Steven Jones decries prejudice

Posted Oct 12, 2007
Steven Bier
The Multicultural Club Council hosted guest speaker Steven Jones, a diversity expert, on Oct. 4 in Founders Auditorium. Starting a 13-city speaking tour, he has more then 20 years of experience in the field. He is the C.E.O. of Jones and Associates Consulting, Inc. of San Diego. The firm, founded in 1993, helps corporations, government agencies and educational institutions develop leadership and systems that take advantage of the institution’s natural diversity.

Sher Porter
News Editor


Prejudice and privilege were the twin topics tackled by diversity expert Steven Jones in his Oct. 4 lecture in Founders Auditorium.

Jones, C.E.O of Jones and Associates Consulting, Inc., spoke about how to make the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Shirley Chisholm come true.

“I think a big part of our challenge is to decide when to take a stand,” Jones said.
According to Jones, prejudice is still around today, but it is hidden beneath the surface.

It is hidden in pop culture when people call each other words such as “wigger” or “banana” or call something stupid “gay.”

The words show that we have not moved on from racism, they show that people have learned how to disguise it better.

Sometimes these feelings do rise above the surface and people voice how they truly feel.

Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant, Michael Richards’s racist remarks and “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington’s homosexual remark are some examples of the racism rearing ots ugly head.

When Hurricane Katrina hit classism and racism were issues that kept aid from coming as soon as it should have, Jones said.

The more recent situation in Louisiana with the Jena 6 reflects how racism has not died.

“I thought it was very relative to the time,” junior behavioral science major Adri Serrano said.

Part of his talk focused on privilege. Everyone has privilege in some way, but it is never thought about, he told the audience.

People who are right-handed are privileged because the world is built for right-handed people.

Heterosexuals do not have to deal with hiding their identity, afraid that people will not accept them.

“It’s not an emotional issue because I’m part of the privileged group,” Jones said.

Music played as Jones walked on the stage.

Jones began to clap and had the audience of roughly 100 join him. People stood and clapped their hands to the beat.

“It was about the human stuff that we could readily touch and identify with,” said Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs and adviser of the Multicultural Club Council.

The Multicultural Club Council was the main sponsor of the event.

“It brought some things to my attention that I had never noticed before,” said Roddy Cobb, a sophomore social science major.

Jones’ speech was not just straight facts and statistics.

He told about his childhood in Louisiana, the different ways he has worked to increase diversity, and his recent trip to Louisiana to participate in the Jena 6 protest.

He also made jokes to lighten up a very heavy subject.

“Power to the right-handed people,” Jones said.

The University of La Verne is his first stop on a 13-city speaking tour.

Jones spoke at the University two years ago for the African American Graduation and was touched by the students who gave speeches at the ceremony which inspired him to return.

When Jones concluded his lecture, the entire audience stood in a standing ovation.

Britney Collins, a senior English major, said Jones’ speech inspired and helped her to be able to recognize and deal with racism.

Although the speech was motivating, the one part that the audience did not like about the event were the technical problems.

There were some microphone issues that delayed the speech several minutes.

This minor annoyance, though, did not take away from his speech.

The night ended with a question and answer session and a book signing.

“Journey to Excellence: An Introduction to E4” is the title of his book.

“The change has already been made,” Jones said. “In the spirit of Dr. King, we’ve got to start marching.”

Sher Porter can be reached at sporter4@ulv.edu.

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