On Friday, January 23, Professor Ibram X. Kendi, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, How to be an Antiracist, joined MiraCosta College classified professionals, faculty, students, and administrators for a virtual webinar to kick off the spring 2021 semester.
Professor Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. In 2020, he was selected as one of Time magazine's Most 100 Influential People of 2020.
The hour-long dialogue occurred between Professor Kendi and Academic Senate President Dr. Luke Lara, Classified Senate President Carl Banks, Associated Student Government (ASG) President Mana Tadayon, and Dean of Counseling Dr. Wendy Stewart. The question and answer session viewers were able to submit their own inquiries, which were moderated by College Vice Presidents Drs. Diane Dieckmeyer and Alketa Wojcik.
When MiraCosta ASG President Mana Tadayon asked, “Can you provide some advice to those of us who may feel fearful, inadequate, and intimidated on our journey to think and behave as anti-racists?” Professor Kendi explained, “It's pretty easy to be racist; it's hard to be anti-racist. And one of the ways in which it is hard to be anti-racist is because we are taught to fear what could happen to us if we resist, if we speak out. And so we're constantly sort of thinking about, or should I say not speaking out, and challenging racism or not resisting racism because out of this fear of, “okay what's going to happen to me?”
Furthermore, Professor Kendi expands, “this is not about blame. I have never expressed it in the realm of blame. We can’t get away from the fact that we, as individuals have agency. And what that means is we have the ability to resist. And there’s a long history of Black folks, Latinx folks, and Indigenous folks who have resisted racisms and who have not bought the lie that there’s something wrong with Black folks, Indigenous folks, and Asian folks.”
MiraCosta College is committed to creating a racially just campus climate. Individuals and their diverse cultures and identities are welcomed, nurtured, and validated. MiraCosta College takes institutional responsibility for closing the equity gap for disproportionately-impacted populations including Latinx and Chicanx communities, Black and African American communities, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, Native American communities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities, veteran communities, former foster youth, adult students, and students from low socioeconomic statuses.
“Our college has just finished a multi-year journey to collaboratively establish a new mission, vision, values and commitment
. These reflect the work that our college has been doing to ensure we are effectively and inclusively serving those that have been historically marginalized,” explained Superintendent/President Sunita “Sunny” Cooke, Ph.D.
MiraCosta will continue to serve all constituents with values rooted in equity, diversity, inclusion, and community. Part of this work was the 2020/2021 Districtwide book distribution and reading of, So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo and Professor Kendi’s, How to be an Antiracist.
“I hope we can make this kind of campus-wide book reading and dialogue a regular part of our professional growth together in support of our students,” adds Dr. Cooke.