On Tuesday, Penn State hosted the first of a three-part virtual roundtable titled "Toward Racial Equity at Penn State: Social Difference, Social Equity and Social Change." The first installment focused on the problem of racism in the workplace.
Five panelists, including Penn State professors, deans, and Penn State Alumni Association President Randy Houston, were led by moderator Dr. Jennifer Hamer to discuss the importance of racial equity.
Houston said he believes racism exists on a continuum, with police brutality the most visible and workplace racism the least. As the murder of George Floyd has brought increased awareness, Houston said everyone, regardless of race, now has a role in working toward racial equity.
"It seems like the majority of us are envisioning the same or a very similar world where we do have that racial equality and we do have that equity, but what we each need to do to get there is going to be very different," Houston said.
Like his African American peers, Houston said he’s seen racial discrimination and bias repeatedly in his professional life. Houston said it is crucial to bring down oppressive social constructs in the workplace and elsewhere, then rebuild them in an equitable manner.
The next two roundtables will be Sept. 8 and Nov. 5, both at 6 p.m.