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Author’s book researches silent racism

By Kayloni Wyatt
Around the Campus Editor

Dr. Barbara Trepagnier presented her research on Silent Racism: How Well Meaning White People Perpetuate the Racial Divide on Feb. 11 at the Livermore Library as part of Black History Month.

Dr. Trepagnier defined silent racism as stereotypes that are negative to certain races.

An example she provided was say you witness a black customer walking into a store.

The store manager might go up to a sales clerk and tell them to keep an eye out for them. For the book, she conducted research with 25 women in her living room.

“I expected to find racism,” she said.

Trepagnier discussed only racism against African Americans.

Three women in the study had higher race awareness than her because they have close ties with friends of different ethnicity.

“All white people are somewhat racist, and we all carry the stereotypes with us,” she said.

"When I was looking for participants, I was looking for people you would less expect to be racist," she said

She described how she witnessed the Civil Rights movement by watching the riots and marches on television.

“I wanted to help so badly. I just didn’t know how,” she said. ­

She also said students learn more about how slavery and segregation ended than how they started.

She referenced Bill Bradley asking someone when the last time they held a conversation about racism with a person of color.

“Never in a million years did I think I would live to see a woman run for president, let alone a black man,” she said.

Trepagnier said she believes that people should be taught race awareness.

She also added that people don’t speak up when they notice something about a race.

“We should interrupt other people’s racism,” she said.

She ended the discussion with a quote from Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Trepagnier is a professor at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

She teaches sociology and has been at the university for 12 years.

She was recently featured in this month’s issue of Glamour magazine as a panelist for a article discussing race in America.

The event was sponsored by The Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs.

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Updated: Monday, February 25, 2008
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