Roots of Knowledge speakers discuss anti-racism and anti-xenophobia

Reading Time: 2 minutes Dr. Trevor Warburton, Dr. Leandra Hernández and Dr. Dianne McAdams-Jones kicked off 2023’s Roots of Knowledge Speaker Series with a conversation about being anti-racist and anti-xenophobic.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Located on the first floor of the Fulton Library is an intricate display of stained-glass murals titled “Roots of Knowledge.” These murals perform as a backdrop to the Speaker Series, which commenced for the spring semester on Jan. 26. 

Dr. Trevor Warburton, Dr. Leandra Hernández, and Dr. Dianne McAdams-Jones were the first presenters of the year. The presentation was a discussion on the importance of actively working toward an anti-racist and anti-xenophobic society. “Not being racist and xenophobic is not [enough,]” it states on the Roots of Knowledge webpage. “[We] must be anti-racist and anti-xenophobic, and we must see each other as human.” 

During her portion of the presentation, Dr. McAdams-Jones discussed the work of distinguished UVU professor, Dr. Daniel Fairbanks. In his book titled, “Everyone is African,” Dr. Fairbanks writes that geneticists and anthropologists all agree the origin of the human species is from sub-Saharan Africa, and that dark skin is the natural state of all humanity. 

“That would mean that we were all Black many hundreds of thousands of years ago,” stated Dr. McAdams-Jones.

In her presentation, Dr. Hernández discussed the borderlands of Mexico, and how the effect this has had on Latino communities. Dr. Hernández also discussed the Learning Circles at UVU. Learning Circles are small communities of faculty and staff who meet on a regular basis and read a particular book or set of articles on learning and teaching. They discuss these books during their sessions

Dr. Warburton discussed the importance of representation during his piece and how it feels to see one’s race or ethnicity represented in media, at school, etc. He posed several questions to the audience, such as, “Why is it so hard to talk about race?”

“America knew it [had] an ugly story, so they don’t want to relive it,” stated Dr. McAdams-Jones. “They don’t want to teach it . . . These are things that we don’t want to talk about, so we leave them. But I also [want] to quote James Baldwin, and he says, ‘I know you didn’t do it. I didn’t do it either.’ But as citizens of these United States, we have a charge and a responsibility to face our truth and to make it better [for] our posterity and our children going forward. [To] clean up some of the messes that our ancestors made because if we don’t, they’re going to live in the same spaces we’re living. So, history is important.”

For more information on upcoming Roots of Knowledge speakers, topics and times, please visit their website here.