Exhibit highlights us vs. them mindset

“Them: Images of Separation,” a traveling exhibit that closed Jan. 24 at Detroit Mercy, showcased an array of items that focused on stereotypes of different groups of people.

The exhibit allowed visitors to explore the many ways that material substances are used to validate us-vs.-them thinking.

Featuring 35 pieces and panels, the moving exhibit from the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University was on display at Detroit Mercy’s library. It will now return back to Ferris State.

“We had to pay for a weekly rental and transportation back and forth,” said George Libbey, associate dean for Public Services and Libraries. “This is actually sponsored by Student Life and several other organizations. They were looking for a place to have it and we had space to fit it. It’s kind of a tight space, but since it extends through a good part of the library, anyone coming in here gets to see part of it for sure. It’s a nice location.”

Dorothy Stewart, associate dean of students, applauded the exhibit.

“This academic traveling exhibit … was established to educate everyone about stereotypes, how they were created, and the importance for all of us to be open to each other’s backgrounds and cultures,” she said.

When creating this educational exhibit, the organizer took inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“We chose the library because of the large amount of students that come and go. (We knew) it would give them time to pause and reflect in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Stewart.

In the past, the planning team has had many other exhibits, including “The Tunnel of Oppression” sponsored last year by Residential Life.

“I am sure we will look into another form of exhibit for 2018,” said Stewart.