Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crazy Talk: BYU Students on Black History

Crazy Talk: BYU Students on Black History

The good news: Everyone knows about Martin Luther King. The bad news: No one knows anything else. At all. (One girl's idea of a black historical figure was "Fifty Cents" and another referred to Rosa Parks as the "lady on the bus").

But thing that actually made the supposed-to-be-humorous video cringe-worthy was not actually that the students interviewed struggled with the facts. Those are easy to learn (and we could all probably stand to brush up). But changing attitudes is another story, and what made us stop laughing abruptly was the dismissive, ridiculously narrow, and condescending take on current black culture that seemed to underlie the exchanges – from the interviewer's use of blackface (why?) to the unabashed use of punch lines about rap and grape juice as touchstones of the African American experience. That, even more than the blanking on black history facts, is the part that shows us how far we really have to come.

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Crazy Talk: BYU Students on Black History
Jenée Desmond-Harris
Wed, 08 Feb 2012 17:53:00 GMT

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