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Ithaca College Discussion Series Kicks Off with ‘8 Conversations About Race and Ethnicity’

ITHACA, NY—The yearlong Discussion Series sponsored by the Ithaca College Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity (CSCRE) will kick off the fall portion of its program on Tuesday, Sept. 17, with “8 Conversations About Race and Ethnicity.” The presentation by Paula Moya, director of the Program in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University, will take place at 7 p.m. in Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Moya is a founding organizer and coordinating team member of the Future of Minority Studies research project, an inter-institutional, interdisciplinary and multigenerational research project facilitating discussions about the democratizing role of minority identity and participation in a multicultural society.

Her talk will consider eight common conversations that people in the U.S. have with one another as they make sense of daily events in which race and ethnicity figure prominently:

  • “We’re beyond race.”

  • “Racial diversity is killing us.”

  • “That's just identity politics.”

  • “Race is in our DNA.”

  • “Everyone’s a little bit racist.”

  • “It’s a Black thing — you wouldn’t understand.”

  • “Variety is the spice of life.”

  • “I'm _____ and I’m proud.”

“These conversations contain powerful, hidden and flawed assumptions about the nature and meanings of race and ethnicity,” says Moya, who argues that framing new and more productive conversations requires an understanding of race and ethnicity not as things people have or are, but rather as actions people do.

Moya is the author of “Learning from Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles” and co-editor of “Identity Politics Reconsidered.” She is currently working on a scholarly study of literature written by women of color in the last three decades of the 20th century.

The CSCRE Discussion Series this year is titled “Just Cause? Just Language? Just Us?” Speakers will consider the challenges of organizing and theorizing racial justice movements in a milieu in which racial and ethnic injustices are increasingly expressed through color-blind terms like “criminality,” “illegal immigration,” “terrorism,” “undeserving welfare recipients,” “unqualified applicants” and “model minorities.”

The CSCRE was founded in 1999 with the mission to develop a curriculum focused on the experiences of African-, Latino/a-, Asian-, and Native-American (ALANA) people, who tend to be marginalized, underrepresented or misrepresented in the U.S. as well as in the normative curriculum. The center fosters dialogues on issues pertaining to race through extra-curricular programming, including the annual Discussion Series.

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