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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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    Ethnicity Expert Concludes Diversity Celebration

    Ethnic Studies professor and author Dr. George Lipsitz was the featured speakerat ‘Dialogues About Diversity,’ held in the UNITI Cultural Centeron Thurs., May 2.

    The evening’#146;s program brought to a close the University’#146;s two-daycelebration of diversity, which began with the Fountain Festival’#146;s ‘DiversityDay’ program, held Wednesday afternoon.

    Lipsitz is the Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University ofCalifornia in San Diego and has published a small library of literature on culturaltheory, race and ethnicity. ‘The Possessive Investment in Whiteness,’which received the Gustavson Human Rights Award in 1999 and is perhaps Lipsitz’#146;smost famous work, is currently being studied by students in Stony Brook’#146;sHonors College.

    ‘His work has opened up my eyes to racialized institutions that stillexist today,’ Dr. Gary Mar, Associate Professor of the Philosophy Department,said as he introduced Lipsitz. Mar is also the Director of the Asian AmericanCenter Bridge, and is one of the professors currently teaching Lipsitz’#146;sbook.

    President of the UNITI Cultural Center Kathy Henry, Student Diversity CoordinatorSamuel Quiah and Graduate Assistant of the Office of Diversity and AffirmativeAction Ismenia Molina welcomed Lipsitz to Stony Brook in their opening remarksabout diversity.

    ‘What we have to face up to is that race is about interest more than itis about pigment,’ Lipsitz said. This idea is a primary focus of ‘ThePossessive Investment in Whiteness,’ and was the topic of Lipsitz’#146;sspeech.

    Lipsitz spoke of his idea that race is defined not by outward appearance, butby thought. He also expressed his hopes that, by changing the way we think andact, we can destroy the social constructs of racism. He also provided the audiencewith a historical discussion of the evolution of racism to its modern day state.

    ‘When a wave looks small, but it hits you real hard, you realize it starteda thousand miles away,’ Lipsitz said, in a discussion of how far into thepast the roots of modern racism stretch.

    The talk concluded with a question and answer session and Mar offered a fewclosing remarks. A reception for those in attendance, ‘Celebration of Cultures,’was then held, complete with food and music.

    Students had a mixed response to Lipsitz’#146;s talk, based on whether theyhad read his work or not.

    ‘He was a good speaker, but I don’#146;t feel like he said anything thatwasn’#146;t covered in his book,’ freshman Jerit George said.

    But many who had not read the book thought Lipsitz’#146;s ideas were freshand interesting.

    ‘I found what he had to say to be fascinating. I never realized or reallythought about how ingrained racism is in our society,’ freshman Ami Patelsaid.

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