Mar 012006

I can't help but question why, of all the individuals who have made positive contributions to CSU, would the Collegian choose to highlight an African-American ATHLETE for Black History Month?!

As a documentary filmmaker, I believe that all people have interesting personal narratives. However, I also believe that the media has a responsibility to resist dangerous stereotypes in their selection of newsworthy articles.

While I mean no disrespect to Mr. Thomas, or his accomplishments, I believe that the article perpetuated the stereotype that the largest and most celebrated contribution that African American males make to CSU is in the realm of athletics.

Also, I would suggest that the writer/editor of the article attend a course on Black History prior to writing another piece about the Black Panther Party.

Anyone who takes more than Eurocentric history classes quickly learns that the Panthers armed themselves with cameras far before they took up weapons, and it was only after the slaughter of countless activists by COINTELPRO assassins that panthers began to bear arms for metaphoric reasons and in self-defense.

The article even suggests that Wyoming athletes, after losing their scholarships for wearing black armbands, were "left hanging by the Panthers." Why not place blame for the abandonment of the "Wyoming 14" on the clearly racist institution that cut their scholarships in the first place?

Once again, racist institutions are let off the hook and the media covertly sends a message to people of color that any form of resistance is not only futile and dangerous, but also counter-productive to a successful future.

I applaud Mr. Thomas for all of his accomplishments. I hope however that next year the Collegian can use Black History Month as an opportunity to highlight the work of African Americans – both male and female – in areas where they are too often ignored at CSU.

Monica H. Collins

Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity

Graduate Student, Sociology

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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