PVAMU Professors Host Book Signing and Discussion in Houston

October 19, 2017


Prairie View A&M University professors Dr. Ronald Goodwin and Dr. Mark Tschaepe recently held a book signing and discussion for their book The Mask of Microaggressions: Studies of Racism in the U.S. at the Center for the Healing of Racism in Houston. This book is being used as a textbook in both professors’ curriculum. “They were very receptive to what we did and thought it would be a useful tool to help people understand that it might not be overt racism, but it is still with us,” said Goodwin, “and we need to deal with it in all its forms.”

 

In the Summer of 2016, Tschaepe, a philosophy professor, was teaching about microaggressions in his Ethics class, “I found several students didn’t have a background in historical events that were a part of the United States racist history,” said Tschaepe. He notes major events students had a bit of understanding about like the Civil Rights Movement, but decided to go in-depth into other subjects like gynecology and the Mississippi Appendectomy.  “One of the things we were dealing with in class is how these very overty racists acts and attitudes had become sublimated into subtle forms of racism,” said Tschaepe.

 

Goodwin and Tschaepe began a conversation about the dilemma, “We started discussing the possibility of a textbook that could teach the students about microaggressions, while at the same time teaching them this historical background that would inform their understanding about microaggressions,” said Tschaepe. Goodwin, a history professor, focused on the history of racism starting with slavery and the racist elements and culture, “For me, microaggressions is the same thing as hidden racism,” said Goodwin. He said it is the same “stuff” we’ve been dealing with. “I wanted to show that we’ve been at this for a minute, welcome to the party,” said Goodwin.

 

During their research, they found there was a lack of smaller cases of microaggressions that happened in the past they could relate to the present.  “We wanted to give the students tools so that they could better analyze and understand,” said Tschaepe, “We needed a better analyzation of the historical accounts, little stories that contributed to this, but we also needed the ethical and conceptual tools.” In the book, Goodwin said he spent a lot of time talking about the black family during slavery and the limits put on it. “They tried to create a family within an environment that was so suppressive,” said Goodwin. He went on to talk about how slavery has influenced how America operates today, “This society doesn’t want to deal with race; They say they do, but they really don’t,” said Goodwin. The two are looking to create a second part of the book that focuses on life after the Civil War.