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click to enlarge Think & Drink: Serious discussions in a laid-back environment.
  • Think & Drink: Serious discussions in a laid-back environment.

Discussions of tough subjects like race, income inequality and other social problems are typically reserved for town hall forums and college lecture halls. You know, stuffy sorts of places.

Humanities Washington, the state's cultural education nonprofit, wants to bring these touchy issues somewhere a bit more comfortable. You know, places that serve wine and food. The organization's Think & Drink series plants high-level thinkers in restaurants and pubs for moderated discussions of issues like the ones slated for conversation in Spokane — race, class and education.

"This is laid-back and relaxed and down-to-earth. There's a level of intimidation in a formal setting, but this is very informal. This is the humanities in a public place," says Humanities Washington program manager Zaki Abdelhamid.

Monday's discussion at Lindaman's Gourmet Bistro on the South Hill is moderated by Gonzaga University professor and author (and occasional Inlander contributor) Shann Ray. GU's chief diversity officer and associate academic vice president, Dr. Raymond Reyes, is the featured speaker.

Think & Drink forums are held throughout the state, and this year Abdelhamid says all of the discussions have been focused on some aspect of race. The confluence of race, class and education seems like a timely choice, given the Supreme Court's decision last month to uphold states' bans on affirmative action for college admissions.

"It is a heavy topic, but we hope people will tell us what they honestly think about this," says Abdelhamid.

The event is first come, first served, so get there a little early to secure a seat.

Think & Drink — On Different Tracks: Race, Class and Education • Free admission • Mon, May 12, at 7 pm • Lindaman's Gourmet Bistro • 1235 S. Grand Blvd.

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