National speakers Ronald Jackson and Lawrence Ross as part of Black History Month events at RIT

Renowned authors and educators discuss trends in racial identity and activism on U.S. college campuses




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Ronald Jackson and Lawrence Ross

Cultural identity and political activism on campuses will be only two of the thought-provoking topics highlighted during Rochester Institute of Technology’s annual Black History Month programming taking place in February.

National speakers Ronald Jackson and Lawrence Ross, both leaders in the history and politics of race, will lead a month of programming that will include discussions about spirituality, art and music; feature movies, such as Dear White People; and a visit to Geva Theatre’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird. All on campus events are free, and all are open to students, faculty, staff and the general public, including the Jackson and Ross presentations. The full schedule of events can be found on the RIT Office for Diversity and Inclusion website and Facebook pages.

Jackson, a professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati and second vice president of the National Communication Association, examines how theories of identity relate to intercultural and gender communication, as well as how and why people negotiate and define themselves. He’ll discuss “Who gets to be Human: Widespread Campus Racism in 2016” from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Golisano Auditorium. Jackson’s research includes empirical, conceptual and critical approaches to the study of masculinity, identity negotiation, Whiteness, and Afrocentricity, and he is nationally recognized for having developed a model known as the Black Masculine Identity Theory.

Ross, an author, historian and screenwriter, will be featured during an evening address at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Ingle Auditorium presenting “Know Better, Do Better: College, Racism and You.” He is best known for detailing the histories of college fraternities and sororities, issues of campus hazing, and African American consumer trends. His most recent book, Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race of America’s Campuses, is expected out in early February.

The screening of the 2014 satirical film Dear White People takes place from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 18 in the MOSAIC Center in RIT’s Student Alumni Union.

Black Heritage Month events are sponsored by RIT’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with the Center for Campus Life, School of Communication, the William A. Kern Professorship in Communication, the Black Awareness Coordinating Committee, Multicultural Greek Council, RIT Panhellenic Council and the Multicultural Center for Academic Success.

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Ronald Jackson and Lawrence Ross