What's Race Got to Do with It?



"Nowhere else at the University, and perhaps in the state have such diversity of social, socio-economic, and political student perspectives been engaged in such a profound manner"
-David Campt, Presidents Initiative on Race Relations

What's Race Got to Do with It? follows a diverse group of 16 students participating in a semester-long dialogue focusing on issues of race, class and gender. The weekly seminar, co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Department and Stiles Hall (a not-for-profit organization serving UC Berkeley students and the local community), has been led for over 20 years by David Stark, director of Stiles Hall, with varying co-facilitators. The co-facilitator featured in the film is Jerlena Griffin-Desta, executive director of the Office of Student Development, who co-led the course for more than 9 years before leaving to pursue her own academic goals.

As Dave and Jerlena describe in the DVD Bonus Material, the students' lives form the class curriculum. Initially, the students spend time getting to know one another as individuals - sharing poetry or music, doing detailed introductions, and making personal bonds. They then take turns leading class presentations and assigning homework to each other based upon their own experiences.

Students share their personal stories, debate hot topics, and try to put themselves in each other's shoes. Inevitably conflicts and disagreements emerge due to differences in the students' life circumstances, but through honest and open exchange, these often lead to the greatest learning

Follow the links on the left to view the class syllabus (PDF), read a Diversity Web article by Dave Stark about the class and learn about other intergroup dialogue programs.

To learn more about the group activities featured in the film, go to Engagement Games.

To order the book Facing You, Facing Me (based on the class - available from Stiles Hall), go to www.stileshall.org/events.html.

For more information about the UC Berkeley class or to learn how to start your own intergroup dialogue program, contact David Stark at 510-841-6010 or info@stileshall.org.