Connecticut College News
"I Can Fix It: Racism" - Heather Day ´0902/23/2009
Artist and author damali ayo (intentionally lowercase) is coming to Connecticut College on Tuesday, February 24 to present the complete "I Can Fix It: Racism" guide, and it is sure to be an event like Conn has never seen. Racism is still alive and well in the 21st century. Cartoons depicting the new president of the United States as a monkey, Oscar Grant´s assassination by BART officers, and US Airways targeting ´Arab or Muslim-looking´ passengers on numerous occasions are just a few of the more overt examples to remind us of this. Covert racism, the kind that is harder to see or take action against, is even more prevalent. We live in a country founded on many wonderful ideals but also many shameful practices of injustice and oppression. Society today still reflects those origins. In a country heavily polluted with racism, we all grow up breathing in the smog -internalizing prejudices despite our best intentions. The more one becomes aware of the existence and influence of contemporary racism, the more overwhelming it may seem. What can one person really do to end such a monster of a problem? The answer is, in fact, "quite a lot." In 2000, ayo asked people what they thought individuals could do to end racism. She then compiled the responses into a handy guide with five points for White people and five points for People of Color. Step 1 for White people: "Admit it." Admit that you have a race, admit that racism exists, and begin to take notice of the ways in which your daily life is racialized. Step 1 for People of Color: "Get real." Be yourself, rather than letting stereotypes define what you are or are not. Recognize commonalties with other People of Color - love yourself and one another. She describes her presentation style as "stand up and smack down." Infusing humor, creative visuals, and hard hitting social critique, ayo´s lecture is anticipated to engage the campus community and empower audience members to begin fixing things - and to start with oneself. The event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 7 PM in Evans Hall and will be followed with small discussions led by the Diversity Peer Educators in three locations in South, Central, and North campus. For more information on ayo, visit http://damaliayo.com/ or http://fixracism.com/.