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CBID Conversations: PMG Celebrates Black History Month with ‘DIG In’ Speaker Professor David Ikard

1 MINUTE READ | February 28, 2022

CBID Conversations: PMG Celebrates Black History Month with ‘DIG In’ Speaker Professor David Ikard

In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month. However, Black history taught in schools, even today, has often been watered-down, plagued with inaccuracies, and stripped of context and rich, full-bodied historical figures. So says Dr. David Ikard, professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, who spoke to the PMG team this month as part of our ‘DIG In’ speaker series. ‘DIG In’ at PMG brings in speakers from diverse backgrounds and industries to spark meaningful conversations that celebrate diverse people, voices, perspectives, and experiences, as part of PMG’s overall efforts to foster a culture of belonging, inclusion, and diversity. 

Using the real story of Rosa Parks as an example, Ikard highlighted how making the realities of race more benign and digestible harms us all, and he illustrated how easy it is for people trying to tell a story from their perspective to romanticize unsettling racial aspects of American history. He gave multiple examples of when those with power tended to whitewash the uncomfortable parts of history to fit the worldview they want, rather than the one that is.

He closed by imploring our team to “take seriously the stories and experiences of those marginalized” so that we may better see hard truths and discover opportunities to have difficult conversations. We have much appreciation for the encouragement to open-mindedly have discussions of this nature—thanks Professor Ikard!

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Along with Professor Ikard’s session, our BIPOC ERG led PMG’s #RelearnOurHistory, an educational campaign on PMG’s Instagram throughout February that kicked off with a Black History Month educational podcast playlist on Spotify that spotlights some of the many powerful stories and accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history.

Posted by: David Gong