Journalism and Black Studies students from CCNY joined 1010 WINS radio personality Larry Mullins for a provocative discussion about race in honor of Black History Month. Journalism minor Hash Sesay covered the event; listen to the full conversation here.
A group of college students engaged in a riveting discussion on race relations this past Friday at CBS New York Studios as part of an event hosted by 1010WINS radio station.
The event, appropriately named Race 101: What Young People Think About Race Relations, brought together an array of students from different backgrounds eager to give their perspectives on how they deal with the issue of race on a day to day basis.
Larry Mullins hosted the panel alongside guest speaker Dr. Calvin Butts, and they did not shy away from introducing difficult topics. The students rose to the occasion, articulating their thoughts on more complicated issues such institutionalized racism, class discrimination, racial privilege, among other components of society that impede marginalized groups.
The students looked comfortable as they easily voiced their concerns and ideas with one another. It is evident they reap the benefits from attending CUNY and SUNY, systems which boast the most diverse learning environments in the world. “You dont really pay attention to [race],” says Shanique Jones, a pre-law student at The City College of New York. “We pretty much get along with everyone,” Jones continued.
The attitude of the students is a testament to what the struggles of previous generations have accomplished throughout American history, but the group on stage is not representative of the wider America. Though major strides in American race relations have been made, the students believe it is their duty to continue this tradition of progress in order to ensure a society that all of its citizens can benefit. “It doesn’t matter who you sit with, we are all human beings at the end of the day,” says Iqra Hussain, a business major at CUNY Kingsboro. “I don’t think race exist.” Hussain concluded.
The panel touched on how the false construct of race has historically divided people, but ironically in order to move forward from this division we must be willing to have open discussions about race. As recent graduate of City College Marie Brewer stated, “We have to be willing to talk about uncomfortable things, and we have to be willing to do it without getting upset.”