Students Meet on the Same Page

This summer they will read the book So You Want to Talk About Race

By Mary McInerney, USF News Posted Thu, 07/01/2021 - 08:44

How do you tell your roommate that her jokes are racist? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?

This summer, first-year students will receive in the mail So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and during orientation in August they will attend small seminars on campus to discuss the book. Faculty and staff have been invited to read the book, too, as part of the “One Community, One Book” project.

The project culminates with an online talk by Ijeoma Oluo on Sept. 7, hosted by USF. It will be free and open to all students and the public.

Yliza Kimozave Ortiz ’23, a nursing major, is reading the book because she is part of the GO Team that helps with orientation for first-year students.

“Personally, anything we can do to tackle racial injustice, big or small, should be discussed and valued,” she said. “So I’m really supportive.”

The book consists of chapters that are named for questions that many people have: What if I talk about race wrong? What is the model minority myth? What are microaggressions?

“I need to get educated,” said Karen Amaya Aguirre ’22, a chemistry major and member of the GO Team. “I know this book will help all students.”

USF will send the books to first-year students in mid-July. The university is also working with the San Francisco Public Library, which will promote the book and obtain extra copies for the library.

"I am excited to see how the reading and discussions further promote community while challenging us to be bold and brave when it comes to talking about race and dismantling the institutions that benefit from it," said one of the project’s organizers, Lamonte R. Stamps, director of first-year programs and family engagement at USF.

This is the first time in more than a decade that USF has had a “One Community, One Book” project. It is part of an initiative at USF, called “6+You,” that is funded by a Jesuit Foundation grant.

USF News will report on "6+You” throughout 20212022, covering forums, discussions, and events related to this initiative.