NIOT Princeton

Forged Friendships

In “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege” on January 4 at the Princeton Public Library, some of the discussion focused on racial dialogue, or the lack of it, at Princeton University. Here is a Princeton Alumni Weekly article, written by Theola Labbe, on how a white student struggled to find interracial experiences and succeeded, in Melissa Harris Lacewell’s class. Excerpts below and for the complete article click here.

“But once she moved to campus, Hutton was disappointed to find that Princeton didn’t hold the key to forging friendships across racial and ethnic lines. Instead, she says, she found students in her dorm sticking together by their shared associations, and one of the factors that determined friendships was race. She found an opening on the academic side when her adviser suggested that Hutton take a course, “Disaster, Race and American Politics,” taught last fall by a new professor, Melissa Harris-Lacewell.

“Hutton, the sophomore who wanted a diverse group of friends when she came to Princeton, says that the class has changed both her course of study and her perspective. She has decided to focus on issues of race and is taking a class on race and public policy. She finally has the more diverse group of friends that she sought when she came to Princeton, and she’s able to have more honest conversations with them about race. And recently, Hutton joined the board of the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding — as a “little activist in a pearl-wearing package,” she says.”

Not in Our Town will host the next “Continuing Conversations” is February 2, when the discussion will focus on Jennifer Baszile’s book “The Black Girl Next Door.”

Barbara Fox


Thanks to Carole and Joyce for emceeing such a good, indepth, probing session, “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege” at the Princeton Public Library.

We were especially happy to welcome these participants: Dan, Elizabeth, Chrystal, Lisa, LeRhonda, Paula, Amy, and Roberto.

Just for the record, the regular NIOT board members who attended were: Carole, Joyce, Fern, Larry, Jim, Wilma, Kate, Linda, Marietta, and Barbara.

It would be terrific if we could continue the conversation on line. Anybody can put a comment on this post. Perhaps you have some additional thoughts about the problem Roberto posed.

To write longer, to put up your own post, just email me what you want to say and I’ll put it up. That works for now and I can “sign you in” to be a co-author later. Perhaps you have some additional thoughts about the problem Roberto posed.

Try to get hold of the Jennifer Baszile’s book “The Black Girl Next Door.” It will be the topic for our February Conversation on Monday, February 4, and Jennifer Baszile will speak at the library on Sunday, February 7. Our “Conversations” will continue on first Mondays at 7:30 through June.

Warm wishes for a cold January!

Minority Education Committee

Tara Doaty and Daniel Jean on left from our August 29th event the next event will be January 16 2010

Shopping While Black

Larry sent this video to me and we thought this would be a good video to view for NIOTers. See everyone Monday, Fern.

Too Few Places to Talk About Race?

Noliwe Rooks, the associate director of Princeton’s newly rejuvenated Center for African American Studies: “There are still too few places where someone is taking responsibility for sharing accurate information about America and race. Someone needs to tell people about the America that has gotten us to this point, so that we know enough to move forward. That’s what we’re doing here (at the center).”

Yes, there is a gap between what people know about race and the reality. Princeton’s center, new director Eddie Glaude Jr. at the helm, aims to lead the way to close that gap. Not in Our Town and the Princeton Public Library are trying to fill that gap on a local level with “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege,” held on first Mondays.

The dialogue on race and white privilege begun earlier this spring at Not In Our Town’s series “Engaging Together to Explore White Privilege.” There is no need to have attended any of the series’ sessions to participate. This will be a “drop-in” format, facilitated by members of the Princeton-based interracial and interfaith social action group. Topics will include how we feel about the term “white privilege,” and issues relevant to our community and nation.

The next NIOT sessions are Jan. 4 and Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.

The library hosts Jennifer Baszile, author of “The Black Girl Next Door,” on Sunday, February 7, at 2 p.m. From the program: “Baszile’s memoir is about her childhood in an affluent Southern California suburb as a post-segregation child in a not-quite-integrated world. In trips to her parents’ childhood homes in Louisiana and Detroit, she sees their very different American pasts. Baszile followed the path her parents set out to become the first black female professor at Yale University, in its history department.”

The next dates for Princeton’s African American Study Center are January 18, March 9, and April 13.

Elsewhere on the campus, the Office of Population Research in Wallace Hall hosts Thomas Espenshade for a noon lecture on “Race, Class, and the Selective College Experience,” on Tuesday, December 15. Wallace Hall is located on the diagonal line between the Woodrow Wilson School’s Robertson Hall on Washington Road and the Friend Center on Olden Street.

Too few places to talk? In Princeton we seem to have plenty of talking opportunities. All we need are the talkers.

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