Forum focuses on black issues

Hollan Holm

About 40 students gathered on the fourth floor of Downing University Center Monday night to speak their minds at the “Black to Reality” forum.

This first-ever forum analyzed black cultural perceptions as guests on an imaginary talk show hosted by “Ricki Fake” voiced their opinions.

With questions coming from Nashville senior Lakecia Shockley — “Ricki Fake” — and audience members, the forum discussed topics like black stereotypes in the media and African American spending habits.

According to Monica Burke, social director of the office of diversity programs, the idea for the forum came from a minority student’s comment on a response card.

The discussion turned to depictions of blacks in the media after showing a video clip from the movie “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

The audience had differing views on the implied portrayal of blacks.

Some, like Tracey Williams, assistant director of the office of diversity programs, weren’t bothered by the video.

“I think that’s a small population of African Americans,” Williams said. “It’s not me, so I don’t take it that seriously.”

Jeremy Chandler, a junior from Indianapolis, Ind., said younger generations learn from observing behavior in videos.

“I don’t think its a positive promotion for a generation under us,” Chandler said.

Williams said the office of diversity programs will definitely have “Black to Reality” again.

Reach Hollan Holm at [email protected]