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30 Mar 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mr. Obed Silva will be speaking on “Unlearning Racism” on March 30, 2017, in CCCPLX 414.
Obed Silva was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in Orange County, California. As immigrants, his family’s first home was in a predominantly white neighborhood in the City of Westminster. However, it was not in this neighborhood where he first encountered racism, but at “the happiest place on earth”—Disneyland. While in line for the Haunted House, with others from his family, he (eight years old at the time) stopped to drink from a fountain. Barely able to reach the faucet, he stood on the tips of his toes and brought his lips as close as he could to the stream of water. Upon drinking, a voice from behind said: “Don’t put your beaner lips on that faucet.” When he turned to the voice, he was met with the angry blue eyes of an older white man. Hurt and confused, Obed turned away from the faucet and ran to his family. He never said a word to them about the incident.
Obed experienced more racist behavior throughout his life, most of it learned while serving a sentence in Orange County Juvenile Hall. Eventually he adopted this behavior himself. Fortunately, through his college education and learning about other people’s experiences and cultures, he was able to “unlearn” this behavior.
Currently, Obed Silva is an Assistant Professor of English at East Los Angeles College, where he spends the proudest moments every day teaching and learning from students of all cultures and nationalities.