Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Dr. Boyce: Leave it to Mississippi to Put Huxtables in Blackface
Your Black World – Scholarship in Action
A sorority at the University of Southern Mississippi decided that it might be fun to depict “The Cosby Show” by putting students in blackface. The off campus party was meant to be good old fashioned fun, likely inspired by students whose professors have never educated them on the fact that their actions are horribly offensive to millions of people.
Phi Mu sorority is being asked to explain why some of its members felt compelled to behave in this manner, but they don’t have much to say. They have at least stepped out to meet with black campus leaders to discuss the incident. They are also expected to sponsor a campus-wide event on diversity appreciation.
As I mentioned during a similar incident that took place at Arizona State University, the students are usually the last ones I blame when events like this take place. Instead, I look at their parents and professors, who’ve never taken the time to educate them on the history of their actions and why they are so hurtful.
As Southern Mississippi University seeks ways to do damage control after this incident, I am hopeful that they will also take the time to consider how the actions of their students are a reflection of what they are being taught. Analyzing the required curriculum might be an important step in helping students overcome the effects of our nation’s racial sickness. Progress is only going to be made if we all engage in deliberate efforts to truly respect diversity and not simply wait for the next blackface incident to happen.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and spokesperson for the Ujamaa Initiative to support black-owned businesses. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to you, please click here.
Posted by Staff at 9:17 AM