2015 Conversations on Race: Facing Everyday Racism
This year’s Conversations on Race was an amazing event! Special thanks to Prof. Michael Jeffries for traveling from Wellesley College to speak at our event. His focus on race, gender, politics, and identity in his writing and teaching made him supremely qualified to lead us last night, and–even better–Prof. Jeffries is a graduate of Columbia High School. He knows our community both from within and from the vantage point of his impressive work on many of the issues that are related to our integration mission. His talk on micro-aggressions stimulated some meaningful and dynamic table discussions.
After participants had a chance to discuss who subtle bias harms and to consider what a person of goodwill can do when they inflict pain through committing a microaggression, the tables shared their thoughts with the larger group. One common theme was that this type of bias hurts everyone-both the recipient and perpetrator. It is important to speak up and challenge these comments, to educate, and to look for allies. It is especially important for people who make these types of remarks to apologize, not be defensive or dismissive, and to learn why it was offensive.
The Community Coalition on Race offered participants a take-away anti-bias card, based on the Teaching Tolerance Speak Up campaign. Click here for the pdf for printing.
To learn more, here are some links to further reading:
This year’s event was conceived and planned by the Schools Committee. This group of dedicated volunteers gave a great deal of thought to the topic and time to planning.
We would also like to thank our hosts, Congregation Beth El, for their graciousness in letting people stay well beyond the event closing to keep talking and for setting up extra tables to accommodate the unexpected numbers. Rabbi Olitzky, Executive Director Marc Colton and his staff, and President