Debby Irving, a white woman who enjoyed a “blissfully sheltered, upper-middle-class suburban childhood” in Winchester, Massachusetts, became aware of Boston’s racial divide through her work in city classrooms and nonprofits from the mid-1980s to early 2000s. Disturbed and intrigued by what she observed and experienced, she was determined to deepen her understanding of racial dynamics. This determination became a personal journey as Ms. Irving “shifted from trying to figure out people whom I’d been taught to see as ‘other’ to making sense of my own socialization.”
Working today as a racial justice educator, Ms. Irving addressed “Issues of Racial Justice” at the Society of Skeptics on November 29. She is the author of the critically acclaimed 2014 memoir Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race and holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MBA from Simmons College. To read more about Ms. Irving and her work, visit her website at www.debbyirving.com.
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.