Journey to Racial Justice Advocacy
Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center
This one-credit seminar will explore the social construction of race through the lens of whiteness and pathways for engaging in racial justice advocacy. By building a cognitive understanding of racism and critically reflecting upon one’s life experiences in the context of privilege, this seminar will facilitate the development of a critical racial consciousness. Students will come prepared to discuss scheduled topics, but each session will provide opportunity for free-form discussion. In order to move from dialogue to action, each student will be asked to participate in an action of their choice and present their experiences engaging in racial justice advocacy.
Journey to Racial Justice Advocacy
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
This one-credit, discussion-based seminar is sponsored by the Office of AHANA Student Programs and will meet once per week for two hours for a total of ten weeks. This seminar will facilitate the development of a critical racial consciousness by building a cognitive understanding of racism and provide the space to critically reflect upon one’s life experiences in the context of privilege. This is a crucial step to becoming a racial justice advocate. Contrary to popular belief that we are now living in a post-racial society, systemic racial discrimination and inequality persists. Discussions will explore the social construction of race and its implications of society through the lens of whiteness. By considering whiteness as both a race and historical system of privilege, we can gain a deeper understanding of the persistence of racism that can better inform our strategies to end it. Through writing and in-class group discussion in both small and larger groups, students will examine their own identities and lived experiences and consider how consciously or unconsciously they are affected by these processes, as well as discuss and develop strategies for challenging racism and privilege at the individual and structural levels. Students will come prepared to discuss scheduled subject matter, but each session will provide the opportunity for plenty of free-form discussion. Although these topics may be uncomfortable to talk about, it is important to realize that we can learn a great deal from each other through active listening and dialoguing. Therefore classroom participation is a mandatory requirement for this course. In order to move from reflection to dialogue to action, each student will be asked to participate in an action of their choice and present their experiences engaging in racial justice advocacy.
- Increase one’s cultural competency: Identify and articulate your personal feelings, fears, attitudes and behaviors about the issues of privilege and racism in order to build a better understanding of self. Develop an empathetic understanding of a perspective different from your own and demonstrate receptiveness to being challenged on views and beliefs. Recognize and discuss how white privilege operates in everyday discourse.
- Build the components of a racial consciousness: Explain the historical relationship between white privilege, inequality and racism and how it has and continues to structure contemporary society. Understand one’s own racism and racial prejudices and how that influences one’s behavior and interactions with others. Articulate your own path to racial conscious and identify steps for becoming more racially aware.
- Develop a racial justice advocate identity: Describe the ways in which you can be a critical racial justice advocate in your everyday life. Actively participate in racial justice during the semester and express increased motivation to be actively engaged in racial justice during/after college life.
For additional information, contact:
Prof. Deborah Piatelli, Faculty-in-Residence