In “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege” on January 4 at the Princeton Public Library, some of the discussion focused on racial dialogue, or the lack of it, at Princeton University. Here is a Princeton Alumni Weekly article, written by Theola Labbe, on how a white student struggled to find interracial experiences and succeeded, in Melissa Harris Lacewell’s class. Excerpts below and for the complete article click here.

“But once she moved to campus, Hutton was disappointed to find that Princeton didn’t hold the key to forging friendships across racial and ethnic lines. Instead, she says, she found students in her dorm sticking together by their shared associations, and one of the factors that determined friendships was race. She found an opening on the academic side when her adviser suggested that Hutton take a course, “Disaster, Race and American Politics,” taught last fall by a new professor, Melissa Harris-Lacewell.

“Hutton, the sophomore who wanted a diverse group of friends when she came to Princeton, says that the class has changed both her course of study and her perspective. She has decided to focus on issues of race and is taking a class on race and public policy. She finally has the more diverse group of friends that she sought when she came to Princeton, and she’s able to have more honest conversations with them about race. And recently, Hutton joined the board of the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding — as a “little activist in a pearl-wearing package,” she says.”

Not in Our Town will host the next “Continuing Conversations” is February 2, when the discussion will focus on Jennifer Baszile’s book “The Black Girl Next Door.”

Barbara Fox