Bahai News - Crowd grows fiesty at UF race seminar
Crowd grows fiesty at UF race seminar
By Ken Lewis
The question-and-answer session grew heated, to the extent that a black
student stood up and claimed blacks wanted O.J. Simpson to go free
whether or not he was guilty of murdering his ex-wife - because he was
The student was an audience member in a standing room only event
Thursday night, "Taking action toward healing racism at UF," organized
by the Baha'i Unity Club as a part of People Awareness Week.
"We've got a problem with racism on campus," said sociology professor
Joe Feagin, one of four speakers who discussed racism and its
The panel included graduate student Keith Smith, College of Law
Assistant Dean Rahim Reed and Charles Bullock, director for Gainesville
Feagin said white males in America make up 39 percent of the population
but control 95 percent of the powerful positions.
When asked why unnamed, power-wielding whites do not cure their own
racism, Feagin responded with blatant honesty: "It's not in our interest
"This is a white-male country," Feagin said.
At one point during the session, English senior Martha Ryce had to be
held down in her seat by a friend.
Feagin, Smith, Reed and Bullock each said that racism is indeed rampant
at UF and throughout the country.
"You can't grow up in America and not be tainted with institutionalized
racism," Reed said.
There will be no "quick fix," but students must "self-educate" to end
the "scourge" of racism on campus, Reed said.
Smith started his speech with a slide show of art created by blacks
dealing with racism.
He shared a shot of a personal work in progress - a pair of gruesomely
angry and frightened black heads with arms sprouting from newspaper
clippings that reported black-on-black crimes.
The clippings laid on a bed of gray bricks. Smith had the couple
pointing guns at each other.
To display the ethnic diversity at UF, Bullock asked audience members to
yell out their ancestry.
Students cried, "Trinidad, Scotland, Antigua, Montserrat, Ireland,
Bullock said the most compassion for repressed minorities is found in
the "silent majority."
But appreciating individuality is not enough, he said, adding that
students must take a proactive stance against racism.
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