In recent months, the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked discussions focused on diversity across the country and within the Pacific community. One way individuals have responded to this defining cultural moment is through personal reflection informed by the writing of authors who have wrestled with the topics of diversity and inclusion. Several faculty members share what they have been reading.

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Marisella Guerrero ’98, PharmD, assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice, was deeply impacted by “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo.

Why do you recommend this book?

“The book is written by a white woman for a white audience, however, many of the issues pointed out apply to viewpoints of people from other cultures as well. I particularly liked this book because it forces us to reckon with our own biases.”

What was a key takeaway from the book for you personally?

“As a woman of color, I liked this book because many of the issues that she highlighted, are things that people of color have been trying to say for years. It was refreshing to have those thoughts acknowledged by someone who is white. For years, people of color, including myself, have been told we were playing the ‘race card.’ It made it so that if you felt you were being discriminated against, you almost didn’t want to say anything for fear of looking bad and basically being called a liar. Not only would no one believe you, but you actually ended up being discriminated against twice.”

As an educator and health care professional, why is it important to educate yourself about inequalities that exist within our education and health care systems? 

“COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting the Latino and Black communities. This is not by chance, this is a result of years of systemic oppression and racism. Racism is embedded in so many parts of our society, to ignore it in health care is a great disservice to our patients.”

“When I first started at Pacific, a group of Mexican-American students approached me and told me how happy they were to see that one of their professors was Mexican-American. They opened up to me about some of the struggles they were facing with school and their family dynamic. The fact that I understood where they were coming from and the issues they were facing, allowed me to provide support and advice with how to handle their concerns.”

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Nancy L. DeGuire ’89, PharmD, FACA, clinical professor of pharmacy practice and associate dean for external relations, reflects on “White Privilege Unmasked: How to be Part of the Solution” by Judy Ryde.

Why do you recommend this book? 

“Written by a psychotherapist who works with refugees and asylum seekers, the author explains in very practical ways how white people understand cultural differences through a lens of privilege due to our colonial history, as well as our societal and political environments. She wrote this book for those in the helping professions, health care and social work. The book explores how we can become more aware of our unconscious biases that limit the positive outcomes that we seek.”

What was a key takeaway from the book for you personally? 

“Exploring white privilege is a painful yet necessary step in promoting racial equality.”

Stockton is the most diverse city in the United States according to the U.S. News and World Report. How does our location put us in a position where we (faculty, students and alumni) can help bring about change? 

“Stockton’s diversity gives the community a golden opportunity to open dialogues and find a safe space for these difficult discussions. We can seek understanding through dialogue and inquiry in order to promote real change.”

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Mark Stackpole, MA, EdD, director of the Office of Academic Success and Institutional Support (OASIS), recommends “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America” by Michael Eric Dyson.

 Why do you recommend this book?

“Dyson is an ordained Baptist minister, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University and the author of many well-known books and articles dealing with issues of race in America. A heartfelt and heartbreaking treatise on the omnipresent evils of racism, both historically and in our modern society. In this book, he educates with personal reflections, he asks difficult questions and challenges ‘white America’ to take a hard, honest look at the Black experience under a systemically racist governmental and social system. Dyson’s tone is fiery and sad, confrontational and cautiously optimistic.”

What was a key takeaway from the book for you personally?

“Only by acknowledging hard truths about ourselves and our white American society can we begin the journey forward. If ‘we’ are going to change, then I need to change first.”

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