‘Censored’ in public, open in private

The Intercultural and Inclusion Student Service and Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) hosted an event in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. Keynote speaker Nolan Cabrera, Ph.D., spoke for two sessions, a casual discussion and a keynote address.

Cabrera is an associate professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. He studies the racial dynamics on college campuses with a focus on whiteness, and was the only academic featured in the MTV documentary White People.

Cabrera visited CCU to educate students, faculty, and staff on how to challenge racism, work through unconscious bias, and practice inclusivity on campus.

During Cabrera’s informal discussion, he spoke about banning ethnic studies in Arizona and the resistance against the effort. This event allowed the public audience to learn and host an open dialogue about the issues Cabrera faced during this process.

Atiya Stokes-Brown, Ph.D, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODI), was excited to have Cabrera at CCU to give information surrounding diversity conversations.

“As we were thinking about this academic year and what are some of the large-scale efforts that ODI could actually bring to campus, this story stood out to us, particularly with it being Latin Heritage Month, to be able to bring a Latino scholar to campus who can give us a broader perspective to think about how to increase equity and inclusion on campus,” said Stokes-Brown.

The keynote address centered on Cabrera’s research of white males on campuses. Cabrera interviewed white males on different campuses, asking how they feel about having conversations on racial inequalities.

Cabrera found that it was easier having conversations with these men in private rather than in public. This research was not designed to shame white males, but to analyze why white males are often uncomfortable discussing race. This research was also created to help raise awareness to white males about racism and how to effectively and appropriately discuss such matters.

“They were able to process racial issues that they weren’t able to do before. They also openly admitted that they wanted to talk about race, they just didn’t know how to do it,” said Cabrera during his keynote address.

After the speech, a white male named Dawson Pickford shared: “I am a sophomore IT major, and this my first time attending a lecture on campus. Tonight's keynote address was different, but I enjoyed the experience.”

The address was based on Cabrera’s book White Guys on Campus: Racism, White Immunity, and the Myth of "Post-Racial" Higher Education. After the address, books were available for purchase and signing.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, Cabrera raised awareness to racial conversations, discussed unconscious bias, and inclusivity on campus.