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Campus News

Community Meeting on Race Leads to Talks of Ally Training Against Racism

by Micah Wilkins, web editor

At the meeting Feb. 2, Sociology professor Dr. Laura Vance defined race as “a major construct in which we categorize people, but is not genetically supported.” Photo by Wyatt Pace

The community meeting on race, held Feb. 2, was organized by several students, staff and faculty members who wanted to address certain tendencies and instances of racism that happen on our campus.

The meeting began with a definition of terms. Sociology professor Laura Vance defined race as “a major construct in which we categorize people, but is not genetically supported.”

“If we think something’s real, then we act like it’s real, and thus it has real consequences,” Vance said.

The meeting continued with students of color describing their personal encounters and experiences with racism on campus and in the community.

Senior Jamila Stevenson spoke of when she has been confused with other students of color.

“It’s the small things like that that create an unwelcoming community to students of color and even a hostile environment,” Stevenson said.

Junior Michael Carter, one student who helped organize the event, said that “although we’ve heard four stories today, the breadth and scope of racism on our campus has not been tapped.”

The meeting ended with invitations and opportunities for students, faculty and staff to address these issues from all parts of campus.

Photo by Wyatt Pace.

Fliers were passed out during the meeting that invited students to write down ways that they can prevent and intervene in racist remarks or actions.

“I acknowledge the existence of racism at Warren Wilson College. I also acknowledge racism’s destructive effects and the threats it presents to our community. I am committed to confronting racism by: . . .”

Sophomore De’Andrea Lottier, who spoke at the community meeting, was unsure of the community’s response after the meeting.

“I’m not sure if it was positive or negative,” Lottier said. “I’ve heard a mix of both.”

Lottier, who is also on the Empower crew, hopes that some action will come of last Wednesday’s meeting. She and other crew members are looking to create an ally workshop, to give students tools to prevent racism and intervene when they see or hear acts of racism happen on campus.

“It is still in the beginning stages but it’s definitely something that will happen on our campus.”

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