Esteemed scholar speaks on new minority perspectives

“By 2060 we will all be minorities,” said Ronald Takaki, renowned scholar and pioneer of Asian American studies in the United States, during his lecture at Storer Auditorium last week. Hurricane Productions, in conjunction with Asian Pacific American Awareness Month, invited Takaki to UM to speak about the importance of embracing the many faces and cultures of Americans. In his lecture, “America in a Different Mirror: Re-Visioning our History,” Takaki gave an alternative story of American ancestry, different from the traditional teachings that American ancestry is primarily derived from European immigrants.

“I thought he was very informational,” Mark Abinsay, freshman, said. “He allowed me to realize the importance of getting an understanding of my culture.”

Hurricane Productions felt that this was an appropriate time to have Takaki as a guest speaker at UM in light of the recent affirmative action debates at the University. His lecture was a celebration of the diversity at UM.

“It was pretty damn amazing. It makes you think by giving a different twist on life.”-DONALD MATSUURA, Freshman

Takaki structured his speech as a class lecture, using a projector and interacting with the audience. He asked questions about vocabulary words and statistics regarding the diverse groups of immigrants who came to the United States, immigrants who worked hard in factories and railroads to help establish and build the country. He reinforced the importance of these often forgotten ancestors.

President Shalala made a surprise appearance in the audience, asking the final question during the question and answer session after Takaki’s lecture.

Takaki stressed the need “for a more inclusive multicultural curriculum” in universities. He gave the examples of the 1965 Watts riot at Berkeley that helped bring about a black history course at the university, as well as the persistence of students in the late 1980s to have a Multicultural Studies program.

“It was pretty damn amazing,” Donald Matsuura, freshman, said. “It makes you think by giving a different twist on life.”

For more information about Hurricane Productions events, call 305-284-4606.

Camille Cohen can be contacted at