North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.
By Shannon Eaves
So the question has been posed: "What
is the purpose of having a free-stand-
ing Black Cultural Center?"
Personally, I see the purpose, but I accept the
fact that maybe my opinion is biased since I
happen to be an African-American.
However, I've asked myself on several occa
sions, "Would this even be a question if the
word Asian, Jewish, or Native American
were to replace the word Black? I could be
wrong, but I think the answer to my question
would be 'no.'
Some how the connotation of the word
'black' has become dirty in our society, espe
cially when it's used to describe the advance
ments of people of color. Everyone is taught
to be proud of who they are, and to preserve
their heritage. It seems to be okay for every
other racial and ethnic group to celebrate its
history and its culture, but it's wrong and
discriminatory for black people to do the
Black people have suffered through slav
ery, Jim Crow laws and unequal opportunity
in both the work place and academic institu
tions. In regards to our own university, it was
slave labor that built this campus and laid
the stone walls that UNC is acclaimed for.
The purpose of having a free-standing BCC
is to celebrate not only black culture, but
American culture as well. This is something
that every student at Carolina, regardless of
race or ethnicity can benefit from.
Contributions and achievements made by
African-Americans have shaped our world
and our culture into what it is today. The
blood plasma we donate at blood drives, the
air conditioners that cool our homes and
even the traffic lights we pause at are all
things that have been made possible by
African-Americans. Why can't we celebrate
these achievements and the black people
who made them possible, rather than con
stantly try to deny them of their significance
and pretend they never existed?
The mission of the BCC is to educate all
people and to hopefully provide cultural
experiences for all students at UNC. Never
once have the doors of the current Black
Cultural Center (located on the first floor of
the Frank Porter Graham Student Union for
those of you who don't know) been closed to
any individual based on race, color or creed.
I think individuals need to be more open-
minded and not assume that a free-standing
BCC would cause segregation and dissen
sion on our campus. I believe that if there
were an Asian Cultural Center on campus,
no one would question whether it will cause
segregation. In fact, students would be
praised for their efforts to celebrate their
The BCC is not meant to be a threat to any
one person or group at UNC. It's supposed
to be a facility in which any person can learn
more about the culture and contributions of
black people. Rather than constantly criticiz
ing the BCC, more people need to come
inside and learn what it is really all about.
Maybe then, they will realize that their igno
rance has kept them from exploring not only
black culture, but their own culture as well.