Presented by the College of Liberal Arts
When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008, many believed that the country had entered a new “post-racial” era. American society finally saw beyond the social construct that was race, electing to the highest office in the land a man whom they believed was best suited for the job despite his multiethnic background. However, throughout his presidency, the public was besieged by the images of President Obama as a monkey or in blackface, and tasteless jokes centered on race and culture flooded the Internet. Arrests and shootings, appropriation and mockery, mistrust and outright hate – all these continued, directed not only towards the Black community but other people of color as well. America was decidedly not post-racial. This course has examined racism through the lens of 21st century popular culture, looking at such artifacts as film, books, fashion, and music videos. Throughout the course, we pondered this question: does popular culture reflect our reality or create it?
Watch the video twice: the first time, pay attention to Childish Gambino’s (Donald Glover’s) face and body movements. The second time, watch what is going on behind him. Is there a contrast? What does this contrast mean?