Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity holds first ever pre-conference event


Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Danielle Hernandez, junior in graphic design, pours herself a cup of juice at the ISU Conference on Race and Ethnicity on March 1, 2013, at the Memorial Union.  Hernandez was one of the students selected to attend National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in New Orleans.

Adam Sodders

Talks about “white privilege” and stereotypes of various races and ethnicities, including “imposter syndrome” and “microagressions” were presented at the first ever pre-Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity. 

The event took place in the Memorial Union on Thursday and precedes the 16th annual Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity.

The first speaker at the event was Dr. Kathleen Wong (Lau), director of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. Her discussion focused on intercultural communication. Wong (Lau) will also be the keynote speaker at the Iowa State conference Friday.

Wong (Lau) included the entire audience in personal space and communications activities.

“I think [it’s] because they have institutionalized really thoughtful practice,” Wong (Lau) said about why the Iowa State conference is an important event. She also said she believes both students and faculty learn about each other’s cultures at the conference.

Other events included “The Cold Hard Truth: Confronting Race and Ethnicity in College Athletics,” a discussion on black, male athletes in Division 1 sports and “Origin Stories: A Personal and Professional Exploration of White Privilege,” which focused on the influence white people have in American culture.

Other events were “Dispelling the Myths: Dealing with Impostor Syndrome, Graduate College,” where power positions and race were discussed; and “Navigating Difficult Dialogues: Accessing the Wisdom of Our Ancestors,” an event that taught the audience techniques to discuss potentially uncomfortable topics, such as race.

Wong (Lau) will be the keynote speaker at the 16th annual Iowa State Conference of Race and Equality conference Friday. Her discussion starts at 12 p.m. in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

The event will host 28 sessions discussing race and ethnicity, and will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a reception until 5 p.m.