Confronting reality, American feminist talks at East Campus


Frank Shala / Valencia Voice

Peggy McIntosh (center) speaking to students at the East Campus.

East Campus — In her “Finding Space for Authenticity and Inclusion in the Classroom” skills shop, American feminist and anti-racist activist Dr. Peggy McIntosh confronted students with many real world questions and issues while challenging them to take a deeper look at the way they analyze the people and things of this world.

McIntosh directs the gender, race, and inclusive education project, which provides workshops on privilege systems, feelings of fraudulence, and diversifying workplaces, curricula, and teaching methods.

Students were split into groups where they were able to discuss openly about personal experiences that have played a big role in shaping their lives, and the way they view others.

“Opinion brings argument, experience though cannot be debated,” said McIntosh. “When I listen to someone else, I get a clearer sense of who I am.”

McIntosh had students take turns telling each other of situations in their lives; such as where they have felt included and excluded in the classroom, and times where they felt unearned privileges have either helped or hindered them.

“I thought the students were really engaged in speaking briefly of their own experiences, which is the precious core of this event,” McIntosh added.

McIntosh spoke sternly on the issue of fraudulence in our society. “We must not let them make us feel like frauds, said McIntosh. “Let us continue to spot fraudulence in the public roles we are asked to play.”

“I had never really thought about fraudulence,” said student Bekki Charbonneau. “Its really easy, especially if you’re in a position of privilege to overlook certain things and consider yourself credible for doing things that you think are honorable or impressionable.”

In a 1991 speech at Harvard, McIntosh spoke to a group of women on some of these same topics. In attendance that day was current Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg who has credited McIntosh with inspiring her and helping pave some of her future successes.

“When Sandberg was voted fifth most powerful woman in the world, I took pride when she told me she considered it a ‘fraud,’ and that words such as expert and best are titles that can be taken away as easily as they were given,” said McIntosh.

Dr. McIntosh travels all over the country in hopes of inspiring people of all walks of life to bring out the best in not only themselves, but in each other.

“They (the people) are the core, I’m just the facilitator,” McIntosh concluded.