Columnist Charles Blow to Speak at Assembly
Charles Blow, the New York Times visual Op/Ed columnist, will visit Hopkins on Friday, February 19, as a part of the Conversations on Race program. Blow covers everything from politics to public opinion to social justice.
After serving as a graphic artist for The Detroit News, he joined The Times in 1994 as a graphic editor and soon became graphic director. In 2008, he began writing a biweekly column and he published his memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, in 2012.
His work presents poignant, timely connections between America’s complex social issues, with a particular emphasis on racism and the politics of today. He has been actively covering the Presidential campaign, discussing the ways candidates have addressed race relations in America as well as the way candidates are polling among different races and why.
“I think that Blow is an acute and honest observer about race issues in our country. As journalists, our job is to educate the public about issues that can be uncomfortable to talk about, and especially as Op/Ed journalists our duty is to ask controversial questions in order to encourage others to examine their own opinion of a subject,” said Chloe Glass ’17, Op/Ed Editor of The Razor.
In the Conversations on Race program thus far, Hopkins has heard from school administrators, theater performers, movie directors and their fellow peers, but have yet to hear from a full-time writer on these specific issues. “I think it’s a good thing that someone is coming to speak rather than perform, because so far in our discussions people are annoyed with the conversation, so taking a different approach to the conversation is a good thing. I’m excited to see what he has to say as a writer rather than performer,” said Avi Bhaya ’18.
The Conversations on Race program has not been absent from controversy. Students and faculty have grappled with these difficult and oftentimes uncomfortable conversations, united in a struggle to better understand the issues at hand and the community, as a whole. But Glass believes Blow’s portion of the program will have effective results. “I hope that at a time when we are engaging in a school wide discussion on race and racism, Blow’s perspective will help our community engage further with these issues.”
Director of Diversity Amanda Friedman also believes Blow’s visit will be beneficial to the community. “I think that it is a really profound opportunity for our community to listen to an expert who devotes much of his personal and professional time to thinking about these issues,” she said. “He will have a lot to offer Hopkins and weigh in on the difficulty of this conversation. I’m hoping he will offer us some advice based on his vast knowledge and experience on trying to negotiate these issues and has worked tirelessly on trying to raise critical consciousness in media and the news.”
The student-run club Students United for Racial Equity (SURE) has discussed Blow’s work in their biweekly meetings. “I’m excited to hear what he has to say, although this may be because his politics align with mine. He’s a really great writer though, so whatever he has to say should at least be pleasant to listen to even if not everyone agrees with it,” said Maya Zanger-Nadis ’16, co-head of SURE.
The Hopkins community has participated in the Conversations on Race program for the past six months, and Student Council President Will Simon is excited for the next portion: “We’ve had a good range of speakers and presenters on different topics within the Conversations on Race program, but I think Mr. Blow will provide a fresh perspective and a clear message.”Click here
for an inventory of Blow's columns for The Times.