How SU is Celebrating Black History Month
Like most other institutions of higher education, Syracuse University is taking part in the recognition of Black History Month. The 28-day (sometimes 29) celebration is a time to reflect and honor the contributions African Americans have made throughout U.S. history. But, despite (probably) good intentions, not every part of the celebrations were well-received. Let’s review.
The Good: The Office of Multicultural Affairs sponsors a school wide celebration of black history month, and throughout the month they’ve hosted several events including lectures, performances, and visits from some prominent members of the African American community. That’s definitely a plus. Students got a chance to speak with Beverly Jenkins, a popular author of African American fiction, as well as the opportunity to hear from ESPN NBA insider Stephen A. Smith. Check out the Office of Multicultural Affairs website for more events being held throughout the rest of the month.
The Bad: While there are a lot of cool events going on for Black History month, the celebrations don’t seem to come from all members of the SU community. The event-planning and participation needs to extend past the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Black history is important for all students to know about, no matter what their race or ethnicity may be. Organizations on campus that aren’t necessarily associated with African American affairs can also host and sponsor events to celebrate the rich history of black Americans. Until Black History Month is celebrated by everyone, not just black people, we can never really be where we need to be as a community and as a society.
The Ugly: To kick off Black History Month, Syracuse University dining halls decided to serve fried chicken and watermelon as a way to celebrate the month long holiday. Are you fucking kidding, SU? This is how we’re going to honor African American students on campus? Why don’t we just have minstrel shows throughout the month of February and change the name from Black History Month to Insensitive Stereotypes Month? We understand that this was an attempt to recognize black culture (and that pretty much everyone gets excited for fried chicken and watermelon), but the execution needs to be a whole lot better.
Photo by Adham Elsharkawi