnout.

Senior Molly Parrott said, “I like these talks because they are so much more infor- mal than the forums. It’s a lot more comfortable and just feels more like a conversation. A lot of the same stuff gets talked about, but in a much more honest way because people aren’t trying to be ‘politically correct,’ and it makes me want to keep coming back.”

 

The event kicked off with ice-breaking exercises where students shared where they are from and what their favorite holiday is. This exercise proved to be necessary in getting initially hesitant students to have an open and honest dialogue about a topic as sensitive as on campus racial experiences.

With Halloween rapidly approaching, cultural appropriation was a topic of concern among several of the students in attendance. Racial and cultural insensitivity when it comes to choosing costumes is a modern issue. In recent years, there have been

incidents of students dressed in black-face as well as costumes depicting misrepresentations of cultural groups, despite school-initiated policies against such impropriety being established in 2014.

Another prominent topic of discussion was the lack of representation of students
of color in SGA. Students said they felt a disconnect between the school’s SGA
and certain members of the student body, namely students of color. They suggested that reaching out to and connecting with minority students should be a bigger priority for the organization.

SGA president Jimmy Kappatos’s attendance at the event was certainly a step in the right direction.“Representing different people and perspectives that get lost in the

mix is really important…I want people to be more educated about the differences among us,” said Kappatos.

Students of color also discussed the reality of having to deal with racial microag- gressions on campus, both from their peers as well as faculty members. Several white ally students showed support for these students’ feelings by listening to them and asking how they can help better the experiences of students for color at Lasell.

By the end of the night, every student in attendance had contributed in some way to the conversation. Students were so engaged in the discussion that the event, which was scheduled to end at 8:45 p.m., concluded at 9:15 p.m.

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