On the 50th anniversary of both the Kerner Report and the Black Student Action Association (BSAA), graduate and undergraduate students took it upon themselves to revive the 1981 panels as Racial Consciousness 101 in order to build an educational program that fosters socially just change on campus.
The organizers invited instructors to participate in the revived panels, which once again addressed the “racial myths” that continue to endure among the Miami University student body. Two panels were be scheduled—one on September 24 and the other on October 22—so that participating FYC instructors could find creative, flexible ways to connect these panels with their instruction. In order to make these panels most effective in raising racial awareness and literacy, organizers asked participating instructors to take 10-15 minutes of class time to distribute to their students anonymous digital surveys collaboratively developed by the panelists and organizers. Survey questions included, for example: What is your definition of “racism”? What is your definition of and views on “affirmative action”? How would you explain the lack of diversity at Miami University? What do you think about how students of color are treated at Miami University? The panelists then could directly respond to student opinion rather than abstractly discuss ideas that the students might believe are not relevant to them.
In the end, the revival was a tremendous success. Over 85 courses participated in the revival, and each panel event had over 350 people in attendance.
For the 2019 fall semester, we hope to build upon this energy and continue to bring racial awareness to the Miami University community.
The Racial Consciousness 101 panel event is scheduled for October 1, 2019, in the Harry T. Wilks Theater at 6:00 PM. The panel event will be recorded, and the video recording will be distributed to participating instructors.
In order to make these panels most effective in raising racial awareness and literacy, organizers will ask participating instructors to: (1) Take 10-15 minutes of class time to distribute anonymous digital surveys to their students on the second week of the semester; (2) Encourage your students to attend the Racial Consciousness 101 panel event.
Like last year, the organizers and panelists collaborated on designing the program's educational approach and drafting the survey questions. Survey questions include, for example: Given that Miami University was founded on land that was the traditional homelands of indigenous people, what do you know about these indigenous people? And what do you think Miami University should do to address this history? What is your definition of “racism”? Why might domestic students be less likely to engage with international students in and outside the classroom? The panelists can then, again, directly respond to anonymous student opinion rather than abstractly discuss ideas that the students might believe are not relevant to them.
The panelists will also be using the responses to the survey question--What questions do you have for us?--to conduct a panelist "red table talk" (like the one starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris) that discusses and answers these questions. We will record and distribute the videos of the red table talk to participating instructors as additional educational material.
Like last year, we also offer participating instructors this comprehensive list of resources to supplement Racial Consciousness 101 if they wish to draw from it.