Discussion panel marks Black History Month



The Sociology Club organized a panel discussion Monday in the Great Hall to commemorate Black History Month.

The event was put together given the large community of African-American students that attend Pierce College, according to Ruben Garcia, vice president of the club.

“When creating this event, one of the purposes was to throw ideas out there of different perspectives—not just the sociological perspective but also the economical one—and to get these ideas to raise questions in you guys,” Garcia said.

The panel was comprised of sociology professor James McKeever, Instructor of Sociology Chuck O’Connell, and economics professor Kaycea Campbell

The main topics discussed were colonization, economics, and past and present social movements.

Also discussed in the panel were the issues of racism, sexism, white supremacy, homophobia and the different -isms promoteD in society today.

Political and racial topics emerged in the panel. For instance, talks on white supremacy and the Ku Kux Klan as a terrorist movement startled attendees, but also exposed the audience to the racism that still lives on the United States to this day.

“The white supremacy is so deep that people don’t even fully see it. There are a lot of things that are taken as normal and not as racist, when in fact an outsider to the society would look at the practices and the cultures as still racist,” O’Connell said. “That is white supremacy.”

O’Connell also pointed out how the only holiday celebrated during Black History Month is George Washington’s birthday, or President’s Day, which he says is the celebration of the white supremacist slave master.

“What does it say about the deep culture of racism? That the people who fought for liberty are basically hidden under history’s rug and the people who were the oppressors are held up as the ideals,” said O’Connell.

Campbell, on the other hand, spoke from an economic perspective on the issue of discrimination, and how some groups have a disadvantage when entering the economic pool.

“Certain races are in this particular exchange at a disadvantage,” said Campbell.

Campbell says that 50 percent of Americans, which equal roughly 46 million people, live in poverty today. A little over 27 percent of them are African-American families.

“When we convert that number into race we get some very interesting trends. And for long periods of time we have seen the same trend in African-American families, which is above the national average,” said Campbell.

Sexism, gender divisions, homophobia, and any type of -isms are causes that have separated movements in the past, said McKeever.

“Social movements seem like they are long gone and dead, but then all the sudden the 99 percent-ers movement comes along,” said McKeever.

People got tired of seeing the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, said McKeever.

“At that point you see the groups sitting there and fighting back. Latinos, women, and you start to see something after the 2012 elections,” he said.

He spoke about how the country has changed since then.

“Change never happens from the top. Never,” McKeever said. “Change has happened because the minorities have started to fight back.”