Public television studio KLRU hosted Blackademics, a community event showcasing a range of topics pertinent to African-American culture, Wednesday night. Sponsored by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Blackademics featured black studies scholars who presented and discussed research centralized around education, performance and youth empowerment.
During a two-hour presentation, a total of 11 speakers lectured UT students and faculty. Host and founder Kevin Foster assembled an array of scholars that explore a variety of race topics.
“I think there is great work within the academy, but sometimes that work doesn’t get outside our campus,” Foster said. “This is how we can share it with the outside world.”
Blackademics is streamed live on KLRU and available to a national audience.
Foster’s lecture focused on the decisions parents have to make when choosing a school for their children and how race complicates this matter.
“I want to find what great schooling and great critical thinking looks like to open doors for children so to ensure that all kids can explore their possibilities,” Foster said.
The lack of critical thinking and excess of what Foster referred to as drone schools — ones that limit thinking and measure intelligence through report cards and multiple choice tests — dominated the discussion throughout the night. Another topic covered closing the gap in academic performance between racial groups through empowerment.
In another segment, Leonard Moore, associate vice president of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, discussed the forms of intelligence required in football and focused on how the perception of African-Americans who play football affects their performance in the classroom.
“Football is a thinking person’s game,” Moore said. “There is no course on this campus that can compare to the language that is found in a football playbook. There are these intense college football environments designed to make you the best you can be, but then [these athletes] walk into the classroom and feel disengaged academically.”
According to Moore, an inferiority complex and a lack of acknowledging the connection between football and intelligence contribute to demoralization among African-American athletes.
“When you have that son or daughter, remind them just how smart they have to be to play in that sport of football,” Moore said.
Aimee Cox, a cultural anthropologist at Fordham University, incorporated movement and audience participation in her lecture titled “Black Girls and the Choreography of Empowerment.”
“Until we can say, 'I am love, I radiate love, I am beautiful, I am strong,' nothing in this world can be done," said Cox while leading the audience in a life-affirming chant.
Printed on Thursday, February 14, 2013 as: Black culture emphasized