Minorities look to educate majority


The Appalachian Online

Nicole Caporaso

Campus organizations plan on educating majority students about life as a minority and the occurrence of microaggressions with a film showing and panel event next week.

The office of Multicultural Student Development and the Cultural Awareness and Student Engagement council – a sector of Appalachian Popular Programming Society – are partnering together on Feb. 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. in I.G. Greer Super Cinema to present the film “Dear White People.”

The panel discussion following the film will involve “seven or eight student leaders of minority groups on campus,” said Karissa Goff, chair of CASE and senior psychology major.

The film, according to www.dearwhitepeoplemovie.com, is a satirical and comical portrayal of race relations at a predominantly white institution.

Appalachian State University constitutes as a predominantly white institution, with white students making up approximately 86 percent of the student body, according to www.irap.appstate.edu.

Goff said the panel will begin with predetermined questions from CASE, but audience members will be permitted to submit additional questions.

Everette Nichols, vice chancellor of student development, said he is proud of CASE for bringing the film to campus and he recognizes the educational value of the event for non-minority students.

“This will show them that there are such things as microaggressions towards minority students and racial battle fatigue that minority students face on a daily basis,” Nichols said. “The film brings light to that in sort of a comedic way, but the second part of that event, the panel, shows that these things happen on Appalachian’s campus.

Goff said she wants students of the majority to not feel like they have to walk on eggshells or avoid asking questions, but to learn to be conscious of daily behavior.

The target audience is majority students, who may not realize what minorities experience. Goff said the goal of the film and panel is not to make majority students feel guilty, but to give them the opportunity to gain awareness of this reality.

“As much as a family that we are here, these things do happen to our students and they have become more of an issue with recent events that have happened,” Nichols said.

Both Nichols and Goff agreed it is important not only for organizations to come together to host events like these, but also for events of similar nature to be held year-round and not only during Black History Month.

“It’s important for events to continue happening because it keeps the conversation going, it doesn’t let it sit still and it pushes the conversation to audiences that may not otherwise see it or be prompted to have the conversation about race and ethnicities,” Nichols said.

Goff mentioned the idea of white privilege and said it is something she recently learned about.

“I think the biggest thing I learned about it is that just because you have a privilege doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty and I think that turns a lot of people off about the discussion,” Goff said. “Things that white people miss, people in the minority are conscious of every day.”

Story: Nicole Caporaso, Senior News Reporter