Freshman expected to read graphic novel to help them 'advance' 'social justice'

Arcadia University is using a book called 'Good Talk' as the common read for freshmen.

The book challenges readers with questions like 'Are white people afraid of brown people?'

This year, incoming freshmen at Arcadia University are expected to a read a graphic novel that is meant to equip them with conversational tools to “advance” concepts like “equity, diversity, and social justice.”

Mira Jacobs’s Good Talk was assigned an effort to encourage discussions about race and diversity among students, the university announced in a statement

The book, which promotes a progressive perspective on race and culture, will serve as a basis of discussion during first-year seminars and introductory English classes. 

In the statement, the university claims the book was selected largely for its ability to help facilitate understanding of “how our conversations can advance or inhibit equity, diversity, and social justice.”

The university also plans on having the author on campus for a book signing.

The graphic novel functions as a memoir of Jacobs’s life, inviting the reader to journey with her from her childhood in New Mexico to arguments with her Trump-supporting in-laws.

In an interview with The Atlantic, the author claimed that the inspiration for the book came from her fear of Trump’s political ascendance. Jacobs says she believes that Trump uses racist rhetoric.

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The novel challenges readers with provocative questions such as, “Is it bad to be brown?” and “Are white people afraid of brown people?”

In an interview with PBS, Jacobs mentioned that the goal of the book is to encourage people to talk more about race. In the interview, she claims that no one in our society wants to talk about race anymore, and that they are sick to death of it. 

In an interview with the Bookable podcast, Jacobs railed against those who believe, “the opposite of racism is love.” “The opposite of racism is you fucking thinking about what’s happening and unpacking it.”

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Good Talk is not Arcadia University’s first attempt to embed progressive racial ideology into their mandated freshman reads. Last summer, the university assigned Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Anti-Racist” as the mandated reading. 

Kendi hosted a webinar, in which he encouraged members of the Arcadia community to, “enact change where they can, such as incorporating social justice and community impact into curriculum organizations.”

The “Good Talk” is part of Arcadia’s mission to infuse progressive racial ideology into the school’s academic curriculum. The school recently hosted a Zoom seminar on redesigning syllabi to meet anti-racist practices. Arcadia also launched the The Living Our Values Experience (LOVE) in which participants are expected to do “anti-racist work and study and develop practices and interconnections between structural systems of discrimination and oppression, including bias, stereotype, prejudice, microaggressions, privilege, and power.” 

Campus Reform reached out to Arcadia University for comment, but they did not respond.