Story: In-Class Dialogue on Racism

PPD-300: Social Justice Issues in Public Policy and Urban Planning has been the most formative class I have taken as a Price student. After working in various social justice spaces, I was more than excited to learn that this class was newly required for Price majors. In this class, I have learned that as someone who has found her voice, it is my turn to let others find theirs. I am learning to challenge previously held beliefs of my own and of my colleagues’ without turning anyone off to the idea of social justice.

One moment that was particularly striking was during the week that we discussed the topic of racism. A question was asked about what the issue was with promoting All Lives Matter instead of Black Lives Matter. In my social justice circles, the cruciality of promoting Black Lives Matter has been emphasized over and over. I had to realize in that moment that getting worked up and raising my voice about the question, the answer of which was clear to me, would have turned my classmates off of the conversation.

Instead, the professor spoke up first to set the tone. The professor made sure to validate my classmates by acknowledging the thought behind the idea of All Lives Matter. After that, the professor opened it up to comments and by this time, I was able to find an article online that helped me describe an analogy for the reason why Black Lives Matter is so crucial. The class was able to have a fruitful discussion and individuals with whom I spoke afterward said that they learned from the discussion.

It is times like these when I am hopeful about classes PPD-300 that enable students to challenge their previously held beliefs, and also learn from peers of diverse backgrounds. I feel like it would have been a disservice to me by USC and by Price had I not been required to take this class.