Dr. Cass’ Roundtable Discusses Jackson Op-Ed


Photo by Zach Lucero for Unsplash

Issues of race in America, a topic explored in a recent Benedict News essay by Kevin Jackson SY, was discussed in a virtual roundtable at St. Benedict’s.

Members of the St. Benedict’s community gathered in a virtual meeting Tuesday afternoon to engage in a powerful discussion on Senior Kevin Jackson’s Benedict News opinion piece on his experience of racial injustice in America and how it has affected his outlook.

The gathering took place during “Tuesdays with Cass,” a weekly intellectual discussion via Zoom video call moderated by Vox Institute Executive Director Dr. Glenn Cassidy, where anyone (students and staff alike) can join and talk about current events or life in general.

This week’s topic was “Toward A Land of the Free,” a fiery op-ed  written by Jackson. 

“I wish with all earnestness that I could hear our beloved mantra: ‘Land of the free, and the home of the brave,’ and say absolutely that this is what my country fully represents,” Jackson wrote. “ I cannot with good conscience say that I have witnessed ‘freedom’ because for as long as there has been a soul in my body, I have seen gentlemen who share the same kinship with me be convicted, and forced into cages.”

The discussion began with participants examining  the impact of the article.

Reuben Kadushin SY found it significant that the article reached so many and may have demonstrated a real incident of racism to those who were unaware that such events still occurred.

Another student who was participating reacted to the idea that a friend of his had experienced such hate. “I have been blessed to never have to experience prejudice firsthand,” said Felix Clayton SY. “But to find out that someone I know has is just crazy to me.” 

The conversation shifted from the article to the broader picture of prejudice on a national scale, touching on related topics including police brutality, stereotypes, and the failure of many schools  to teach students about slavery and segregation.

Sekou Diabate UD2 noted that, while Rosa Parks was carefully chosen by civil rights activists in the 1960s as an icon, many either don’t know or refuse to acknowledge that information.

“By America changing the facts in these events, it has the effect on African Americans that will lead them to believe that they are not organizers and are people that just react and are free-flowing,”  Dr. Cassidy said. 

The discussion concluded with an agreement by those participating that students should contribute to the dialogue through art and essays of their own. Others said they felt a responsibility to go out and make others socially aware of these issues.