Nunnery: Thoughts on hope, hate and race


Courtesy of Posse Scholars

At the Posse Plus Retreat, scholars tackled issues of race in the U.S., discussing different facets of race including laws, news, culture and media.

For three days and two nights, the Posse Foundation took Case Western Reserve University students, faculty and staff out of the campus bubble to address problems present in our country that stop the world from being as accepting, safe and forward-thinking as we perceive it to be. The “Hope, Hate and Race in the United States” PossePlus retreat tackled the topic of race in our country.

To provide us with a better understanding of the role race plays in the U.S., facts pertaining to laws, news, culture and even media were presented in different stations. As we went through a “tour” of all these stations, we discussed how we interpreted the information concerning race and its role in the country, built on ideas shared by others and formed new perspectives through this.

We then went further into the individual race beliefs we had to find and embrace new understandings. We spoke in large groups, small groups and in one-on-one pairings with other attendees . From the group discussions, we found hope in the words of individuals who pushed through struggles of life spurred from race.

The same can be said of the people who desired to better understand the problems plaguing their fellow students and staff. The last component of the retreat was focused on finding what each person wanted to take with them back to campus from this experience.

I found my personal takeaway while having a one-on-one conversation with a graduate student. The conversation had the goal of pushing through to see what race embodies instead of assuming that it has nothing to do with the person. While conversing with this grad student over growing up in the U.S. and going to school at CWRU, I realized that race played an integral part in telling our stories. It helped shaped the differing worlds we inhabited.

Hearing about her goals and aspirations reminded of my similar desires to push for more than what this life had to offer in a new way. I found it ironic that she had the same desire to place her parent(s) in a better place with a better life following it.

I think it would be great to have more conversations like the ones that took place at the PossePlus retreat on campus. In the week after the retreat I’ve had more conversations with friends about not shying away from race, and have had some interesting talks.

Although it’s easier to dance around the topic of race, we should challenge ourselves to go into the topic with an open mind instead of avoiding it. I find the best place to start is with is the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Don’t try to pry when a person is uncomfortable with sharing something; be patient for when they are ready to share.
Don’t attack a person for an idea they hold. Instead, attack the idea. Or even be less judgemental, because you are likely to project your judgement onto the person you are speaking with. There are guidelines to not messing up conversations around race, but people will still make mistakes.

Accept this, move on and improve for the next time. With any challenge requires some level of bravery.

Learn to be comfortable out of your comfort zone, and to rely less on the bubble surrounding CWRU as a shield from real world problems.

Anthony Nunnery is a first-year student currently undecided. Forgiveness is a hard pill to swallow, but a pill good for your health nonetheless.