By: Robert Glueck
Throughout the Fall semester, LSU Law and LSU’s Main Campus have partnered to bring Dialogues on Race to campus. Dialogues on Race is a program aimed at eliminating racial issues by providing a safe space for honest discussion on issues of race. The LSU Dialogues on Race program is part of a larger program, Dialogues on Race Louisiana, which officially began in 2011, although the program’s roots can be traced back to a similar program started by the Greater Baton Rouge Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in 1994.
According to the program’s website, the philosophy of Dialogues on Race Louisiana makes a clear distinction between individual and institutional change. The site notes “trying to solve racism through changing personal attitudes has led to divisiveness and pointing fingers across racial lines” adding that “we will need institutional change” to eliminate racism.
While facilitating institutional change is undoubtedly a difficult task, it is not an impossible one. The site points out that racism has been built into our system, “and anything that was built can be dismantled.” The site also recounts the recent ban on smoking in public places as an example of what types of change can occur with institutional backing and contends that “dialogue is a powerful tool” in bringing about such changes.
With regard to the program’s individual classes, 1L Ahmed Soussi finds them both enjoyable and effective. Soussi characterizes the class as “amazing” and adds that “anybody at any level of knowledge can benefit from this class.” True to the mission of the program, Soussi has also observed that his class features “a diverse group of people from different backgrounds.”
For more information on Dialogues on Race and meeting times refer to the Calendar of Events on LSU Law’s website http://www.law.lsu.edu/calendar/events/. For more information on Dialogues on Race Louisiana, see the program’s website http://dialogueonracelouisiana.weebly.com/history.html.