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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Diversity Conference Addresses Cultural Prejudices

    Before spring break the Cultural Diversity Office held a two-day conferencethat discussed racism and students perceptions on prejudice at Stony Brook University.The conference included a video and group discussions lead by a facilitator.

    The video showed a group of men on a retreat secluded from everything for aweekend. In the weekend they discussed various things directed toward Racism.The group that was chosen was very diverse, in that many ethnic backgroundswere represented.

    Many of the participants on the video showed little or no emotion in the beginning,but as they became closer and more involved with each other’#146;s lives therefeelings became more exposed. The video helped show that racism can affect aperson’#146;s thinking and judgment.

    SBU students were able to only watch a small part of the video, and then weresplit into a group and asked to discuss what they thought about that movie,and also what racism they have found here at SBU.

    Much like the movie, the students were reluctant in the beginning to open-upand discuss this touch issue. Some students said they found it hard to expresswhat they have seen or been exposed to because just talking about it for oneday wasn’#146;t going to change another students mind.

    Ruth Riuas a social worker intern in the Cultural Diversity office said, ‘Ourgoal was to get people to acknowledge it and then talk about it.’

    Acknowledging racism is a step in the right direction, but yet getting a groupof students to discuss is a challenge for the Diversity Office.

    ‘If we can get them to touch on something, then they might start speakingabout it.’ Sachiel Mondesir said.

    Learning about how students feel on campus about these issues are importantto Valerie Sims, a facilitator at this conference.

    ‘It gave me the opportunity to talk about how I feel about race and racerelations.’ Sims said.

    Sims said that she has had to deal with this every day of her life. That hasbeen hard for her because she feels as though she has had to prove herself insociety.

    John Bucaro, a sophomore, said that, ‘this conference let me voice myopinions. I didn’#146;t understand what some people were going through at times,but it has helped me open my eyes.’

    Bucaro said he only was able to come to the second meeting, and because thatmeeting was open for discussion he was not only able to voice his opinion’#146;s,but was also able to listen and learn.

    As Riuas had said earlier the cultural Diversity Office’#146;s goal in holdingthis two-day seminar was to give the Stony Brook students a chance to voicetheir opinion and also to learn what others were feeling on campus.

    And as Bucaro expressed, ‘They did a great job on this conference.’

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