WSU Continues Conversation on Race During Black History Month
OGDEN, Utah – In recognition of Black History Month, Weber State University’s Office of Diversity will host two film screenings and panel presentations that will challenge traditionally held views about American history, slavery and segregation, Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m. in the Hurst Center Dumke Legacy Hall.
Loki Mulholland produced the award-winning documentary “The Uncomfortable Truth” to unravel his own family’s history of owning slaves and subsequently structuring institutions that benefitted Caucasians at the expense of people of color.
A documentary producer living in Utah, Mulholland was shocked and saddened by the role his family played in fostering racism. It was especially poignant because the family history he was most aware was that of his mother, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. During the ’60s she was on the Ku Klux Klan’s most-wanted list for her participation in the Woolworth sit-in along with many other protests and marches.
Loki decided to tell his family’s story as a way of encouraging others to carefully examine their perceptions, biases and culpability in fostering institutional racial barriers.
The documentary is titled “The Uncomfortable Truth,” because it lays bare the many ways in which racism has been fostered and preserved.
“It’s about a starting line set so far back by the policies of white supremacy that you can’t even see it,” Loki explains in the film.
Loki with his mother Joan and Luvaghn Brown, a civil rights activist and Freedom Rider, are traveling the country to talk about their personal experiences.
Weber State’s events titled, “America’s Role in Black History: A Town Hall Conversation about Race,” are part of a series of conversations WSU began hosting in July 2016, following several police shootings, where people of color were killed.
The 9 a.m. event will include a shortened screening of the documentary followed by a panel discussion. The evening event will feature the entire documentary and include a light meal and panel discussion. Both events are free and open to the public.
“The payoff to our conversations is when we come together and people who have not participated in the dialogue previously show up and say, ‘I didn’t realize the extent to which racism occurs. I thought we were past that. I thought we were post-racial, but I’m recognizing that’s not the case.’” said Adrienne Andrews, WSU’s associate vice president for diversity. “In other words, people are moving from willful blindness to recognize the lived realities of communities of color. That’s a critical starting point.”
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