Panel to discuss stereotypes

By Brenden Walz

A four-member panel will address how the media portrays negative stereotypes to the public on Sunday.

“Being Black in DeKalb” is the title of a four-person African-American panel discussion which will be held at 7 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center’s Illinois Room.

One of the goals of the forum is to get a perspective on racism, said Dave Schmidt, campus minister for United Campus Ministry and Wesley Foundation.

“We realized many of us who are Euro-Americans don’t really understand what the experiences of African-Americans living in DeKalb are,” Schmidt said. Schmidt will act as moderator for the four-person panel.

Many of the mental images of African-Americans which white people carry around with them are derived from the stories involving African-Americans shown on television and in newspapers, Schmidt said.

He said most of these images generally show an African-American in one of two roles: as a sports hero with great athletic ability or as a criminal.

Although the panel’s goal is to discuss racism, the long-term benefits of having the panel still are uncertain.

Marilyn Monteiro, director of Affirmative Action, said she feels pessimistic about the benefits of having the panel.

But, she added she did not want to discourage people from making efforts to increase understanding among different groups. Monteiro is part of the panel.

The other four members include Van Amos, project coordinator for Center for Black Studies, Tendaji Ganges, director of Educational Services and Programs and Jerry Wright, counselor and minority program coordinator.

Other issues expected to be discussed include undue police surveillance and feelings of isolation on the part of African-American students in schools.

Panel Coordinator Cele Meyer said she hopes the panel will improve understanding of how multicultural DeKalb is.

“We’re hoping to establish links between the two groups,” she said.