UMD Hosts Racism Discussion Following Controversial Video

By KBJR News 1

December 4, 2012 Updated Dec 4, 2012 at 7:09 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- It's a conversation that's never easy to bring up, racism and its existence in our society.

2012 has been a polarizing year with several incidents classified as racist.

Now, the University of Minnesota-Duluth is ramping up efforts to combat this problem.

"This particular video did bring about this event called, "What is racist about this?" to continue the conversations on race," said UMD program coordinator Daniel Oyinloye.

Among the most recent situations, a controversial video surfaced online showing two young women in blackface, spouting racist comments.

One of the women is a UMD student, prompting some college leaders to speak out an issue, often cloaked in silence.

"It's okay to have these discussions, its okay to face it," said Oyinloye.

The Bulldog community is being invited to be part of the conversation.

"Racism still exits in our county, it's a problem and we need to have an ongoing commitment to talk about this constructively."

In the wake of several racial incidents across Duluth, Mayor Don Ness is urging all to talk openly about race issues.

"There's not the overt racism that we saw in 1960's Mississippi, but there is a different type of racism that still is problematic," said Mayor Ness in his office in City Hall.

Mayor Ness urges people to accept the fact that bigotry exists and talk about it with our family, friends and neighbors.

But Claudie Washington, President of the Duluth Chapter of the NAACP says conversation isn't enough.

"Imagine if intuitions started teaching people who they are, and who other people are instead of being one sided, said Washington. "If you continue to educate how you've done in the past, you're going to continue to get what you've got in the past."

Washington wants a change in our education curriculum to teach young people, what he says is an accurate depiction of our history, creating an even playing field for kids to grow up.

UMD will be hosting more discussions on racial issues going forward.

Zach Vavricka

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