Friday, November 5, 2010

Expert on Diversity and Racism Explores How Cultural Stereotypes Divide Us

CHESTERTOWN—Dr. David Pilgrim, Chief Diversity Officer at Ferris State University in Michigan and a national expert on race relations, will use cultural memorabilia to explore discrimination and stereotyping when he lectures at Washington College Tuesday, November 16. “Them: Images of Separation,” begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Casey Academic Center Forum.

Pilgrim is the founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum, which houses 5,000 artifacts related to racial segregation and civil rights at Ferris State. The goal of the museum is to promote the examination of historical and contemporary expressions of racism and, in Pilgrim’s words, “to use items of intolerance to teach tolerance.” His lecture will draw heavily from a traveling exhibit he co-created in 2005 to carry the Jim Crow Museum’s message to a national audience. It focuses not only on prejudices against African-Americans, but also the damaging stereotypes of women, poor whites, gays, Jewish-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and those who fall into an “other” category regarding body type or sexual orientation.

Pilgrim worked with Ferris State colleague Clayton Rye to produce the documentary film Jim Crow’s Museum, in which he explains his approach to battling racism. His short stories on the topics of multiculturalism and race relations have been published in Obsidian, Aim, and African American Review.

The November 18 event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the College’s Black Studies program, Sophie Kerr Committee, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Department of Art and Art History.

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