Workshops on Racism: Are They Really Effective?

In present day society, racism is playing a major role in how we look at the world. For the U.S., it has spun into several groups to arise from Black Lives Matter or White Nationalist. Because of this, there have been many debates about racism and inequality that sometimes become extremely violent.  Columbia College Chicago decided to do something about it by creating a five-year strategic plan to undo racism, according to the Columbia Chronicle. The institution started a series of workshops in August to bring awareness to racial issues and discuss them and will continue them throughout the year. I think what Columbia is attempting to do is great but, there are several problems with these plans and how they can affect students and staff on campus.

 

First Off, You Cannot Undo Racism

This was the initial issue I saw with the program. Knowing the goal of the workshops is very important and Columbia is already exemplifying that they don’t really have one. The U.S. entire existence stems from racism and oppression and unless you have a time machine, there is no undoing it. Bringing awareness to the issues and moving forward by understanding is what the program should be geared towards. If awareness is the message being conveyed, then I understand but, if the outcome is to undo racism, this program will go on forever and see no progress.

 

Racism Doesn’t Stop At Teachers

When looking more into the program, I came across who were able to attend these workshops. The sessions are only open to full-time and part-time faculty. This excludes all students who attend the institution. Staff will be able to take what they’ve learned in the workshops and apply within the classroom. There is no explanation to why it excludes students but, it does. This strategy does not benefit the institution because it eliminates the main component, the students. If the program cannot offer opportunities for everyone because anyone can be involved in situations of racism, there is no purpose for it.

 

This Is A Blatant “Covering Our Ass” Situation

Earlier this year, Michael Fry, associate professor within the Television Department, resigned from Columbia College Chicago due to racial discrimination within the department he worked. The college newspaper shared his experiences as he talks about facing over ten years of discrimination. It seems very coincidental that Columbia creates this program several months later. Is this program really here to help or a way to protect the college? I think if racism was really at the forefront of the institution, this plan would have been in the works years ago not right after a race incident surface on campus. As stated earlier, it’s only offered to faculty completely disregarding students which would be ineffective to creating awareness on campus. There was a workshop offered in August but only a selected few students were able to attend, according to Columbia Chronicle. Only a select few does not change the dynamics of racism and certainly don’t undo it.

I’m all for bringing awareness to racism and trying to eliminate it on campus however, provide that opportunity to everyone and have clear and possible goals.

 

 

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