Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Phi Beta Sigma's "Chicken & Kool-Aid Stereotype Forum"

Before the forum started

On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at 7 p.m., the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., hosted their third event of “Sigma Week,” called, “The Chicken & Kool-Aid Forum." This forum was located in room 111 on the first floor of Frostburg State University’s Lane Center. The purpose of this forum was to identify and address the negative stereotypes about different races.
        As the doors opened at 6:50 p.m., students filed in. There were members of Alpha Phi Alpha, the African Student Association, Iota Phi Theta, and the students of FSU. As you walked into the room, your mouth instantly watered because of the delicious smell of fried chicken
. There was a white table sitting in the back with two aluminum pans of fried chicken along with plenty of jugs of fruit punch. A few hip-hop tunes played as the people walking in found a seat.
Students who came to the  forum, patiently waiting for it to begin.
While people were coming in, a member of Phi Beta Sigma handed out a small piece of paper (the size of a sticky note) and asked each member of the audience to write a stereotype on it and then place it inside a royal blue and white Phi Beta Sigma bucket hat. These stereotypes were to be read at the end of the forum. The "Chicken & Kool-Aid" forum began promptly at 7 p.m. and all of the Sigmas were wearing their royal blue paraphernalia.
First, they started off with a slide show on the stereotypes of African Americans. Some these stereotypes included, for men: “ain’t shit,” always in jail, can play basketball; for women: are ratchet, can cook, have a lot of baby daddies, and can dance really well (twerking). The audience discussed their views on those stereotypes and did not agree with them. The Sigmas then played YouTube clips on how African Americans are portrayed negatively through media. The audience was engaged throughout this first half of the forum. There were a lot of opinionated individuals present. As you looked around, students were still coming in and were flowing out the room, standing in the door way, trying to get a hint of the discussion.
At that point in the forum, it was time for the chicken and Kool-Aid to be served. Each member of Phi Beta Sigma helped serve one piece of fried chicken to each person  in the audience. While the audience was being served, more tunes were played and the students conversated amongst each other.
Now that everyone had a piece of chicken, the Sigmas continued the second half of the forum with a discussion on the stereotypes of Caucasians, Africans, and Asians. Some of the Asian stereotypes included were that they cannot drive, they all look the same, they eat cats and dogs, can do nails and give massages, are great at math, and can do karate. A student in the audience agreed with one the stereotypes saying, “They are smart.” Some of the stereotypes of Caucasians were that they are scared of African Americans, are rich, have nice cars, racist, and are dumb blondes. Some stereotypes of Africans included that they are good at throwing spears, demanding, aggressive, unforgiving, great at cooking rice, can do my hair, loud, submissive, and materialistic.
The audience debated about all of these stereotypes and some of them explained why people perceive those certain races that way.  You could tell that this was a very interesting topic to cover based on how engaged the audience was throughout the entire forum.
(left to right) Sigmas, Osirus, David, and Steven reading a few stereotypes.

It was 8:20 p.m. and the Sigmas closed out by reading a few of the stereotypes out of the royal blue and white bucket hat. No one looked bored and based on their body language and facial expressions, they appeared to enjoy themselves. Sophomore Art major, Mathew Woods 19, said, “It was funny and had me laughing the whole time. Also, I think this forum was a great way to approach the topic.” Sophomore Business Administration major, Noah Majinnasola 19, said, “I really liked the forum because it was very interesting and debating.”
This forum helped bring awareness to the negative stereotypes society places on a variety of races. Junior Liberal Arts major, Essence Mosely 20, said, “I feel like more Caucasian people should have came because it would help reshape their ideas and the stereotypes that they form about African Americans.”
Well, there you have it! Phi Beta Sigma’s “Chicken & Kool-Aid Forum" was an event worth attending so if you were not in attendance, then you most definitely missed out. It is Sigma Week so be sure to attend their other events.

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