James E. Ferguson Event Response- Erin Simard

Although the opening minutes of the event were spent celebrating how much progress Davidson has made in terms of inclusivity, the more I listened to the speakers, the more apparent it became to me that racism has unfortunately played (and still plays) an essential role in Davidson’s story. For example, one of the speakers recalled that when he attended Davidson in 1992, the laundry building still had segregated bathrooms. His example was met with an audible gasp from the room, and it has sparked a personal curiosity as to just how big of a role institutional racism has had in Davidson’s history. Sadly, I have a feeling that this story is just the tip of the iceburg.

The event grew to be slightly disappointing when, ironically, it turned into a place where a few white men could share their experiences from within the Civil Rights movement, rather than allowing their black counterparts to give their perspectives. My initial attraction to this event was due to the idea that I would get to listen to a perspective I was privileged enough to not have myself, but this perspective was unfortunately not given as much space as I believe it was warranted. Thus, overall, while I did learn quite a bit about the role race has and does play at Davidson, the event was ultimately a little disappointing.

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