A Black History Month Discussion at 1010 WINS   by Ana Sampson

In post-election 2017, just about any discussion of race becomes contentious. But a mixed-race panel of college students hosted by 1010 WINS last Friday, expressed hope not rage. “I was raised to treat everyone equally,” said Marie Brewer, a recent City College graduate. The rest of the panel seemed to share her sentiment.

“You guys give me hope,” said Larry Mullins, the 1010 WINS anchor.

The panel at the Adorama Live Theater in lower Manhattan, entitled Race 101, included three other City College students, along with Brewer. Led by Mullins and co-moderated by Harlem pastor Rev. Dr. Calvin O Butts III (also president of SUNY Old Westbury), the panel was formed in the spirit of Black History Month in hopes of gauging the experience of race and racism in Millennial America.

The hour-long segment had its moments of pushback. Mullins introduced the idea of instituting a history month for other races to further equality. The panelists laughed off the idea and even questioned the need for Black History month at all. “Black History month shouldn’t be a thing,” said Shanique Jones, a City College senior. “Black history is American history.”

Viewers on Facebook live reacted. “Black History Month was created because you cannot trust White Americans to tell the truth of American history” said Facebook user JT Moore.

The segment even touched on the use of the N-word, which received mixed views on who could or couldn’t use it. “I don’t feel uncomfortable using the word,” said Grisha Levine, a junior at CUNY Kingsborough, who is white. Still, he indicated that his black friends used the N-word so much that he didn’t understand the negative connotation until he grew older.

Dr. Butts took a hard line; he believes that no one should ever use the word. Marie Brewer disagreed. Though she felt uncomfortable saying it as a white woman, she understood why her friends of color used it. “It’s not my place to police their language,” she said.

In the end, the panelists seemed to accept that racism is still a work in progress. Equivocally put by CCNY senior Matthew Herrmann, “Our generation is normalizing race in order to surpass the labels.

To hear the entire conversation, click here.

 

 

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