“Visible Men and Women: A Video Exploration of (Some) African American Students at St. Thomas,” the next session in the Diverse Voices series, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the third-floor lounge, Murray-Herrick Campus Center.

Faculty and staff should have received a cherry-colored flier in their mailboxes. Registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 22. For more information, call (651) 962-6020.

In his panoramic novel of fragmented identity in a divided world, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison’s protagonist struggles to define himself in a world that can only see him as representative of his race, as a black man in a white world.  Without a distinct identity, he becomes, both for others and himself, invisible.

This Diverse Voices discussion will focus on a 30-minute video portrait of some African American students at UST who speak out as the next generation of leaders both within and beyond the university.  Sociologist Steven Lybrand from St. Thomas and videographer Michael Sutz explore the experiences of these students who have refused to remain invisible. Students and their parents talk about their decision to come to a university that remains overwhelmingly white and suburban even while proclaiming itself to be an “urban” institution. 

They also talk about the existential and social challenges — positive and negative — they face every day as distinct individuals in situations that cast them as the representative “other.”  They also share their reflections on some of the problems facing the larger society as it moves toward a culture that is less monocultural and more inclusive.  Finally, they discuss whether they would make the same decision to come to UST given what their experiences have been here.

Raj Sethuraju, Multicultural Student Services, and Lybrand will lead a discussion about the film.


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