ALLEGANY, N.Y. — White privilege, the wrongful conviction of five teenagers, and the resettlement of refugees in Western New York are just some of the topics that will be explored during St. Bonaventure University’s RaceMatters events during the spring semester.
RaceMatters, a campus dialogue on race and ethnicity, will feature lectures, movies and discussions designed to drive positive communication about race issues.
A number of speakers will visit campus in February, March and April. Unless otherwise noted, all programs are free and open to the public.
A movie and discussion on Feb. 22 will focus on “The Central Park Five,” five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989.
Dr. Rachel Ann Walsh, lecturer in the Department of English, and Christopher Brown, director of the First-Year Experience and Orientation programs, will show the documentary “The Central Park Five” at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 in the auditorium of the William F. Walsh Science Center.
The five teens served their complete sentences, between 6 and 13 years, before another man, a serial rapist, admitted to the crime and DNA testing supported his confession. A discussion and question and answer session will follow the movie screening.
At 11:30 a.m. Feb. 25 in The University Club, Dr. Paul Barretta will discuss “The Race Line in American Music” as a Thursday Forum presentation for university faculty and staff. Barretta is chair of St. Bonaventure’s Department of Marketing.
Documentary filmmaker Whitney Dow will offer insight into The Whiteness Project during his presentation at 4 p.m. March 8 in the Dresser Auditorium of the John J. Murphy Professional Building.
The Whiteness Project is an interactive investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity. The project is conducting 1,000 interviews with white people from all walks of life and localities in which they are asked about their relationship to, and their understanding of, their own whiteness. The first installment, “Inside the White/Caucasian Box,” is a collection of 21 interviews filmed in Buffalo in July 2014 and appears online atwww.thewhitenessproject.com.
After almost two decades of making films with his black producing partner, Marco Williams, Dow has come to believe that most whites see themselves as outside the American racial paradigm and their race as a passive attribute.
“Subsequently, they feel that they do not have the same right to speak about race as non-whites,” said Dow on the project’s website. “The Whiteness Project hopes to bring everyday white Americans, especially those who would not normally engage in a project about race, into the racial discussion.”
Dr. Michael Taylor, an assistant professor at Ithaca College, will present “Behind the Indian Mascot’s Mask: The Changing Face of the Native American Athlete” at 7 p.m. March 14 in Dresser Auditorium.
Taylor, who is on the faculty in the college’s Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, specializes in Native American studies and anthropology. He is the author of the 2013 book “Contesting Constructed Indian-ness: The Intersection of the Frontier, Masculinity, and Whiteness in Native American Mascot Representations.”
May Shogan, director of international exchanges and the Education Department of the International Institute of Buffalo, will discuss working with refugees in the Buffalo area during a program on April 19. Her address begins at 6:30 p.m. in Dresser Auditorium.
On April 21, hip-hop artist Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre will conduct a workshop and spoken-word performance on campus. The two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator is based in Minneapolis.
Whether deconstructing traditional notions of masculinity, challenging dominant narratives related to race and racism, or just telling stories about the different jobs he’s had, Guante strives to push boundaries in terms of form and substance. The time and location of his performance will be announced at a later date.
The university’s residence life staff have planned three discussions as part of a Civil Dialogue Series. All of the discussions will take place in The Loft, located on the third floor of The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The program topics and dates are:
• At 4:30 p.m. Feb. 17, Residence Life Civil Dialogue Series: A Conversation about Islamophobia facilitated by the Rev. Michael Calabria, O.F.M., Ph.D., director of the university’s Center for Arab & Islamic Studies;
• At 7 p.m. March 21, Residence Life Civil Dialogue Series: A Conversation about Whiteness facilitated by Dr. Anne-Claire Fisher, associate professor of differentiated instruction; and
• At 4:30 p.m. April 13, Residence Life Civil Dialogue Series: Truth and Reconciliation: Repairing Relationships
In addition, the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) is hosting a movie series, which begins today. SGA members will hold a discussion period after each documentary is shown.
“Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People,” will be shown at 7 p.m. today in The Loft of the Quick Center. Featuring acclaimed author Dr. Jack Shaheen, the film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs — from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding “terrorists” — along the way offering devastating insights into the origin of these stereotypic images.
On Feb. 25, “Two Towns of Jasper” will be shown at 4:30 p.m. in the Walsh Amphitheater. In 1998 in Jasper, Texas, James Byrd Jr., a black man, was chained to a pickup truck and dragged to his death by three white men. The town was forever altered, and the nation woke up to the horror of a modern-day lynching. In “Two Towns Of Jasper,” two film crews, one black and one white, set out to document the aftermath of the murder by following the subsequent trials of the local men charged with the crime.
The final film in the series, “Agents of Change,” will be shown at 7 p.m. April 6 in The Loft. From the well-publicized events at San Francisco State in 1968 to the image of black students with guns emerging from the takeover of the student union at Cornell University in 1969, the struggle for a more relevant and meaningful education, including demands for black and ethnic studies programs, became a clarion call across the country in the late 1960s. Through the stories of these young men and women who were at the forefront of these efforts, “Agents of Change” examines the untold story of the racial conditions on college campuses and in the country that led to these protests.
For up to date information about all of the RaceMatters programs, visit the website www.sbu.edu/RaceMatters.