“RaceOff” in front of WCU students


WCU’s Last Minute Production’s banner for Teja Arboleda’s talk. “Race Off: Race is a Pigment of Your Imagination” poster.

Teja Arboleda, the champion of diversity and the ‘speaker for the human race’ will make his appearance at Western Carolina University on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. in the UC Theater.

The Entertaining Diversity, a minority-owned production, entertainment and educational collaborative founded by Arboleda, provides details about his work as a TEDx speaker and consultant on diversity, race and their power. He has been a powerful keynote speaker and performance-lecturer for more than 700 educational institutions, companies, and civic groups in 48 states because he is a cross-culture, diversity, and inclusion expert.

Arboleda is African-American/Filipino-Chinese and a German-Danish. He grew up in Japan and has traveled through many countries. He is the author of In the Shadow of Race, which is an account of his personal experiences as a multicultural, multiethnic and “multiracial” American. Arboleda has spent 26 years creating commercials and educational programs for distribution and television, including broadcasting companies such as ABC and Discovery. He has an Emmy Award and two Telly Awards for his work. 

The topic for the presentation is RaceOff, an interactive, motivational, and inspirational presentation that will challenge the audience to get rid of the common misconceptions about identity that gets in the way of their thoughts. According to  Arboleda’s website, “The fundamental tenet of RaceOff is to eliminate racial categories by challenging the archaic rubric of color and feature-based designations while celebrating the cultural and ethnic premises of identity.”

Last Minute Productions brings speakers they believe would be interesting and engaging to students.

“I wanted to bring more interactive speakers to campus. Students react better to speakers when they don’t just have to sit there and listen to someone talk at them for an hour – I’ve noticed that students like to feel engaged and take some part in the programs. I kept all of these factors in mind when I chose Teja because he embodies all of these things in his  programs,” Last Minute Productions Leadership Coordinator, Jahniece Graham, said.