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The Daily Wildcat

 

“Race, sexuality examined”

Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Rev. Irene Monroe, UA black history months keynote speaker, interacts with her audience and speaks about topics such as race and sexuality in the Catalina Room at SUMC on February 18, 2009 .
Valentina Martinelli
Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Rev. Irene Monroe, UA black history month’s keynote speaker, interacts with her audience and speaks about topics such as race and sexuality in the Catalina Room at SUMC on February 18, 2009 .

Syndicated religion columnist Irene Monroe, the keynote speaker for UA’s black history month events, engaged audiences at the Student Union Memorial Center on Thursday.

Monroe is the coordinator of the African American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion.

Monroe encouraged discussion and kept the audience laughing while addressing serious issues within and surrounding the African American community, the LGBTQ community and the feminist community.

Monroe challenged ideas of identity by asking white audiences members and then black audiences members, “”How are you white, and how white are you?””

This prompted laughs and responses such as:

“”I just can’t get a tan.””

“”Celine Dion is my favorite singer.””

“”I’m from Wyoming.””

“”I’m white because I don’t have to think of an answer to that question.””

Monroe said that classifying people as just white has robbed them of their ethnicity.

“”When you don’t know your ethnicity you don’t know your history and when you don’t know your history you become dangerous,”” said Monroe.

People who heard Monroe speak said they enjoyed the controversial topic.

“”It was very stimulating both intellectually and spiritually,”” said Erin Good, program coordinator for student assistance and advocacy.

“”It’s always great to have someone who will talk openly about race,”” added Kate Bradsen, who attended the event.

Richard Baker of Residence Life chose Monroe as the keynote speaker because he was impressed with a previous speech of hers.

“”It was an incredible opportunity that I had,”” said Baker.

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