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Student Support and Diversity Education Lecture Series features ‘Ethnic Notions’ viewing and discussion
Student Support and Diversity Education Lecture Series features ‘Ethnic Notions’ viewing and discussionSeptember 23, 2002Michele M. Jachimmmjachim@syr.edu
The Student Support and Diversity Education Lecture Series for the 2002-03 academic year will debut on Sept. 25 with a viewing and discussion of the film, “Ethnic Notions,” Marlon Riggs’s groundbreaking study that dissects a disturbing underside of American popular culture. The dialogue will be facilitated by Winston Grady-Willis, associate professor of African American studies in The College of Arts and Sciences. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Hendricks Chapel Noble Room.
“The Division of Student Affairs 2001-2006 Strategic Plan outlines a number of key priorities, which include diversity and collaborations,” says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. “The Student Support and Diversity Education Lecture Series is one of several initiatives planned to benefit the Syracuse University community by providing educational opportunities to understand and appreciate our differences and to understand the importance of working together as a campus community.”
“Ethnic Notions” illustrates a procession of bigotry. Loyal Toms, carefree Sambos, faithful Mammies, leering Coons and wide-eyed Pickaninnies scroll across the screen in cartoons, feature films, popular songs, minstrel shows, advertisements, household bric-a-brac and children’s rhymes. From the 1820s to the Civil Rights period, these grotesque caricatures of African Americans were used by white Americans to justify oppression of blacks. They have become imbedded in the American psyche and resurrected, in recent times, in subtler but no less hurtful ways. Actress Esther Rolle narrates the film and several scholars explain these images and help put them in a historical context.
“This presentation will offer an enlightening opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the community as a whole to understand basic injustices of discrimination and to understand the importance of appreciating our differences,” says James K. Duah-Agyeman, director of student support and diversity education/multicultural affairs. “With diversity being a core value of Syracuse University, this dialogue will provide an environment that will support and encourage an ongoing acknowledgement and appreciation of diversity.”
Student Support and Diversity Education (SSDE) is a cluster of three departments within the Division of Student Affairs committed to the respect for and appreciation of diversity, multiculturalism and internationalism. The three departments are the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, and the Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS).
In addition to Grady-Willis, the fall lineup will feature Ronni Sanlo, director of the National Consortium of LGBT Resources in Higher Education; Cecil Abrahams, a visiting professor from South Africa.
For more information on the Sept. 25 lecture, or other lectures in the Student Support and Diversity Education Lecture Series, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 443-9676.