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Columns: New TV Race Initiative Series
ASU-West Sponsors Forum on Race and the Media
News clips from: WisconsinOhioTexasNew HampshirePennsylvania

Making Diversity News

New Program in TV Race Initiative Series Explores Interracial Relationships

Scheduled for broadcast September 12-16, 1999, "An American Love Story" chronicles a year and a half in the daily lives of a Queens, New York, interracial couple--business executive Karen Wilson and blues musician Bill Simms. Their thirty-year marriage has flourished in the face of racial intolerance and the challenges generally confronted by middle class families. The series reveals the individual and collective experiences of three generations on both sides of this American family, including the couple's bi-racial daughters, Cicily, a twenty-year old senior at Colgate University, and Chaney, a twelve-year old seventh grader on the brink of adolescence.

PBS and the TV Race Initiative will build on the series by developing a Web site designed to foster new relationships between people. In one area of the site, couples who are successfully "negotiating differences" of race, ethnicity, religion, age, culture, or economic background are invited to contribute their stories. The site will also include on-line discussions encouraging dialogues across differences between Americans from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Random House is also releasing a companion book to the series written by Brent Staples with Penelope Falk.

The series will be available on video from New Video. A facilitator's guide will be available to help individuals, schools, colleges, and other organizations frame constructive conversations around the complex issues raised in the series. For information about the series and about planned activities and dialogues in your neighborhood, visit the Television Race Initiative Web site: www.pbs.org/pov/tvraceinitiative

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Arizona State University-West Sponsors Forum To Explore Issues of Race and the Media

Arizona State University-West (ASU-West) recently offered the second in a series of Racial Legacies and Learning forums April 12, 1999. The interactive community forum, People of Color: Portrayals in the News Media, explored the lack of positive portrayals of minority groups in today's news media.

The forum featured radio journalist Claudio Sanchez of National Public Radio, Dr. Fernando Delgado of ASU-West, a town hall session with members of local print and broadcast media, and a workshop to provide hands-on skills and tools for interacting with the media.

ASU-West issued an advance news release to generate interest in the forum which led to an advance story in The Arizona Republic.

ASU-West's first Racial Legacies and Learning forum, held in October 1998, had attracted more than 400 participants to hear the president of Denny's Restaurants speak about enhancing diversity in corporate workplaces. Media that covered this initial event were interested in following up on diversity issues on campus.

According to Elaine Maimon, ASU-West provost, the second forum also drew intense interest from the community. In addition to the article in The Arizona Republic, the forum was also covered by the Business Journal and several local television stations.

Mildred García, ASU-West associate vice provost of academic affairs, is now planning additional activities for the 1999/2000 academic year as well as strategies to incorporate Racial Legacies and Learning outcomes into campus life.

For information on other Racial Legacies and Learning events, see www.diversityweb.org

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Media Watch
News Clips


"Last year, the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin walked a legal tightrope in approving a plan to enroll more minority students. Now the system's 26 campuses are attempting the same balancing act in developing creative ways to carry out that diversity effort....the campuses would abandon specific numerical targets ... and shun the use of racial preferences in admissions....Instead, campus officials plan to raise tens of millions of dollars for minority-student scholarships through their private, non-profit foundations; ask the state Legislature for money to expand pre-college programs aimed at minority students; and set goals for applications from minority student as a way to measure the success of their recruitment efforts...." ("Affirmative Action Without Numerical Goals," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 28 May, 1999).

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"When [Megan Kaszubinski, a senior communications major at Ohio State University] agreed to run a cultural diversity festival, she thought it would be fun, but she had no idea it would change her attitude and her college experience.... After listening, for the first time in her life, to the experiences of non-white peers, she knew she wanted to become involved with fighting racism and promoting campus diversity.... 'For the first time, I opened myself up to hearing stories from people of another race,' Kaszubinski said....Since then, she has become an integral part of Ohio State's campus diversity program. She leads study circles on race relations, which provide an opportunity for a diverse mix of students and faculty to come together in small groups discussing racial issues. 'I know it's changed me, and it's changed others. Sometimes I wish the change was faster, but I know it has to be slow to make sure there's a strong foundation'." ("Students Get Serious About Diversity," The Times Union, 25 April, 1999).

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"More students are identifying themselves as gays and lesbians on college campuses today than in past decades.... 'We are in transition from being tolerated to being accepted on college campuses,' said Donnie Santin, a 23-year-old junior nursing student at UT-Arlington. 'We are still at tolerance, but it is more than we had five to 10 years ago.' Student associations that seek to provide sanctuary for homosexual students are themselves a testimony of change on campuses....A decade ago, many of the groups did not enjoy official university status. Now, they often are assigned faculty advisers, and some receive money from student fees." ("The Invisible Minority: University Taking Steps to Give Gay and Lesbian Students a Voice," The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2 May, 1999).

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New Hampshire

"Despite the fact that the University of New Hampshire (UNH) student population is noticeably lacking in racial diversity, it would have been difficult for any UNH student to ignore the issue of campus diversity this year.... The '98-'99 school year was a time for the university community to confront the issues of diversity head-on. It all began with the Black Student Union (BSU) sit-in on Nov. 9. The student organized protest was intended to raise awareness of the issue of diversity.... Over the course of the year, many additional efforts were made to shed light on racial issues at UNH.... In addition to small discussion groups...there was a larger-scale discussion on diversity called the UNH Race Talk.... A six-week series of student-run discussions, entitled 'Race Matters,' preceded the Race Talk and [the project] encouraged all students to let their voices be heard in the dialogue on race. Marcus Smith, a panel member during the Race Talk, said the Race Matters talks were especially important. 'They take away the barriers put up by more formal discussions,' he said." ("U. New Hampshire Students Shout Out, Demand Diversity," The New Hampshire, 5 May, 1999).

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"Diversity efforts on college campuses are about exposing students to different types of people from all walks of life, respecting students' ideas regardless of color, gender, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.... Students of color should have the opportunity to choose with whom they dine without that act being a judgment on the success or failure of affirmative action." Cynthia Chalker, assistant director for institutional diversity at Bryn Mawr College, responds in a letter to the editor to articles about affirmative action that raised the issue of self-segregation. ("Does 'Diversity' Improve Colleges?," The New York Times, 13 May, 1999).

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