Join All School Day 2018 for a Performance of An Octoroon: Race and Identity in America, Both Then and Now

Race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status – all these identities play a role in how individuals interact with their environments and communities. Many people are offered distinct privileges based on their identities, while the intersection of certain identities can create a whole new set of challenges for others. To effectively serve communities, social workers must make it their mission to understand the dynamics of identity, recognizing the challenges that privilege can create for oppressed groups and reflecting on how their own identities shape their perspectives and interactions.  

In response to the overwhelming call from students to tackle this timely issue, this year’s All School Day will address the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work will partner with the USC School of Dramatic Arts to present An Octoroon, a play by Branden Jacob-Jenkins, which challenges the audience to consider how history has been presented based on who has told the story. An adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon, the performance will explore how society creates perceptions and bias around constructions of race, gender, class and ethnicity, encouraging the audience to put themselves in the shoes of members of “othered” groups to break down stereotypes and confront misconceptions that are passed down through generations.    

Students will then be invited to participate in a series of interactive improvisational scenes about identity and social inequality within a social work setting. Actors will engage audience members to discuss racism, classism and sexism, highlighting micro- and macro-aggressive examples.  

About All School Day

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work’s annual All School Day event began after the Los Angeles riots in 1992, which were compounded by existing racial tensions. Since then, students, faculty members and community leaders have gathered each year to celebrate diversity through an exchange of ideas and to learn how to better communicate despite differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, social class and disability.

Event Details

Students will attend the event on campus, while MSW@USC students are invited to livestream the event beginning at 9 a.m. PST February 27. Join the livestream here

Our MSW@USC students will participate in the interactive scenes and with their on-campus colleagues via polling and chat features.

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Join the Conversation

Make your voice heard by sharing your thoughts, questions and related articles using #AllSchoolDay2018.

To help prepare for All School Day, consider reviewing and sharing the MSW@USC’s Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege. This toolkit provides readers with a number of group exercises to encourage productive discourse around issues of diversity and the role of identity in social relationships, both on a micro (individual) and macro (communal) level. 

Citation for this content: The MSW@USC, the Online master of social work program at the University of Southern California.