Quinnipiac University

Professor’s radio show explores equity and race

February 09, 2021

Headshot of  Khalilah Brown-Dean

Khalilah Brown-Dean has been a coveted radio guest for years. So when Connecticut Public Radio asked her to host a new show about social disruption in America, Brown-Dean saw a chance to effect change from a bully pulpit. Or at least, a bully microphone.

Brown-Dean, an associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac and senior director for inclusive excellence, made her debut on “Disrupted” in October.

The weekly program can be heard live at 2 p.m. Wednesdays and rebroadcast on WNPR.

It also can be accessed via the Connecticut Public mobile app, the ctpublic.org website and the “Disrupted” podcast.

“I’m an educator at heart,” Brown-Dean said. “I’m always thinking, ‘How do we use this moment or this experience not just to have a conversation, but to have people leave with something?’ You never want people to leave the dining room table like they’re still hungry.”

After producing about a dozen episodes, “Disrupted” has become Brown-Dean’s recipe for provocative dialogues about the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial unrest.

One recent episode included a candid conversation by Black police officers about race and the criminal justice system. Another episode considered how athletes use their visibility and influence to promote activism and foster change.

“Through the conversations we have on the show with people from all walks of life ... I want us to embrace the idea that innovation can come out of these disruptions,” Brown-Dean said. “Together, we can build something that will be stronger and more sustainable while we continue to embrace our collective power and agency.”

Each week, “Disrupted” looks to raise that awareness and introduce new pathways for a more just society.

“The other thing it raises is the concern about audience. It’s the same concern that people have on our campus,” she said. “If I say something in a class that people disagree with, or that challenges them, what will that response be? As long as I have this platform — whether it’s as senior director, professor or show host — I need to make sure I’m working to leave it better than I found it.”

Read more articles in the Winter edition of Quinnipiac Magazine at QU.edu/magazine.

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