Ada Writers hosts program on unconscious bias in writing

ADA—Ada Writers will host a special presentation of “Hidden Ideas: Unconscious Bias in Writing” by Professor Rhonda Ragsdale at their last regular meeting of the year at noon, Saturday, November 22, upstairs in the Ada Public Library.

"Growing up, most of us were taught language rules that were designed by people who weren't thinking about inclusion," Ragsdale said. "Many of us don't realize the rules have changed."

“We’re excited to have Rhonda speak to us on this important topic,” said Ada Writers President Stephen B. Bagley. “It promises to be a lively, fascinating program. Her presentation will begin at noon after the Ada Writers regular meeting at 11 a.m.”

Ragsdale said that unconscious bias can be found in the work of many authors. "Every day, language all around us reveals old habits of speaking with bias; these are often biases we aren't even aware we are perpetuating. While some people want to diminish the effects of sexist, racist, or otherwise negative language, there are words that push readers away, create distance between people, and shape the way children and others think about the world."

Ragsdale is an Associate Professor of History at Lone Star College - North Harris, and a PhD candidate at Rice University concentrating on the fields of Southern History, African American History, and Sociology. The working title of her dissertation is "Black Towns of the United States: 1700s-1900s."

She completed her undergraduate work at Texas Woman's University, where she graduated with honors. She continued her academic career at the University of North Texas where she received a Master of Science degree, culminating with her thesis "A Place to Call Home: A Study of the Self-Segregated Community of Tatums, Oklahoma: 1894-1970."

After receiving a full fellowship award from Rice University, Ragsdale completed coursework, received a Master of Arts degree, and passed comprehensive examinations in the summer of 2007. Her ongoing studies include a certificate from the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexualities, which will be presented upon completion of her PhD.

Ada Writers is dedicated to the joy of writing and to aiding writers in any facet and level of their ongoing pursuit of writing well. It meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. upstairs at the Ada Public Library. Occasionally meeting times are changed to accommodate holidays and special events.

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