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Professor broadens our perspectives
Story by Sara Wesselmann, UNI University Relations online magazine & public relations assistant
How can we broaden our minds to different perspectives? Harry Brod might have just the answer you're looking for.
Harry Brod, professor of philosophy and humanities at the University of Northern Iowa, will speak on anti-racism and anti-oppression at the 12th annual White Privilege Conference (WPC) in Minneapolis, Wednesday, April 13, through Saturday, April 16. His presentation is title "What's a Straight White Male Doing in the Anti-Racist, Feminist and LGBTQ Liberation Movements? How to work from and against privilege."
The WPC invites trainers, scholars, educators and activists who specialize in critical discussions about diversity, multicultural education and leadership, social justice, race/racism, sexual orientation, gender relations, religion, and other systems of privilege and oppression to speak at the conference.
Brod focuses his expertise on masculinity studies to examine men and masculinities, and is a spokesperson for the profeminist men's movement.
"Sometimes you might not know it from the way people talk, but white people have a race, men have a gender and straight people have a sexual orientation," said Brod. "The challenge is for those from these dominant groups to understand their own identities and use them to be effective allies working toward anti-oppression struggles."
During his presentation, Brod aims to make privilege visible, show real examples of anti-racist groups and show the successes, struggles and failures of these groups.
"I want to empower those listening to spread this idea," said Brod. "I carry this 'white privilege' because I am a straight white male, so this means I need to speak out against oppression and racism and use this privilege to my advantage."
Brod's dedication and expertise to the world of equality and anti-oppression aligns with UNI's commitment to diversity.
Along with Brod, more than a dozen faculty members and students will attend the conference. They will present a simulation on immigration and how migrants attempt to cross the U.S./Mexico border. This topic creates awareness and allows individuals to understand a different perspective on privilege.
"This simulation is an interactive performance event based on real testimonials from these migrants who go through language barriers and many obstacles to get across the border," said Karen Mitchell, professor of communication studies at UNI. "We hope this simulation will create cultural awareness and lead participants toward further exploration of their attitudes and actions toward immigration policies."