Obama inspires dialogue on race

By Kelli Long

A March speech by Barack Obama on race led to a panel discussion among faculty and administrators yesterday on racial relations.

Presented by the UK Department of Sociology, “A Conversation on Race” brought together professors who specialize in the areas of race and ethnic relations to discuss some of the biggest issues in the world today.

“I think that it’s important to have honest conversations on race,” said Rosie Moosnick, a recent doctoral recipient in sociology and author of “Adopting Maternity,” a book about white families adopting children of different races. “I think that these are really rare happenings.”

The panel was organized and moderated by Doris Wilkinson, a sociology professor. Wilkinson was part of the first class of black students to attend UK in 1958 and has seen firsthand the changes that the university has been through since then.

“I hope that this was a learning experience to present an authentic viewpoint and to be among colleges who share a similar experience in a open and pleasant atmosphere,” Wilkinson said.

The upcoming presidential election will have a great impact on everyone in the country, especially students, according to Ernie Yanarella, a political science professor.

“It will either help to bring us closer together or divide us even farther apart as a result of the outcome,” Yanarella said.

Along with the speakers, Garry Bibbs, a fine arts professor, presented some of his artistic works as a part of the panel. One of the pieces, called “Bobby, John, and Martin” featured three of America’s most influential leaders: Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

“These leaders were on the brink of change, and each had controversial assignations,” Bibbs said. “These people could have made big changes.”