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Deconstructing bigotry one gender and race class at a time

Derek Sherlock, Anchor Contributor

Anchor Contributor
Once again, students face the stresses of finding and determining which classes are best to take. As of this year, incoming freshmen are required to take the RIC 100 class in addition to the first year seminar and first year writing general education courses. I believe that it should be a requirement for students, regardless of their major, to take a class that tackles issues revolving around race, gender and/or sexuality. 
Taking a gender and culture class could open doors for those students to pursue alternative life decisions that they might not have been exposed to if they stuck with the typical courses. This could also open students to take a minor or double major in such programs such as Gender and Women’s Studies or Black Studies (Africana Studies). As a student within the Gender and Women’s Studies major, I have seen many types of intersectionality between race, gender and sexuality. Just read anything from Audre Lorde and you will see the overlapping aspects of all three worlds.
Taking a course that revolves around the intersectional disciplines can take the wind out of bigotry in all its forms. Challenge yourself to read works and to think outside of the box on topics that are often viewed as taboo. While our society is fearful of addressing these issues, we can remove the stigma by discussing such topics. Without a doubt some of the greatest professors I have ever had at RIC were those who teach about race, gender and sexuality. In these classes you are challenged to openly look at one’s own white privilege, even if you already looked at it before. You tend to see it in a different angle when a professor discusses it. Maybe you have a conversation in which you discuss the patriarchal heteronormative aspects of this country. 
However, if you are unable to have dialogue with another human being about oppression, how can we expect to change not only the country but also the world? The only way we can make this planet just a little bit bearable is to learn about one another; that could be through Black and Latinx studies, gender studies, queer studies, or any combination of these fields. Overall, learning about race, gender, or sexuality is an essential step in destroying bigotry.