Thursday, February 9, 2012

Comedian Dave Ackerman Dresses in Black Face to Ask BYU Students About Racism and Black History Month

Dave Ackerman is not saying on his Facebook page that this was a social experiment and that only a few people bothered to point out that he wasn't Black.  He is further comparing himself to Franchesca Ramsey who's Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls Video quickly went viral.  I debated posting the following video but have decided to in order to answer his comparison and his decision to wear Black face.

When Ramsey made her video, she was talking about her lived experience as an African-American woman.  What Ackerman did is no way the same thing. Talking about racism is not now, or ever will be, anything like living with racism.  He may have shown how ignorant and racist the White students at BYU are, as well as the ignorance and internalized racism of Black students but Ackerman is not guilt free in this situation.  There is absolutely no justification for donning Black Face.  The fact that those he spoke to largely did not see his actions as problematic, does not erase the fact that Ackerman went into this experiment with the intent of releasing this video online.  I am highly offended by Blackface, regardless of the context in which it occurs.  His decision feels more like he was trying to be edgy rather than actually proving a point. 

Outside of a historically Black college, I believe that Ackerman would have found the exact same circumstances because education is not invested in teaching Black history or trumpeting Black accomplishments.  To be educated in the West is to learn the oppressors truth.  Those who actually become racially aware, tend to do so through self learning rather than being part of an institution.  Even the additive Black History Month has proven not to be enough to raise consciousness enough and this is specifically why as children of the African Diaspora we need to demand that history of POC be taught from the very beginning throughout the year.  Elevating slave owning, colonizing privileged Whites as the be all and end all example of humanity does not even come close to telling the history of the Americas.

Without further ado, here is the video that has gone viral.  I am very interested to hear your take.