Guest Opinion: Why “The Talk: A War on Silence” matters

By Langston Brannon-Pugh

We aren’t really talking if no one is saying anything, even if it’s misunderstood or completely wrong. Mistakes are what groom our growth. I’ve noticed talking about diversity or indifference on this campus is the easiest way to silence a classroom. Many of our students simply don’t feel comfortable talking about the “isms” of our era.  There are those that care to be culturally competent, many that choose not  to care because it doesn’t affect them; some that are color blind imparting we are progressive because  of this; others who stress their opinions based primarily on stereotypes and prejudices. These paradigms fashion a culture of micro-aggressions, leading to misunderstanding resulting in a separation of  community.

The Black Student Alliance is hosting an event that hopes to change that toxic atmosphere.  On Saturday November 22nd from 4-6pm in Upper Baldwin, “The Talk: A War On Silence” will immerse participants in an atmosphere of emotional, mental and physical comfort with southern-style food and a thought provoking performance entertainment piece from Albion students and local community members.

The core of this event is its discussion panel equipped with a representative sample of experienced, culturally competent voices speaking on behalf of the experiences of  underrepresented individuals on campus. The panel’s goal is to collect and ask fishbowl questions prepared by some of Albion’s academic departments and those collected from the audience during dinner. Both of our facilitators, Dominick Quinney, visiting assistant professor of ethnic studies and sophomore Antonia  Hinds will ask these questions to the panelists. From there, we’ll pose those questions to the audience.

My hope is that hearing how silence and the perpetuation of these paradigms affects underrepresented groups on  campus will start a conversation at and beyond this event about the isms of our era, diversity on this campus and why it matters. If we are talking about it, educating ourselves and each other about  it, then we are growing together through understanding. A change starts with those willing and able to change it.  The change starts with us as Albion students.

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