Linguistics professor Misha Becker co-hosted a public forum entitled Difficult Discourse: The Language of Confederate Monuments and Racial Conflict as part of the initiative's programming. The forum featured a panel of experts from various disciplines who discussed how people were talking about Silent Sam and the issues of race surrounding it.
Mostly attended by students, Becker said she was pleased with the discussion and questions asked.
“We just have to, I think, recognize that there is still so much inequality, still so much lack of connection and lack of understanding across groups of people that we just have to keep having these conversations,” Becker said.
Faculty, such as Elyse Crystall, a professor of English and comparative literature, will also teach courses linked to the initiative in the spring. Her course, Literature of Race, Literature of Ethnicity: Disposable People, Disposable Lives, will use various stories and accounts of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in order to engage in a semester-long conversation about when, why and how these forms of hate erupt.
"As members of an intellectual community committed to critical thinking and challenging assumptions, we must be willing to examine the power differentials between sides, consider multiple perspectives, complicate issues and cultivate spaces for thoughtful and nuanced discussions,” Crystall said.
The Countering Hate initiative intersects with another initiative implemented this fall called "Reckoning: Race, Memory and Reimagining the Public University."
“The harm of past hatred is at the heart of Reckoning in order to build a better future and the emergence of hatred, new and old, in this moment is where Countering Hate is, but I can tell you they are both carrying a heavy load,” Colloredo-Mansfeld said.
Although the College of Arts & Sciences initially envisioned the Countering Hate initiative only lasting this year, Colloredo-Mansfeld said the college is prepared to support faculty and students who want it to continue.
“There are dozens of faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences who are deeply engaged in these issues and concerned about the issues that Reckoning and Countering Hate deal with, and there would be a lot of support to make these more permanent parts of campus,” Crystall said.
The Reckoning initiative will continue having programming this spring.
“It doesn’t matter really how widespread or how diverse your friendship group is, you still have to really come to terms with the fact that there is hatred out there and there is discrimination and we can all play a bigger role, I think, in fostering these conversations and hopefully increasing the amount of openness and acceptance of people with different backgrounds,” Becker said.