Tallahassee set to host a summit on race


The taboo subject of race was put on full display this past Monday and Tuesday. 


The eighth annual Mayor’s Summit on Race, Culture and Human Relations was designed to explore and create ideas to make Tallahassee a more inclusive city. The event featured a series of presentations, workshops and opportunities for open dialogue. 


“Honestly, it has been a little scary. Some of the questions and ideas that were proposed really made you think,” said Gordon R. Klein, a database administrator for the city. One point discussed on Monday concerned how women do not ask questions about things the way men do. Klein said in his experience this is mostly true but he never thought about it until he went to the summit. 


Drew Westen, professor in the Emory University departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, spoke on “Assessing and Challenging Unconscious Racial Bias.” Sara Laschever, a noted author, editor and cultural critic who wrote the book “Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation,” spoke about her book. Jeff Johnson, BET’s award-winning investigative journalist and commentator for the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, spoke on how the attendees should “Appreciate the Progress” and “Commit to Improve” when it comes to race relations. 


These speakers and other presentations gave participants insight and advice on how we can all come together. 


“I enjoyed how open and thorough the presenters were. They came from very diverse backgrounds and all had interesting points of view. Jeff Johnson was my favorite,” said Marcus Washington, a participant of the summit. 


For those who did not have the time to attend the summit, there were two free evening events. Jeff Johnson spoke again at Tallahassee Community College’s Fred Turner Auditorium and the Goodwood Museum and Gardens hosted its first-ever traveling exhibit, “From Morning to Night: Domestic Service in the Gilded Age.” The exhibit examines lives of domestic workers during America’s Gilded Age.