Workshop explores how to recognize, end stereotyping

Andrew Kicmol, Staff Writer

On April 11, a workshop called “The Safety in Understanding: A Workshop on Stereotypes” was held. In a room of about 15 students and faculty, the workshop was led by the duo of Lucia Nunez, Vice President of Equity Inclusion, and Community Engagement, and Catherine Larsen, Vice President of WomenLEAD.

Nunez explained the importance of having the workshop to those in attendance.

“I think we need to keep having these discussions about bias, implicit and explicit and stereotypes and how do we recognize and undo those so we start thinking about belonging instead of othering,” she said.

Larsen followed up with point of view on why the workshop was important to her.

“Madison College talks about being an inclusive college but we don’t often offer the tools to bring about inclusivity, especially for students… this is another tool for students,” Larsen said.

The duo of Nunez and Larsen opened the workshop with some ground rules, including respecting one another verbally and nonverbally, and utilizing active listening. A rule that stood out though was assume good intentions and recognize unintended impacts. Nunez explained: “sometimes good people say things that have a different kind of impact than they meant.”

Highlights from the workshop include a couple of activities, such as watching part of a Ted Talks video and trying to define stereotype, all of it aimed at starting a discussion.

The part of the Ted Talks video was about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her life growing up in West Africa and coming to America. She talked about the dangers of viewing the world through as she called it a single story, having a limited point of view.

The last thing presented was an example of how Netflix recommends things similar to what you just watched, and you might miss out on new things if you keep yourself in similar recommended things.

“By not surrounding ourselves by something outside of our comfort zone we’re really not giving ourselves the opportunity to learn and to grow,” Larsen said.

The workshop certainly seemed successful. There were many stopping points to allow people to voice their opinions and thoughts, and the room didn’t shy away from the discussion.

The duo of Nunez and Larsen hope to have more workshops in the future.

“I could see doing this more, I’d like to get this into the schedule,” said Nunez.

Larsen followed up by emphasizing the importance of continuing the discussion.

“So often we have these conversations and then it just kind of stops and the ball falls flat, these are too important of a conversation for us to let it fall flat. We experience stereotypes every day and almost every minute of our lives really, in the way we interact with the world around us and we have to recognize that,” she said.