Halloween Costumes and Mix It Up At Lunch

Our first story was about Halloween costumes – in particular about costumes that people wear that are offensive and perpetuate stereotypes about certain racial, ethnic, gender or other social identities. We talked about efforts, both nationally and locally, to educate people about the negative consequences of these kinds of costume choices. We spoke by phone with Joshlyn Smith, an undergraduate student at Ohio University. Joshlyn is a member of an organization called STARS, Students Teaching About Racism in Society, which is tackling the issue of offensive costumes head on. She talked about the campaign called “We’re a culture, not a costume” that was developed to raise awareness and educate students about their costume choices. We were joined in this conversation by two Iowa State University students, Jazmin Murguia and Itzel Padron Zuniga, who talked about the issue of offensive costumes on the ISU campus here in Ames. There are no efforts at ISU comparable to the campaign at Ohio University, so we also discussed ways to get something like this started.

In our second story we learned about Mix-it-Up at Lunch Day, which is an initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to address the fact that school lunch rooms can be very clique-ish and segregated places. Monita Bell, the Mix-It-Up Coordinator at the SPLC in Montgomery, Alabama, spoke about the many schools across the United States that participate in this program that encourages K-12 students to interact with others that they usually don’t talk with. We also heard from Katy Swalwell, an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Iowa State and author of several articles in the Teaching Tolerance magazine. Katy addressed the fact that kids might naturally want to sit with their friends at lunch and the importance of young people getting out of their comfort zone.

    Guests:
  • Joshlyn Smith, member of Students Teaching about Racism in Society at Ohio University
  • Jazmin Murguia and Itzel Padron Zuniga, students at Iowa State University
  • Monita Bell, Mix-It-Up Coordinator at Teaching Tolerance.org, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Katy Swalwell, Assitant Professor, School of Education, Iowa State University

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Music: Stir it up, by Bob Marley and the Wailers

Originally broadcast 10/27/2014
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