Ferguson discusses “courage” through conversations

Pete Ferguson ‘96 spoke on campus as part of Hastings College’s Black History Month celebrations organized by Black Student Alliance (BSA), the Diversity and Inclusion Center and the Student Engagement office. Ferguson also spoke in the Wilson Center auditorium in a lecture that was free and open to the public.

Ferguson’s afternoon session in Hazelrigg Student Union, rooms A and B, “Bias: It’s in our Latte” focused on awareness of biases, microaggressions and the tendency to label people unfairly before knowing who they really are. A central message of the talk was that people need to be able to acknowledge implicit biases, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to talk about sensitive topics and experiences. 

This is not only important at an individual level, but on an institutional level as well. 

“Scholars come and they go, you guys move on, but I also challenge the administrators, the admissions staff, I challenge the president, I challenge everybody that’s here in administration to…nurture the social environment,” Ferguson said. 

Ferguson also challenged the trend of “courageous conversations” and perpetuating the idea that being open about experiences and discrimination based on race or gender is courageous. 

“This isn’t a black versus white thing, it isn’t courageous for people to put (negative experiences) out there. This is a daily occurance, something that they live with and are articulating about, and it’s awesome to have a forum for that but it is not courageous for them to have to go ahead and say this,” Ferguson said. 

Ferguson’s talk, “Inspire, Educate, Entertain,” informed participants and provided immediate and long-term takeaways contributing to a personal and collective blueprint through self-evaluation and reflection. 

BSA will also host a Black History Month performer, Tut Kailech, on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in Fuhr Hall.