Ole Miss Panel Discusses Ways to Move Past Race ProtestBy Sandra Knispel | Published 30 Nov 2012 10:41am |
The University of Mississippi is still working on ways to deal with the aftermath of the race protest the night of President Obama’s re-election. As MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports from Oxford, participants at a recent panel discussion on campus came up with a few suggestion of their own.
“I think we have to be better at teaching students how to have courageous, difficult conversations – not just about race but about sexual orientation, about class, about immigration… about anything that’s controversial.”
Dr. Susan Glisson is the director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Audience member Jeremy Holliday, an African American student enrolled in exercise science and pre-nursing, feels that while embarrassing for the University’s image, the incident, which involved ugly racial slurs and taunts, may ultimately prove beneficial.
“We don’t have open dialogues about the n-word. We don’t have open dialogues about racial or sexual orientation and sensitivity at Ole Miss or in Mississippi. So, I think that the incident possibly could have helped us at home more than it could have hurt us.”
Danny Blanton, UM’s director of public relations, responded directly to an audience member who accused the administration of trying to minimize the incident.
“We’re just as outraged as anyone and the last thing we want to do is to spin this or try to sweep it under a carpet or act like it didn’t happen. It happened and we’re embarrassed by it, we’re ashamed of it. We want to do whatever we have to do to make sure we can mitigate the chances of it happening in the future.”
Meanwhile Kimbrely Dandridge, Associated Student Body president and the fourth African American to hold this position, told her fellow students that peer pressure trumps any rules and regulations:
“If you hear someone saying the n-word or you see someone do something that is hurtful to someone else, stop them… no matter what policies or no matter what we have in place.”
A specially set-up incident review committee is continuing its work on educational measures designed to reduce the likelihood of future race incidents like this one.
Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.
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