'Difference' series presents film, lecture on diversity

Peggy McIntosh

On Dec. 10, a Bates College event series exploring differences in race, gender and other characteristics presents a documentary film about minority scholars and a lecturer nationally known for her work on diversity issues. Scheduled for screening at 9:30 a.m. in Room 104 of Olin Arts Center, the film is Shattering the Silences! Minority Professors Break Into the Ivory Tower, directed by Stanley Nelson and Gail Pellett.

At 11 a.m. in Olin Concert Hall, Peggy McIntosh, associate director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, offers a talk titled White People Learning About People of Color: Learning About Themselves. Both events are free and open to the public.

Premiered in 1997 on public television, Shattering the Silences! is a 90-minute look at the experiences of eight minority scholars — who are Asian-American, African-American, Native American and Latino — at a variety of educational institutions. The documentary explores the impacts these scholars make on their academic communities and, in turn, the triumphs and disappointments they have felt in their lives and careers.

At Bates, McIntosh will examine how studying other people and cultures often makes white people more aware of their own cultural specificity, and will discuss ways in which whiteness imparts certain societal privileges of which they may not approve, but which help open doors for them regardless. “We can use unearned privilege to weaken systems of unearned privilege,” McIntosh says, “and this is important and gratifying work.”

In 1988 McIntosh published the pioneering analysis, White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies. She directs the Gender, Race, and Inclusive Education Project, which provides workshops on privilege systems, feelings of fraudulence, and diversifying workplaces, curricula and teaching methods. She also founded and co-directs the National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project on Inclusive Curriculum, which helps teachers create seminars on making schools more equitable among genders and cultures.

The Dec. 10 events, made possible by the Hewlett Foundation, are part of the Bates series “Difference . . . Race, Gender, Class, Etc.” For more information, please call 207-786-6031.

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