Bakersfield College discusses Irshad Manji’s views on her book and the Heterodox Academy video

Teresa Balmori Perez , Reporter

Bakersfield College held a webinar via Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. . The webinar discussed different issues regarding the Heterodox Academy video “Fighting Racism Without Shaming” and Irshad Manji’s book “Don’t Label Me: How to Do Diversity Without Inflaming the Culture Wars.” 

The event started with Sonya Christian, the president of Bakersfield College, and Mindy Wilmot, the reference librarian at BC introducing the two panelists, Erin Miller, the History professor at BC, and Pamela Boyles, the English professor at BC. During the event, Miller and Boyles both gave their discussions and thoughts about the video and the book that features Irshad Manji, a Canadian author, and educator. 

Miller explained that in the book Manji tells a story about her experience that she went through while she was marrying her wife and how her conservative and Muslim family all gave a wonderful toast to their new marriage. 

“The power of this story exemplifies the message Dr. Manji wishes to make. It’s the richness added to her life by relationships with people who hold very different views,” Miller said. 

She encouraged the audience to read her book but she did warn the viewers that the book might offend people due to the different political and social justice topics that Manji mentions in the book. 

“But if you can move past the hurt you might feel, we can all move forward to a better place,” Miller stated. 

Miller discussed the ideas of honest diversity that Manji talks about in her book. Miller stated that “multicultural includes all groups and all ideas. And the way we can move away from ideas that are harmful to honest diversity, is by engaging people sincerely, that’s another big concept from her”. 

She explains that Monji takes the reader into a journey that challenges people to become a better person while also reflecting on oneself.

“That’s why I came to encourage you to read her book and think differently,” she said. 

After Miller’s discussion, Boyles shares her thoughts and some other topics that Manji went over in the video. Boyles said, “[Manji] says in the video, if you’re committed to solving an issue you have to ask yourself this, is the method I’m pursuing serving the cause that I claim to be about?” 

“I think with some of the really big issues that we face, we like simple answers,” Boyles said. 

Boyles gave an explanation on a part of the video discussing issues surrounding the confederate flag and how the topic led her to think about the different racial and social justice issues that she discusses with her students. For her English classes, she assigns her students to write about racial situations that are happening in today’s world such as Black Lives Matter. 

They announced that there will be more virtual events similar to this in the future and the full event will be posted on the BC website for all students to see.