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Race on Campus: Book Discussion Series

Library staff professional development book discussion

Race on Campus - Library Book Discussion Series, Fall 2019

 RACE ON CAMPUS
D
ebunking Myths with Data

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Discussion Questions

Chapter 7: How Then Should We Think

Topic: How / If We Learn

Topic Leader: Susan Vega García

Meeting:  LMT 12.11

Please read the following & be prepared to discuss at our meeting:

  • Chapter 7: How Then Should We Think -- pages  145-155

You can always read more from the book at any time, but this is the Chapter we will focus on in our discussions for today.

Note: This chapter summarizes the entire book, how our brains make shortcuts, and how we can challenge ourselves to remain mindful of these patterns and interrupt them in order to further our own DEI learning.

Discussion Questions

1.  In Chapter 7, Park discusses different forms of bias to which we are all susceptible and how, despite exposure to what she calls "disconfirming" evidence, we tend to be "incapable of changing our minds." (p. 146)

  • What steps might we take to counter that tendency?
  • How might we relate this tendency to the library-wide DEI learning we have undertaken?

2.  Park reviews how universities may conflate data to show how diverse their student enrollments are; the example given on p. 148 is a university boasting that 71% of their students are "students of color," yet the fine print shows only 2% of the enrollment was African American.

3. In the section "The Work is Far from Done," Park concludes that diversity and inclusion are "inseparably symbiotic concepts" that require constant "attention, maintenance, and proactive initiative" because the work is never done. At the same time, she points out how university DEI efforts, ethnic studies programs, cultural competence efforts, etc. are also "all too fragile," easily dismantled and "perpetually underfunded." (pp. 150-153)

  • How do we reconcile stated commitment to DEI in light of the above?
  • Do you think the university has achieved either diversity or inclusion, or both? Or do you think the university is at a "window-dressing" stage? (p. 153)
  • Park stated in a previous chapter that students of color thrive at challenging institutions when they are supported and feel they belong. What might we learn about student sense of inclusion through retention and graduation data?

4. Park ends her book by introducing antiracism as a necessary component of DEI work. Like DiAngelo's White Fragility, Park states none of us is immune from racism and that "...we all carry part of the disease of America's original sin." (p. 154)

  • Did this ending surprise you? According to the author, why do universities need to continue talking about and focusing on racism? Why is DEI so important?
  • How has reading this book impacted your thinking or your work? What next steps might you take as a result of reading this book?