MOC Forward Event Tackles Issues of Race and Sexuality

By Seth Carpenter, Staff Writer-

UTC’s Office of Equity and Inclusion held the second MOC Forward event of this semester, titled Moving Forward Together: A Discussion of Race and Sexuality.

The Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, president and founder of the Washington Consulting Group, facilitated the online event on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Rosite Delgado, director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, started off the event by speaking on the diversity of people in general.

“One of the beautiful things about just being human is that we’re all different; we’re all complex; we’re multifaceted and multidimensional in our own right. And the more we engage and interact with each other, the more we learn about the beauty and complexity that we all represent,” Delgado said.

Throughout the event, Washington took anonymous polls in order to gauge the overall sentiments of attendees. These ranged from nervous to confused and even excited about the discussion.

Washington also touched on the relevance of the event itself.

“We are all a part of a dynamic and a system where oppression is still alive and well,” he said. “I have not woken up yet and found that oppression was over.”

Washington went on to talk about the self-perpetuation of this oppression as people come up in an unequal society. According to Washington, this is seen in socialization as people grow up, the institutions and culture that contribute to oppressive sentiments and actions, and the enforcement and internalization of oppressive dynamics.

“You get here and you are born into a society where things are already in place,” he said. 

This was not to say, however, that because there are overarching systems and dynamics already around, it is hopeless. In fact, Washington emphasized how much can change from generation to generation.

“Being born in 1945 is different than being born in 1965. Different things were in place,” he said.

In keeping with the event’s theme, these issues were shown to be applicable to discussions of both race and sexuality. However, Washington also made a point to illustrate how issues of race and sexuality are different.

“For example, people are typically not followed around in a store because of their sexual orientation,” Washington said. “Additionally, people are not usually told they are sick perverts who should not be allowed around children because of their race.”

As with the previous MOC Forward event, the last few minutes were reserved for attendees to ask anonymous questions. 

Delgado also encouraged students to check out the MOC Forward collection at the UTC library where students can read up more on the topics discussed at MOC Forward events.

MOC Forward’s next event, Looking Back at UTC and Chattanooga’s Black History, is set to be held on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 12:30 p.m. Anyone who is interested in attending can find the Zoom link on the MOC Forward event schedule online.

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