Issue date: 10/22/08
A former leading member of the Black Panther Party called on black
students Tuesday to continue to address issues of racism at the University.
Author and lecturer Elaine Brown spoke as part of an annual lecture
series sponsored by the Institute for African American Studies
Student Association, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and the Institute for
Brown, who was a chairperson of the Black Panther Party from 1974
until 1977, said she wants blacks to consider what they want
accomplished socially and to recognize problems such as poverty and
injustice in the Black community.
"I'm speaking about the ongoing oppression of black people. Some of
us have lost sight, so we need to return to addressing these issues,"
Brown said. "The University is racist."
Kevin Character, a black student from Macon, disagreed with her opinion.
"I don't think that the University is racist," said Character, who
was not present at the lecture. "I just think that it's the way we've
been cultured. I think we've come a long way, but we have a long way
to go. We have separation because I think that's what makes people
Sean Spade, a white student from Hiawassee, joined about 80 others to
hear Brown speak.
"I wanted to hear what it's like for someone from a different
perspective, from a side of the story that is untold," he said.
Brown speaks at colleges and universities across the nation about
"New Age Racism," gender oppression and class disparity toward an
"inclusive and egalitarian" world society.
"I've been to many campuses and wouldn't categorize black students at
the University as more or less conscious than blacks students at
Spelman or Georgia State," Brown said. "But some blacks forget that
their education was paid for by the blood and sweat of their ancestors."
Character said it's important for black students to remember their
roots "but also move forward."
"Anyone getting an education can definitely appreciate how they got
here," he said. "That goes for anyone - black or white."