Debunking the Myth of Race

The concept of race is a social construct created to maintain a certain social order, one of white supremacy. This social construction spawned a myth about the relative abilities, characteristics, and value of human beings based on skin color. Despite this obvious fallacy, most people assume race is biological and immutable. Given the soul crushing, at times life threatening consequences of racism, it seems well past time for us to collectively extinguish the brutal power of the illusion of race. This presentation will explore the historical context in which the idea of race came into being, the current economic and social consequences of discrimination based on skin color in the United States and recommendations based on lived experience raising a biracial/multiethnic child for how we can work to debunk the myth of race.

Dr. Kimberly Barrett currently serves as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Lawrence University. Dr. Barrett has more than 30 years of experience providing services to college students as well as working with faculty, governing boards, community members and others to promote learning, student development, social justice and diversity. She has held a number of senior leadership positions in higher education. Prior to joining Lawrence, Dr. Barrett served as Vice President for Multicultural Affairs & Community Engagement at Wright State University (Ohio). She has presented at regional, national and international conferences, taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, published articles in professional journals and served as a diversity consultant. She also served as a community columnist for the Post-Crescent and several other newspapers and is a recipient of the DiversityFIRST Award from the National Diversity Council. Dr. Barrett holds graduate degrees in Psychology and Higher Education.