Panel discusses racism, discrimination, diversity


Students gathered Wednesday night at the Holmes Student Center to discuss racism, diversity and discrimination.

“Racism: Take A Stance,” hosted by the Campus Activities Board, brought in a panel of speakers ranging from doctoral student Andres Hijar, to Margaret Cook, LGBT Resource Center Director, to University Police Chief Don Grady, and others to speak to students, addressing their questions and concerns regarding racism and discrimination on both a local and national scale.

Many topics relating to racism were discussed, including diversity at NIU.

Grady spoke to those in attendance about non-assimilation and how culture tries to promote conformity. He also mentioned the strength that can be achieved through differences.

Whether or not racism is limited to race was discussed, as well as if other societal subgroups can be discriminated against in a similar way.

“Racism is not just race or color; you could be fat, or skinny, or lesbian or poor and experience a similar effect,” Hijar said.

Cook expressed a different view, talking about internalized racism.

“Expanding racism to be about more than race is nothing more than an escape for those with privilege,” Cook said.

The discussion touched briefly on racism within the academic world.

“In the educational system, students of color are not getting the same push forward,” said Derrick Smith, counselor for the Center for Black Studies.

Students took part in the proceedings as they made their way to a microphone in the center of the room, where they shared personal experiences of discrimination.

Those in the crowd listened intently, applauding for their peers and nodding in agreement at times.