Phi Beta Cons

Re: Inclusion is Exclusion

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.


Amit Taneja

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.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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