The Guardian

The Longest Table breaks barriers and explores diversity at WSU

Angel Lane, Features Editor

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The Longest Table was held on Sunday, Feb. 11 with over 80 participants. Conversation was the centerpiece at the table as discussions arose around diversity, community and how we should treat those who are different from how we see ourselves.

The event kicked of with keynote speaker, Dr. Cristina Agiro who shared her own stories of growing up and learning about diversity and how to communicate with those who think differently than she does.

“There’s research that says not only do we think people who look and sound like us are are nicer and smarter than all the rest of the people, but also we have more empathy for those people who we believe are like us. There have been a number of tests over the years to test the empathy response for people who look similar to us or how our family members might look in distress,” Agiro said.

Some of the studies included black people watching Hurricane Katrina aftermath videos and they had a higher empathy response for those black people than other races had for them. The same goes for Asian individuals watching aftermath of deadly earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan.

Even with her white supremacist cousin, Agiro chooses to listen because listening is how we can learn from each other, and she says he listens back. “If I were my cousin, and if I’d grown up with the sets of ideas he’s grown up with and I’d been treated the way he’s been treated, I might come to the same conclusions he’s come to,” she shared.

“The golden rule says that I should do unto other people what I want to have done to myself,” Agiro said explaining how the golden rule is selfish. “That means you can say, ‘Hey, I’m okay with race jokes so you should be too, it’s the golden rule.’ The platinum rule has to work. It says, ‘I’m treating other people the way they ask that I treat them,’” Agiro said.

The Longest Table made its way to WSU when Dr. Gary Dickstein, the VP for Student Affairs, attended the event when it was in Dayton and thought it could be beneficial for the Wright State community.

Lead coordinator for this event, Hannah Pigg, most looked forward to seeing the interactions between all members of the Raider community–whether it be students, staff, faculty, alumni or other.

“The Longest Table is an event focused on enhancing an inclusive culture and celebrating differences on campus. Participants are encouraged to engage in dinner conversation related to community, inclusion, and current diversity issues by using the conversation starters on each placemat. We’re currently exploring the idea of having “smaller tables” over the next year to continue the conversation with more targeted topics related to diversity and inclusion,” Pigg shared.

 

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The Longest Table breaks barriers and explores diversity at WSU