“Colorblindness and Equality: American Values or Myths?” talk & discussion


    “Group discussion facilitated by Dr.Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University, Educational Foundations.

    Most of us are raised to value colorblindness and equality. Lady Justice is depicted wearing a blindfold to symbolize objectivity; Dr. King’s legacy to judge each other by our character rather than skin color is a well-known mantra; and we regularly pledge our allegiance to equality for all. We are taught that these American values are what sets us apart from other nations. Does our devotion to colorblindness and equality actually promote or hinder social justice? Do these distinctly American values reduce or exacerbate racial tensions and inequities within the U.S.? Join us for a FRANK Talk about colorblindness and equality in America. Here’s a booklist on racial justice.”

    Frank Talks are free, thought-provoking, expert-facilitated discussions on important issues facing our communities produced in partnership with Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records.


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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


    1. 17 people at this discussion about colorblindness, with facilitator Dr. Castagno who gave an intro about difference between equality (sameness) and equity (fairness) in treatment of different people. Questions raised were “Do you think people truly are colorblind, or do they just talk about being colorblind because they think that’s what they are supposed to say?; Do you think equality actually exists in America right now?; Do you think we ought to strive for equality or equity?; What do recent events such as those in Charlottesville tell us about equality and colorblindness?”. Various concepts were raised by participants: cultural differences, cultural deficiencies/treatment, access or denial to power, white privilege, niceness/don’t make waves, thinking of the larger community and not just yourself; institutional racism in schools, justice system, & assimilation into white, dominant culture, affirmative action. Suggestion to read: article on “Accomplices Not Allies” online.

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