February 10, 2003

Third State of Race Debate to feature diverse speakers


By Eric Rangus erangus@emory.edu

Racial Profiling: Pre- and Post-September 11” will be the theme of the third annual State of Race Debate, to be held in Glenn Auditorium, Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by College Council, the State of Race Debate series invites experts to campus for discussion of important racial issues and how they affect society today.

This year’s diverse, three-person panel includes: Michelle Alexander, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union-Northern California; Dinesh D’Souza, author of the best-selling book What’s So Great About America? and Rishwain fellow at the Hoover Institution; and Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. John Ford, senior vice president and dean of Campus Life, will moderate.

The debate will be a panel discussion followed by questions from the audience. “In the past, we’ve had a lot of good questions,” said Purvi Patel, president of College Council. “People seem to leave with a feeling of closure.

“With three different speakers represented, everyone will have a chance to express an opinion,” Patel continued. A senior, Patel is double-majoring in international studies and women’s studies. “There will be a lot of debate and dialogue. I’m sure there will be some disagreement about the issue, but hopefully not any controversy.”

Controversial or not, each panelist certainly will offer distinctive opinions about how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have affected national security and specifically the use of racial profiling not only by law enforcement agencies, but businesses such as the airline industry.

Alexander is founder and former director of the ACLU-NC’s Racial Justice Project, which has litigated several racial-profiling suits against the state of California. D’Souza, a native of India, was a senior domestic policy analyst during the last two years of the Reagan administration. He has written several books on culture and politics and is now a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Gandhi grew up in South Africa during apartheid. As a teenager, he moved to India and eventually worked there as a reporter. He came to the United States in 1987, and four years later he cofounded the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence to espouse the philosophy and teachings of his late grandfather.

The State of Race Debate was first held in Spring 2001 during Emory’s Year of Reconciliation, and it has quickly become a staple of the year’s programming. The 2001 debut was a theatrical and dynamic affair featuring professors Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West, activist Tom Hayden and author Elaine Brown. Last year was a dialogue between conservative commentator and former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes and Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons.

College Council, an arm of Emory’s Student Government Association, is a 30-member organization that provides student oversight and is the legislative body for Emory College.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception in White Hall will follow the debate.






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