Diversity Seminars at Newbold College of Higher Education have been recorded for some years now. For a variety of reasons, the Q&A sessions which members of the audience frequently judge as 'the best part of the evening' have not been recorded.
Then came the pandemic. And on Tuesday 15 September Newbold's Diversity Centre ran its first-ever Diversity Lecture entirely online. The host for the evening was the Centre's Dr Mike Pearson. The speaker was Dr Gifford Rhamie, Senior Lecturer in Pastoral and Biblical Studies and Director of Field Education at Newbold. The lecture title was: The Racial Pandemic of Ignorance: Black Lives Matter. The Diversity Centre received 230 registrations for this event. On the night itself there were 171 unique viewers from around the world – from inside the Seventh-day Adventist community and outside it – from people in majority black churches, those in majority white churches and those in no churches at all. The lecture was livestreamed and posted on the College's Facebook page where it was viewed 1200 times in the first 48 hours.
The Zoom webinar application offered the facility for comments and questions from this large group to be posted throughout the lecture. 1600 words worth of questions came in – half a lecture in themselves! Predictably, less than a quarter of the questions could be dealt with in the time available. And yet – along with the lecture they demonstrate the variety of attitudes, the complexity of the problem of ignorance about prejudice, and the individual and structural nature of racism which Dr Rhamie outlined in his lecture.
Dr Rhamie's lecture can be watched online here.