Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

The work of shared responsibility begins within

PrintWho is responsible for confronting racism? All of us. But knowing that some of us directly benefit from it means that those with privilege, including the privilege of a college education, must speak and act to challenge entrenched power and inequality. As a community, we can and should rise to confront racism in all its forms, institutional and interpersonal. It may be difficult, uncomfortable work, but we can do it together.

All Americans have experienced the institutionalized practices that benefit some and disadvantage others. Our access to a college education is shaped by the education, wealth and occupations of our parents, the quality of our primary and secondary schools and the neighborhoods in which we grew up—all of which have shaped the deeply unequal distribution of resources on the basis of race. And education is only one domain where we can witness and experience the effects of structural inequality.

As social creatures, we naturally organize and sort our world to better make sense of it and to help us plan and predict our interactions. One piece of this cognitive tendency is to group people by their shared physical properties, including skin color. Although our need to simplify and make sense of the world through categorization does not necessitate attaching value labels to groups, our unequal and segregated society can leave us seeing some groups as sharing common undesirable traits. [Read more...]

Word by word

Reflecting through writing

Reflecting through writingWe are all part of a community and vulnerable to each other because we want to understand truths that are hard to articulate. There is suffering; there are things left unknown—there are many, many loose threads.

The acceptance of this uncertainty is what, perhaps, makes up a community and leads us toward conversations and dialogues. When we gather together, we are not isolated in our struggle to confront what we or others have experienced.

When Provost Renée T. White called for faculty to host Community Conversations in response to the rash of shootings that were occurring in September 2016, we responded as writers and as professors of writing. We offered to facilitate a public conversation that would, through writing, voice our reactions to the ongoing racial violence that undermines the very meaning of democracy and provide the same opportunity to colleagues, staff members and especially students. [Read more...]

Fitting the pieces together

Kelvin Ampem-Darko ’17 in Granada, Spain, with classmates Amalia Quesada Nylen ’17, Danielle Dickinson ’17 and Carolina Costa ’17, during a study abroad semester in 2016

Kelvin Ampem-Darko ’17 in Granada, Spain, with classmates Amalia Quesada Nylen ’17, Danielle Dickinson ’17 and Carolina Costa ’17, during a study abroad semester in 2016

As a neuroscience major, I recognize the interconnected nature of everything that I have become part of here at Wheaton. Yet, I am challenged to find the connections between the sciences and social justice issues. Sometimes I wonder: What have organic compounds got to do with understanding civil rights? Is there something that links the sciences to such topics?

I believe there is a connection. And that connection matters, because as student-scientists we are taught to see the importance of societal context in our work. It matters because doing so develops the mindset that, regardless of what our interests are, we are linked to each other in more ways than we realize.

I see that in the groups of students who cheer on our sports teams at different events. I also see it in the way that our liberal arts curriculum enables us to broaden our worldview as students. Wheaton’s sense of cohesion and of building community is more than just a string of fancy buzzwords.

During the past four years, I have had the privilege of undertaking experiential learning in Ecuador, Amsterdam and Greece. I have been able to be a part of the Student Government Association. I have formed lasting relationships with peers through student government. I have become friends with students through experiential learning trips, courtesy of the Filene Center. And I have bonded with my fellow science majors through every three-hour lab session. And I have enjoyed some of the best biology laboratory sessions of my life here.  [Read more...]

Diving in

Interns deepen knowledge through experience 

Biology major Linnea Mayfield ’17 found herself on a whaling boat in Boston engaged in marine mammal education and research; political science and women’s and gender studies double major Janaira Ramirez ’18 was in the thick of it in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention, helping to mobilize Latino voters; and strategic geography major Abraham “Abe” Ziner ’17 took on major responsibilities in Washington, D.C., as an intern at a consulting firm, including delivering a briefing on current trends in the Middle East to colleagues, a former secretary of defense, and a handful of U.S. ambassadors and generals. Summer 2016 was a busy one for Wheaton students who stepped out of comfort zones and immersed themselves in learning opportunities that will enhance their educational experience at Wheaton and prepare them for careers in their fields of interest. Here are just a few. Read more at wheatoncollege.edu/news/exploring-opportunity. [Read more...]