Southern Oregon University’s Multicultural Resource Center, in cooperation with other campus clubs and organizations, will be hosting the university’s annual Race Awareness Week next week, a series of events dedicated to unpacking and discussing the legacy of race in modern society.
“Race is a very important part of our society,” said Marquis Malcom, the advisor for SOU’s Black Student Union. “It’s not something that should be swept under the rug.”
Malcom explained that many people consider America to be a post-racial society, yet the reality is often different. When he first moved to Ashland, for example, he said the neighbors hung nooses from the tree in their front yard.
“It’s important as people think live in a post-racial society to recognize these problems,” he said. “It’s easy to sweep things under the rug when you live in a bubble.”
Marjorie Trueblood-Gamble, associate director of Student Affairs, expanded on Malcom’s comments.
“A lot of people see that we have a black president and … think that we’ve progressed in these issues,” she said. “For me in my lifetime, the goal isn’t to become post-racial, the idea is to appreciate our differences and embrace the individual strengths that we all have.”
Both Trueblood-Gamble and Malcom added that the true credit for organizing next week’s Race Awareness Week went to Marvin Woodard, coordinator for the Multicultural Resource Center. Woodard could not be reached for comment by press time.
Many of the events next week deal with the often hidden issues multicultural people have to deal with in modern society.
The Bridges Forum, although not sponsored by the MRC, is a panel discussion happening Monday at 6 p.m. in the Rogue River Room in the Stevenson Union about accepting and embracing diversity in America. The panel will be composed of SOU Communication Instructor D.L. Richardson, Rabbi Joshua Boettiger, Pastor Kurt Katzmar, Social Sciences Instructor Flamur Vehapi, Philosophy Professor Prakash Chenjeri, and Dr. David Young, member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is of the United States.
A presentation on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Rogue River Room of the SU by Aaron Huey, a National Geographic photojournalist, will examine the struggles of the people living on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
A screening of the film “Skin” on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Meese Auditorium of the Art Building looks at the story of Sandra Laing, a woman born to white parents but due to a genetic case of atavism was classified as “colored” in apartheid-era South Africa.
Race Monologues on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the SU Arena will feature literature chosen by SOU students that expresses the effect race has had on their lives.