Student says some events overshadow or trivialize Black History Month

To the Editor:

This letter is mostly for those who have not yet taken the time to celebrate Black History Month. Though the Afro-American Cultural Center has been diligent in its commemorations, many members of the Yale community have not embraced Black History Month as much as they could and, perhaps, should.

Guntherpalooza and last week’s Sex Week at Yale have attracted a significant amount of attention on campus. I do not doubt their place in Yale culture, but their timing has probably had the unintentional effect of decreasing students’ awareness of Black History Month.

But whatever uneasiness I had about these events paled in comparison to what I felt after learning of a recent a cappella jam, hosted by the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, entitled “Manifest Destiny.” The choice of such a title was a cause for concern in itself. What further shocked me was the fact that the event’s posters featured differing ticket prices that mocked racial and gender inequalities. These posters seemed embarrassingly ignorant because they were produced during Black History Month, and furthermore, during the same month that the great Coretta Scott King was buried.

Last week, a disturbing personal experience further convinced me of the need for greater Black History Month appreciation. As another black student and I were clearly walking towards the main Morse gate, a fellow student, already near the gate, looked over her shoulder at us and then made sure to close the gate entrance. Since my friend and I are both bespectacled individuals who were wearing backpacks at the time, this student’s prejudices were especially stupefying. Her stereotypes, the disrespectful ads for “Manifest Destiny” and the passing of numerous black legends implore me to ask everyone to take at least one moment to truly reflect on black history.

Victor Kwansa ’08

Feb. 19, 2006

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