CSU faculty to discuss race relations at Museum forum
By Faith Hampton
Cleveland State Universitys Division of Institutional Diversity
will have a public town hall forum titled Lets Talk about Race
at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008
from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission and parking will be free.
In addition to the meeting, the museum has an exhibit titled Race: Are
We So Different? The exhibit has been up since Sept. 27, 2008.
The exhibit is based on the theory that race is a human invention,
said Dr. Njeri Nuru-Holm, the vice president for Institutional Diversity.
The exhibit was developed by the American Anthropological Association,
along with the Science Museum of Minnesota. According to the museums
Web site, this is the first national exhibit dedicated to telling stories
about race from a biological, cultural, and historical standpoint.
It is a phenomenal opportunity for the city of Cleveland to have
this type of exhibit, said Nuru-Holm. It forces conversation
and, hopefully, will make us look at ourselves related to race and racism.
The forum will discuss the history of race in America, the origins of
racism, and the difficulty in discussing the topic of race in general.
There will be a panel moderated by Nuru-Holm. The panel will include
CSU faculty members George Ray of the School of Communication, director
of the Black Studies department Dr. Michael Williams, Dr. Mieko Smith
of the School of Social Work, and Dr. Barbara Hoffman of the department
The panel plans to discuss their own personal experiences and any research
they have found that seems appropriate to talk about at the meeting.
Speaking about the forum on race, Ray said that he received a phone
call from Melodie Yates, director of diversity training for the vice
president Institutional Diversity office, asking for him to get involved.
I said sure and she said it would be a panel discussion,
Ray has spoken at Bowling Green State University for a race seminar,
delivered papers at conferences, and spoke at a diversity conference
at CSU last spring.
Ray also teaches an interracial communication course now and is writing
a book on the issues of race. He focuses on race communication, language,
There are some language barriers between blacks and whites,
Ray said. Generally speaking, there are white on black and black
on white stereotypes and that gets in the way of one on one communication,
Ray explained that the CSU faculty members had a meeting the week of
Oct. 5 about what the panel would discuss at the meeting. He said everyone
will have a brief presentation on their own perspectives of race.
It has been predicted that in 35 years European Americans
will no longer be the majority, Ray said.
Nuru-Holm confirmed that the census shows clearly that we are a global
United States and the greater Cleveland area as well.
The exhibit has many hands on features for observers. It includes information
about race history, money issues, personal experiences, ect. There are
many videos that play throughout the exhibit as well.
Refreshments will be served. People who wish to attend are encouraged
to register at www.cmnh.com or call 216-231-1177.