Noted diversity author plans return to Inland Empire

Nationally acclaimed diversity author and speaker Allan G. Johnson will give a series of presentations at Washington State University’s Pullman and Spokane campuses Feb. 13-16.

Johnson recently released the second edition of “Privilege, Power, and Difference,” a book used widely in college classrooms to teach about race relations and social justice.

Johnson made his first trip to WSU in 2003. After receiving rave reviews from faculty, staff and students that year, he was invited back in 2004 to speak to audiences at the Pullman and Vancouver campuses.

“He spoke to standing-room-only crowds,” said Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity Felicia Gaskins. “We had so many students tell us how his presentations really opened their eyes to the problems of race relations and other forms of discrimination.”

Johnson’s first stop will be at WSU Spokane on Feb. 14. He will speak at the Community Leaders’ Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Riverpoint Health Sciences Building #110A and B. The public is invited to his afternoon session beginning at 3:30 p.m. in the Riverpoint Campus Auditorium, Phase I Building.

On Feb. 15, Johnson will appear on the Pullman campus with a live videostream interview beginning at 1:30 p.m. in #T-101 of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Building. The public is invited to sit in the studio audience as Johnson answers questions about his book before a nationwide audience on the American Distance Education Consortium network.

He will then give a presentation titled “Untying the Knot of Racism” at 4:30 p.m. in the Compton Union Building Ballroom.

Johnson will spend Feb. 16 talking with Washington State University leaders before heading home.

“Each year we invite Allan to WSU, we try to make him accessible to different groups within the university system. This is the first year he will spend time talking to our academic leaders,” said Gaskins. “Many of them are currently reading his book in preparation for his visit.”

Johnson decided to write a second edition of “Privilege, Power, and Difference” in large part because WSU Disability Studies Professor Marshall Mitchell encouraged him to include the topic of disabilities. Johnson wrote in the book’s introduction, “What followed was a long period during which I had to educate myself and listen to those who knew more about this than I did.”

Johnson has written several other books including “The Gender Knot” (2005), “The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology” (2000), and “The Forest and the Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice and Promise” (1997). He has worked on issues of social inequality since receiving his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Michigan in 1972.

“In this work, my goal is to present controversial, often difficult issues with gentle and compassionate clarity in ways that people not only understand, but can relate to on a personal level,” said Johnson.