In this February, 2012 video comedian, Dave Ackerman puts on black face and proceeds to interview several students at Brigham Young University about Black History Month. BYU, located in Provo, Utah, is a Mormon university where just 0.059% of the student population is African American. First, the students are shown not knowing which month is Black History Month. Then, they are shown knowing very little about any historical black figure other than Martin Luther King, Jr. One student claims to celebrate the month with fried chicken and grape juice, while others claim that some students have “jungle fever” and like to date black people. Female students universally and emphatically agree that they would rather date a “black guy who acts like a white guy” than a “white guy who acts like a black guy.” The video concludes with the students doing impressions of black people. In the end, Ackerman seems to attempt to explain his problematic donning of black face by saying he is “fighting ignorance with ignorance.”
What do you think Ackerman hoped to accomplish with this video? Do you think he accomplished it?
What are some of the stereotypes and prejudices that come up in this clip? What could we do to fight against stereotypes of this nature?
Do you think the students interviewed are racist? Do you think Ackerman is racist? Why or why not?