Last week, my roommate sent me a link to a YouTube video in which a white comedian in blackface interviewed students at Brigham Young University about their knowledge of black history.
Many of the students were unable to say for sure whether Black History Month was March or November (for the record, it’s February). And when asked to name an influential figure in black history, one student seemed to draw a blank — until he remembered Samuel L. Jackson.
Out of the 14,000 students at BYU, only 176 of them are black. But these demographics are no excuse for this level of ignorance.
And though the video was likely edited to highlight the most ridiculous comments, the casual apathy these answers revealed is still problematic.
My initial reaction was, of course, frustration. As a minority, I must be aware and concerned with the issues of the majority community in order to be functional in society. But the majority community can get away with having little to no knowledge of minority communities.
Why is this double standard socially acceptable? Why don’t we feel more obligated to alleviate this ignorance?
Although I believe UNC’s student body is far more informed than the students in the video, some of these trends are still seen at our university — and not just among the majority.
Not only within the white community but within all distinct communities at UNC, we are too comfortable being apathetic toward the happenings outside of our own racial communities.
I believe this is directly connected to a misinterpretation of the idea of diversity and true ethnic integration. For so long, we have believed that meeting a school quota for minority students will create a diverse campus.