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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: "Waking Up White" Author Speaks in Battle Creek

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Author Debby Irving says she knew what "box to check," but still had to learn that as a white person, she belongs to a race. 

Irving will speak at First Congregational Church on Capital Avenue in Battle Creek Thursday night. Her appearance, presented by Kellogg Community College's Center for Diversity and Innovation begins at 6:30. 

Irving says for her Waking Up White meant learning about the advantages she and her family had that were denied to others. For example, she says the G.I. Bill paid for her father's education, but was not available to the black soldiers who also served in World War II. Irving says that has lasting effects through today. She and her family lived an upper middle class life, and Irving says she and her siblings received a healthy inheritance when her parents passed away. In addition to the material advantages, she says there is also a psychological impact. 

Credit Debby Irving website

Getting to the point of having an open dialogue on race was a process for Irving. She says that talking about race was intimidating, because she would worry about offending someone or saying something embarrassing. Irving says now she looks forward to having conversations about race. 

Interview with Debby Irving - web version

Asked about a "post-racial" society, Irving says there are days she feels it's attainable. She says there is a human organized system that places one group of people at the top. Irving says the younger generation gives her hope. She says they have a better understanding of how systems work and the history of race in the United States. Irving says the change in how sexual orientation is viewed is an example of how younger people are more open. 

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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