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The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conversation Series Explores White Fragility, Anti-Racist Issues

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During the month of July, Falvey Library was honored to work with Villanova’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to help promote their conversation series based off of Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility. The series was open to the Villanova Community and featured three opportunities for participation and dialogue on important topics.

At the first event, facilitators from ODEI led small group conversations based on an interview with the author of White Fragility, titled “Teaching Tolerance Interviews Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility in the Classroom.” Throughout the interview, DiAngelo talked about how white people are shaped by racist systems and have to actively work to break out of this cycle.

She also stressed that silence on topics of race communicates hostility to people of color and that “just being nice” is not enough. Through the small group discussion recap at the end of the event, it was determined that we need to talk about issues of race and continue the discussion. You can watch the interview with Robin DiAngelo here.

podcast participants

Alex Iannucci, EdD; Hibba Abugideiri, PhD; Ariella Robins; and Teresa Nance, PhD, participated in the podcast event.

At the following event in the series, ODEI held a community-wide podcast featuring Alex Iannucci, EdD, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as Hibba Abugideiri,PhD, Associate Professor, Department of History, who discussed important ideas found in White Fragility.

Dr. Iannucci talked about their personal experiences with realizing their race and privilege and discussed what it really means to be an ally to people of color.

Ariella Robins, MS, Training Manager, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Teresa Nance, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, Associate Professor also gave some remarks during the event.

(You can listen to the podcast here.)

The final event in the series featured small facilitated group conversations based on themes found in chapter 12 of White Fragility, titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” At this event, small groups discussed how to accept feedback about their own racism without being defensive, how to take responsibility and process their offenses to people of color fully, and work to remedy their actions. Faculty, staff, and students with an active Villanova email account can view the full text of White Fragility here.

The conversation series is only a starting point. It is not just the work of ODEI, but the effort of the entire community that is needed to ensure that we are working towards making Villanova a welcoming place for people of color. We must speak up when we witness acts of racism, and accept feedback without getting defensive, and continue to educate ourselves.

If we want to be true antiracists, we must realize our learning is never done.

This event series was a part of the Living Race—Transforming Community campaign and was organized by members of ODEI, including Dr. Nance; Dr. Iannucci; Sheryl Perlmutter Bowen, PhD, Faculty Director of the Program on Intergroup Relations, Associate Professor, Department of Communication; Robbins; and Alberta Parsons, Program Coordinator, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Visit the ODEI webpage for more information on Villanova’s diversity initiatives and campus resources. Explore DiAngelo’s work and scholarship on her website. Please contact with any questions about the series.


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Regina Duffy is a communication and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.






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Last Modified: August 3, 2020

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