Racism publicly discussed at Parkland event

Scott Barnes

Staff Writer

Discussions regarding racism followed the screening of “Racial Taboo” in the Parkland Student Union, with the film being intended to bring about discourse

Photo by Zonghui Li | The Prospectus A discussion following the screening of “Racial Taboo” takes place in Parkland’s Student Union Cafe on Thursday, March 3, 2016.

Photo by Zonghui Li | The Prospectus
A discussion following the screening of “Racial Taboo” takes place in Parkland’s Student Union Cafe on Thursday, March 3, 2016.

on the matter.

Following the screening, audience members gathered around tables to openly discuss the film and share their viewpoint on the issue. Representatives from each group then stood in front of the audience and presented what was shared in their respective groups.

One such student was Anna Ramme. She said she learned a lot from the movie and the discussion.

“I learned that racism is still very well an issue,” Ramme said. “I didn’t realize how many people were still uncomfortable with just talking to somebody who is not the same color as them.”

Ramme said that she would like to see more events like this take place on Parkland’s campus in the future.

“I thought that this was a really eye opening movie to see, and even the discussion—it really pushed you outside of your comfort zone, I think,” Ramme said. “I got to talk with people who were from a community with maybe three black people and then people from a school that had at least 50 percent diversity.”

Another student who attended the event was elementary education major Ashley Price. She explained that the event provided a unique learning experience.

“It taught me to think differently about the history aspect of it,” Price said. “We’re taught, in high school, a certain part of history. We’re not taught the real history that happened. Some of the stuff that they showed in the video I had absolutely no idea had happened.”

Associate professor, counselor, and director of the Black Student Success Project Donna Tanner-Harold is one of the individuals behind planning the event. She expressed her pleasure in the fact students took the time to attend the event and explained the importance of young people being involved in the discussions.

“It is good to see so many students come out because I think the greatest change is going to come from people who are young and want to strengthen relationships with people from other backgrounds,” Tanner-Harold said.

Those who were responsible for putting the event together considered the evening to be a success. Parkland Honors Program Director Marsh Jones played a significant role in bringing the film to Champaign and was satisfied with the turnout and the outcome.

“I think that the ‘Racial Taboo’ event went very well,” Jones said. “I was happily pleased with the comments from the groups as they reported back. I think there was some interesting comments made.”

Jones believes the event achieved its intended goal.

“I think a lot of people were made more aware of the issue,” Jones said. “…[I]t helped get the dialogue going at Parkland.”

According to Jones, the film was produced with the intent of being presented in such a setting. The producers of the film require that a public discussion take place following a screening; a stipulation that Parkland had to adhere to in order to have the opportunity to show the movie on campus.

There will be additional discussions taking place at Parkland in the coming days. There is an event scheduled at noon on Tuesday, March 15, and another on Thursday, April 7, at 6 p.m.

Both events will take place in room U140 and be open to the public. Even students who did not attend the film screening are encouraged to show up and join the conversation.