Over 18 SC&I staff members, students, and faculty gathered on a February morning for the first meeting of the newly launched Diversity Book Club, where the group explored and discussed the first book selected, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo.
Dean for Programs Dafna Lemish welcomed the group and explained the Diversity Book Club is one initiative SC&I is undertaking to help ensure the school is a welcoming, inclusive, collaborative, and supportive institution.
Moderated by Professor of Communication Mayra Doerfel and Instructional Design and Technology Specialist Veronica Armour, the group examined the book by focusing on the guidelines and questions for discussing “White Fragility” written by Gail Forsyth-Vail. Questions included “What insights stay with you after reading “White Fragility?” “What did you find surprising? Challenging? Liberating? Hopeful?” ”How is my life shaped by race?” “Where has antiblackness (hatred, contempt, condemnation, or devaluation or indifference to black people) played out in my life?”
“Thank you one and all 18 faculty members, staff, Ph.D. students, and PTL who actively participated in our first Diversity Book Club meeting today,” Lemish wrote in an email to participants following the event. “We had a rigorous and challenging conversation over 'White Fragility' led by Marya Doerfel and Veronica Armour with many important insights. We also learned a lot about each other’s own backgrounds and experiences. So valuable and inspiring!”
The second meeting of the Diversity Book Club for this semester will be held on April 29. The group will discuss “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng. The discussion will be led by Professor of Journalism and Media Studies Amy Jordan.
“If interested – please read the book and join us for what we hope will be an informal sharing of reflections over the issues the book raises and a growing opportunity for all of us who care about diversity and inclusion,” Lemish said. “All members of the SC&I community are warmly invited to participate.”