Program explores intersectionality of Africans and African-Americans

The Black Student Association (BSA) and the African Student Association (ASA) collaborated on an event to discuss the relationship between Africans and African-Americans through the lens of the movie “Black Panther.”

The event was held in conjunction with Black History Month at Richland.

The event was presented in two segments: Small group discussions facilitated by student representatives of BSA and ASA, and a group discussion in which the small group discussions were summarized in a larger setting.

The BSA students conceptualized the event while they were brainstorming about a project for Black History Month. They shared their ideas with BSA sponsor, Rolanda Randle, who reached out to the ASA to make it happen.

“The discussion itself [came about] by talking to the students and trying to find out ‘how do you want to have the discussion’ and eventually I found research that was done at Howard University,” Randle said. “The researchers gave surveys to African and African-American students about stereotypes amongst the different groups and I pulled quotes from that research. The students met and decided how they wanted to use those quotes to have the broader discussion in conjunction with clips from the film.”

This event was a platform to discuss misconceptions presented in the media. The robust topic was narrowed down and “Black Panther” used as a bridge to connect the communities.

“I enjoyed it. I thought it was a safe place and safe space to discuss everything that needed to be discussed in an open way. The way it was moderated was perfect because no one got offended or upset,” said Chedena Hayes, a new staff member at Richland.

Clips from the film “Black Panther” were used to introduce topics to initiate conversation. Certain scenes were played, illustrating ideas about Africa and African-Americans, after which, a student facilitator asked questions. Students and facilitators shared their views.

“So, because “Black Panther” has the foundation of talking about the relationship or lack thereof between Africans and African-Americans, the students were interested in collaborating with ASA to do some type of programming around the film,” Randle said.“I think there are some nuggets from that movie that we can take and expand upon even more,” said Hayes.

BSA and ASA are working on more collaborations. The Richland campus is highly diverse. Randle believes that as minorities, black students should band together.

“We have a small group of black students on campus, so we need to build the relationship between Africans and African-Americans, so for that purpose it was good.

It was also good for the purpose of informing non-blacks about Africa, about African-Americans and how their relationship is. And to also understand the legacy of colonialism. How they view us has been affected by what’s happened to us as a whole,” said Randle.

The black community launched this event to attract people from all communities. It was a means of educating, as well as celebrating their culture during Black History Month. The response was positive and the discussions were informative all around.

“I am very pleased with the turnout. I think there were enough people in each group to have robust discussions and I’m glad that, in the broader discussion, we had different people from different groups chiming in and giving their feedback about the various issues we were bringing up,” Randle said.