Common Experience

Each year at Dallas College, students, faculty and staff come together to read a selected book through the Common Book program. Conversations and activities related to the book's themes build a sense of community across each campus.

Activities includes film screenings, lectures, workshops, author Q&As and contests. Additionally, instructors may incorporate the book into their lesson plans and assignments. Previous Common Book selections have included "The Martian," by Andy Weir, "March: Book One," by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, and "It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace," by Rye Barcott and “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent” by Isabel Wilkerson. 

The Common Book Experience aims to create engaging, thought-provoking dialogue across the Dallas College Community. If you'd like to participate in the planning process, please fill out our General Interest form!

If you want or need a copy of "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent" by Isabel Wilkerson, it is available.


Announcing the new Common Book for the 2023-2025 academic years!

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity 

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture & Identity

by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi
(for use during academic years 2023-2025)

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity, By Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi was selected for the 2023 – 2025 academic years. The Common Experience Taskforce received over 160 votes from the Dallas College faculty, staff and students.

photo of Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi
Authors Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi

Penguin Random House describes the book as “An eye-opening exploration of race in America”. The publisher states Guo and Vulchi reveal the lines that separate us based on race or other perceived differences and how telling our stories–and listening deeply to the stories of others–are the first and most crucial steps we can take towards negating racial inequity in our culture. Featuring interviews with over 150 Americans accompanied by their photographs, this intimate toolkit also offers a deep examination of the seeds of racism and strategies for effecting change.

The Common Book Experience Program is an opportunity to engage students, faculty, and staff in on campus activities and open discussions. Activities includes film screenings, lectures, workshops, author Q&As and contests. Copies of the book are available to check out at your local Dallas College Learning Commons.

Additionally, instructors may incorporate the book into their lesson plans and assignments. Free digital copies are available for faculty and students as well as resources to use in your curriculum. Please complete the General Interest form or contact Dr. Toni Robinson through Teams or via email at

To learn more about this book, please use the links below to explore:


Meet the Faculty Panel from the Common Book Caste event

Timothy Cedor 

Timothy Cedor

Eastfield Campus, English Faculty

I have enjoyed reading my students responses to Caste in their journals. They are learning a history they were not taught and they are discussing things in class that directly impact their lives.

Cheri Edwards 

Cheri Edwards

Cedar Valley Campus, English Faculty

Caste: The Origin of Our Discontent in my view is essential reading for educators. In the book, Isabel Wilkerson brings together historical sources often written by the nations forefathers to narratively trace the role of the social construct, “race” as a means to “cast” individuals in permanent roles based on their physical features and other arbitrary measurements. The focus on the hierarchical nature of this system that affords hereditary rights to those in “dominant cast,” offers a compelling explanation to the persistence of “race,” and notes it as a necessary wedge used by those in power to cause divisiveness between individuals who sometimes have much in common.


Elgrie Hurd

Psychology and Sociology Faculty

The challenge with the social construction of race in the United States of America is the lack of context. One cannot effectively examine the present situation of race, without getting the details of how it started and how we got here. Wilkerson’s Caste seeks to give readers a narrative that brings to light an intentionality of race relations that should not be ignored. If readers are willing to embrace any aspect of the book, they will see the dangerous impact loathing in denial…denying how race is embedded in the United States of America keeps from moving toward from changing the narrative.


Dominica McCarthy

Associate Dean Student Success

As a German born Black child, race and lack of minority representation was something I recall becoming aware of at a very young age. At five I recall my father using my markers to explain the varied skin tones of my family. From my blonde hair blue eyed grandmother’s white complexion to my father’s deep chocolate skin and eyes I was able to understand why my skin tone was located somewhere in between the spectrum of colors he created and wondered why I didn’t see these options in the dolls in the store.

In Junior High and High School, I had numerous conversations about race with several of my white classmates who felt safe asking me questions about “Black people”.

Learning about the concept of imposter syndrome from my Native American professor in college and the impact that it had and continues to have on me at times as a woman of color.

Shifting my perception on race, religion, power, and just about everything in between after reading the book Caste as a middle-aged adult. What I just listed are the four most impactful experiences that I have had throughout my lifetime as it pertains to race, my self-identity, and the societies of our world. This book has completely shifted my understanding of not only the construct of race but the use of caste systems by the dominant who use them to not only attain but to maintain power over those deemed “less than”.

I am in no way an expert or researcher on race but discussions about race is something I have actively engaged in for over twenty years with scholars, friends, and colleagues. It is my belief that having conversations with others is the first step to gaining a better understanding and appreciation for those dissimilar from ourselves which can evoke the empathy needed to change the inequities within our societies. This book allowed my colleagues and I to engage in conversations about race and caste systems in a space in which participants felt safe to openly discuss topics that are often considered to be off limits, especially at work. Given that these crucial conversations took place during the height of the racial justice movement made it so much more impactful for our institution and the individuals within. It came at a time when many of us were trying to find ways to support the movement while others were trying to gain a better understanding of what it was and what was needed make a difference. I thank Dr. Braddy for making a book selection that for some may have been considered bold at the time. However, for those of us that were encouraging its selection we understood, if not now than when? Thankfully, she agreed!


Ruben Arellano

Mountain View Campus, History Faculty


For more information on the Common Book Experience Program, please contact Toniette Haynes Robinson.


Toniette Haynes Robinson, Ph.D.

  • Associate Dean, Special Academic Programs
  • Academic Services