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NAACP hosted third “Being Black in America” discussion

February 16, 2017

Last Thursday night, Nicholls members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People discussed issues relating to being a minority in America during their “Being Black in America” discussion.

Deborah Moorhead, instructor of sociology, initially started the “Being Black in America” discussion. Quickly after, the NAACP took the event and made it their own. 

“Being Black in America” is a question and answer discussion open to anyone. People come to share what it’s like to be a minority in America. Its mission is to help educate the students and faculty on Nicholls campus.

“The event is not put on to bash another race at all,” Delicia Landry, nursing senior from White Castle, said. “It is just an opportunity for each of us to express our feelings and discuss situations or issues. Even solutions we may have for different situations are discussed.” 

The discussion took place in the Bowie room, located in the Student Union, to ensure an intimate environment.

“We tried to make the platform for people to feel comfortable,” Jarealle Cannon, family and consumer science junior from New Orleans, said. “We want them to express how they feel. It’s a very intimate discussion, which is why we keep it in the Bowie Room. It is a smaller room, but it makes the entire atmosphere more intimate and comfortable.” 

Although the topics remain the same, the questions asked are adapted to fit specific situations going on in the world. The questions alternate every year.

“Last year we discussed the Oscars,” Cannon said. “Not many minorities were nominated and that caused an uproar. We also ask our members at the meetings if they have any questions they want discussed.”

This year, the discussion questions focused on recent issues such as interracial relationships, law enforcement and the Black Lives Matter versus All Lives Matter debate.

“We love having different races and people participate,” Cannon said. “Hearing other people discuss what they are going through and answering the questions allows you to hear different sides, opinions, thoughts and concerns. It gives everyone the opportunity to learn about things we might not have realized before.” 

It’s not always just students and faculty in attendance.  Last fall, John DeSantis, author of “The Thibodaux Massacre”, attended the discussion and offered his input. He listened to what the students had to say. 

“We strongly encourage our members and the student body to come to Being Black in America,” Cannon said. “Our name, NAACP, sometimes scares people.  Sometimes people might feel that because it’s called ‘Being Black in America’ it’s not for me. That is completely false, it’s not until you come and see who we are and what we represent that you realize everyone is wanted and welcomed.”

NAACP promotes diversity in the events they host and the organization itself. 

“The NAACP organization promotes diversity,” Landry said. “We want all genders, religions, sexualities, and nationalities to join. Our goal is to promote diversity on Nicholls campus. Many people get the misconception that it’s only for African Americans and that’s false. It is for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are. If you are about making a change, promoting and encouraging others to see things differently, that’s what we are want.”

Whether you are a member of NAACP, someone who wants to hear differing viewpoints or wants their opinions heard and discussed, Being Black in America is an event NAACP encourages.

“Our goal is to have at least one person,” Landry said. “We would love to have more than just one person, but we want that one person to leave knowing something they did not know before. It is all about educating as many people as possible.”

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