Hamilton’s Director for Diversity and Inclusion has decided that holding separate but equal sessions to discuss race wasn’t a good idea after all, as we read in the memo below (emphasis added by Tom Lindsay):
Dear Hamilton Community Members:
Over the weekend, I have had a range of reactions to my invitation to the Real Talk Dialogue series — an idea that emerged from discussions with students. The goal was to facilitate dialogue across and within racial groups through a three-part series of incremental conversations. My intent was to be inclusive but my phrasing suggested otherwise. I think it is a good idea now to pause and reflect on how we structure conversations about race. As a result, I invite all interested members of the community to come to a re-envisioned dialogue this Thursday at 4:15 p.m. to address two central questions: What does a meaningful dialogue about race look like? How can we best structure such a dialogue? Together we can figure out how to proceed in ways that make clear the inclusiveness of our community and our collective commitment to equity, understanding and mutual respect.
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
This illustrates the trouble that people who hold these kinds of jobs face — trying to look busy and important. What is to be gained at all by a “conversation about race” much less “reflecting” on how to “structure” that conversation? What sort of reception would a student or faculty member receive if he or she were to attend the meeting to “re-envision” the dialogue and say, “Not one of us regards anyone else in the Hamilton community who happens to come from a different race, religion, or culture as any less of a human being on that account. Instead of babbling away about race, we ought to stop obsessing about it.”