Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Clean Off Your Lens: Do You Really Know?

By: Kayla Miller

February should not be the only month when we acknowledge Black History Month. Last evening Frostburg State University had the honor to listen and talk with Professor Griff. Griff a lecturer and founding member of the hip hop group Public Enemy was inspiring.

Griff brought Frostburg a new look on black history with the mobile museum. The Museum is a collection of thousands of artifacts from slavery to the culture of hip hop. One artifact that Griff talked about was the currency used to purchase African Americans called the Manila. Griff expressed that the Manila has so much power and is a constant reminder of the history.

The entire presentation Griff showed so much passion and wanted everyone to speak up and get out of their comfort zones. Everyone views history differently and “we are looking at the world through a distorted lens,” said Griff. We are not really understanding history and what is going on in the world. Griff wants everyone to realize of the history and actually take grasp on it and see what is still going on in the world. “Rolling the past forward” is how Griff described what he is doing with the mobile museum.

Stated over and over again by Griff when explaining stories, points and to get his point across was simply “are you following me?” He explained that our generation now is being lost. Nobody talks about The Little Rock Nine anymore and what they went through. We now view history and the people in history as how the media portrays them by people today. There is still racism today in products even if that is not the intention.

For an example of racism in products today Griff explain was that of Disney Princess Dipping Stick Candy. Products that you can buy at the local Wal-Mart are selling racist products. Griff came upon this Dipping Candy on his travels. The packets of Dipping Candy have a yellow package on one side and a pink on the other. There is a white princess on the yellow side with the flavor of vanilla. On the pink side is a picture of a black princess with the flavor of watermelon. Griff asked everyone in the audience what was wrong with this picture. He said that a picture is worth a thousand words and this is a reason why it is important for Black History Month to tell the story.

One question that Griff asked the audience was what is one thing that is something that needs to change in the world? Jeremy Martin a senior here at Frostburg State spoke up and said, “We need communication.” Griff couldn’t have agreed more with him. This is the problem with the world today, this is Griff’s point. Communication is needed and we lack in that area.

Many students had about the same thoughts. Genesis Giselle stated that Professor Griff was “empowering and his mission is amazing. He opens eyes for students who are not aware of these artifacts and he just has a way of opening minds for new perceptions.”

More and more students need to take the opportunities given to them at Frostburg to listen to speakers such as Professor Griff. Christine Parisi said, “I thought he was excellent and really opened our eyes to what our generation is becoming.” Many if not all students enjoyed what professor Griff had to say you could tell by the looks on their faces and obviously by their comments.

If you want to hear Professor Griff speak or learn more about him and Public Enemy look him up on YouTube or visit http://www.publicenemy.com/

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