Since I was young, I’ve seen myself as an ally of people who are members of what we now call marginalized groups. However, growing up as a white, cisgender, middle-class woman in Iowa, I didn’t have many opportunities to actually interact with people from other backgrounds. I proudly waved the flag of my open-mindedness while ignorantly stomping on toes in all directions.
DePaul and Chicago have schooled me a lot, and never more so than when I enrolled in the university’s BUILD Diversity Certificate
. Created by the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity, this professional development program includes courses, workshops and special events. I earned the Level I certificate, which requires nine courses and a short paper, last May. Now I am working on the Level II certificate, which includes a capstone project.
Over the past two years, I’ve attended workshops and events that have educated me on concepts big (the Civil Rights movement did not manage to banish racism in the workplace) and small (don’t touch anyone’s hair. Just don’t.) I’ve learned that my occasional first-hand glimpses of inequality were not aberrations, but the tip of the iceberg. I’ve learned about the unconscious biases that I’ve been steeped in since birth, and that no one needs my guilt—they need my activism and support. I’ve learned what white privilege means. I’ve learned about white fragility. And I’ve learned I still have a ways to go.
I feel lucky to be making this journey at DePaul, which values learning and is working to make the university a more just and welcoming place. I feel lucky to be part of the DePaul Women’s Network, through which I’ve had insightful conversations with women I might not otherwise have met. And, I feel lucky that DWN has agreed to let me share part of my capstone project with you.
For my project, I’m writing a series of blog posts about the books, articles and podcasts that have had the strongest impact on me to date. In addition to publishing the series on the BUILD website, I’ll post one each month for the rest of the academic year on the DWN blog. Fittingly, I’ll begin in February, which is Black History Month.
These books and resources are for anyone thinking about issues of race and gender and ability and all the ways that we divide instead of embrace each other. I’d love to hear your thoughts about my posts. If you have something you think I should read, please recommend it. I look forward to continuing my journey with you.Kris Gallagher is a member of the DePaul Women’s Network marketing and communications team, and an associate editor in the Office of Advancement at DePaul University.