Parkland hosts open discussions about racism

Scott Barnes

Staff Writer

On Thursday, March 3 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. there will be a screening of the film “Racial Taboo,” in the cafeteria of Parkland College, located in the U Wing. racialtabooThe event is being sponsored by the Parkland College Honors Program. The movie is being shown in an effort to raise awareness about race related issues and to provide a platform for an open conversation about race on campus. There will be round table discussions following the screening.

It is not a coincidence that the screening of this film will happen at a time when the topic of race is still fresh in the minds of students. It is a timely event meant to keep the conversation about race going and bring to light the adversity many students deal with in regards to ethnicity.

The Director of the Parkland Honors Program, Marsh Jones, is part of a group who is responsible for making this event possible. Jones explained that he thinks having an open discussion is an effective way to cultivate compassion and combat racism.

“As a history professor, I understand and I believe in the idea of getting the history out there so that people understand how we got where we are,” Jones said. “Secondly, I think it’s great, the idea of trying to get a discussion going and people being straight forward about the issue of racism. I think probably, for most people, that’s a hard conversation to have. I think it’s a great opportunity to have the film as a sort of jumping off point to help us do that.”

There will be two other opportunities for the conversation to continue in addition to the discussion that will take place immediately following the screening on March 3. These events will take place in Room U140 on Tuesday, March 15 at noon and Thursday, April 7 at 6 p.m. All of the discussions are open to the public and individuals will be randomly assigned to a group upon arrival. Each group will be assigned a leader who will be selected beforehand.

Associate Professor, Counselor, and Director of the Black Student Success Project, Donna Tanner-Harold, is responsible for selecting individuals to lead the discussions. She explained how she is going about that process.

“I’ve sought out a few people that I think will be good facilitators, others have been referred, and I am posting announcements asking for volunteers,” Tanner-Harold said. “I am looking for people that might be interested in the topic, are assertive, have the ability to respect, work with, and engage diverse populations, and have the ability to listen.”

There has been a lot of racial tension in the media domestically, as well as internationally, as of late and it seems that racism is an issue that students are eager to talk about. Natasha Stone is a Parkland student who is majoring in biological sciences. She explained that, although racism does exist, she thinks that the issue is glorified by and perhaps exaggerated by the media.

“The biggest problem that I see is media picking out things and trying to make things seem one sided,” Stone said. “With that, they’re causing us to fight amongst each other so that media and politics don’t really get watched as closely as they should be.”

She agrees that there should be an open discussion but participants should be careful to remain civil.

“It will probably become an intense conversation, due to personal feelings and experiences,” Stone said.

Students interested in attending the event or participating in the conversation can find out more by visiting Tanner-Harold in the counseling advising center or by contacting the Parkland Honors Program.