Social-Cultural Quantum Optics at a Predominantly White University: Refusing, Rebuffing and Undoing Racism through Collective Experiential Observation
Keywords:diversity equity and inclusion, social cultural quantum optics, arts, racial optics, undoing racism, visceral methods, speakout
Racism is commonly defined as prejudice plus power, but in some contexts it can be practiced as a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion. These issues have been at the forefront of popular culture and academic research for some time now, but one could argue, interest has exploded in the U.S. consciousness since May of 2020 and the video recording of the extra-judicial killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, mirroring that of Philando Castile four years earlier in the same city. In this paper we document the ways diversity, equity and inclusion are perceived, and how those perceptions render racism (un)visible. Within this context, we introduce a framework we are calling social-cultural quantum optics (SQO). With data from two large diversity symposia at a university on the east coast that is more diverse than many coupled with our experiences at three art exhibits, we begin to construct a path unlocking small scale, quantum, determinants of racism. We argue that understanding SQO can undo its links to racism on everyday life in cities and communities where universities are located, while at the same time urging the use collective experiential observation of artistic expression to aid in data analysis.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Elizabeth L. Sweet, Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, Karen M. Turner , Elisabeth Fornaro
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