RWU Launches Year-Long Series: “Talking About Race, Gender and Power”

Beverly Daniel Tatum – author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” – coming to Bristol campus Nov. 8

Public Affairs Staff
Beverly Daniel Tatum
Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., the former president of Spelman College and a national expert on race relations, will discuss her landmark book – "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" – as the featured event in the fall semester programming of RWU's "Talking About Race, Gender and Power" series.

BRISTOL, R.I. – As the nation grapples with urgent matters of race and gender, Roger Williams University is launching a year-long series that aims to engage the community in informed dialogue and work toward practical solutions.

Running through the fall and spring semesters, the series – titled “Talking About Race, Gender and Power” – will include panel discussions, film screenings and guest lecturers.

The University will tap in-house authorities and outside experts, placing current events in historical contexts and creating opportunities to listen to and learn from each other. The series will encourage positive, civil discourse and the sharing of divergent viewpoints, helping to prepare students for a 21st century that is global, multicultural and interdependent. The topic also will be explored through classes across the University as faculty incorporate the theme in a range of disciplines.

As part of the series, the RWU Common Reading Program will bring together the community to read Beverly Daniel Tatum’s landmark book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” And Other Conversations About Race.

Also part of the series, Social Justice Month at RWU will devote an entire month to lectures, film screenings and more around social justice issues.

As Provost Andrew Workman said at Convocation, “We at RWU do not shrink from this conversation, instead we embrace it with the courage of our namesake, Roger Williams, a man who welcomed Quakers and other then-despised religious groups to the colony of Rhode Island and, although he disagreed passionately with their views, engaged them in a robust yet civil conversation.  We as a nation must learn from his example and enter dialogue on these difficult subjects. Avoiding doing so only feeds the fury of our current national discourse.”

Ame Lambert, RWU’s chief diversity officer, said, “The breadth of opportunities afforded to us by this year's theme will allow us to examine power as it operates relative to race and gender; the intersection of race and gender; and how these constructs interface with queerness, socioeconomic status, ability, nationality and immigration status. We get to place current events in the content of history, systems and implicit processes; learn about techniques for having the conversation; and actually have the conversation many times to increase our understanding and develop ourselves as positive agents of change. The goal of our conversation is transformation.”

All events are open to the campus community:

The “Talking About Race, Gender and Power” series programming for the Spring 2018 semester will be announced soon.