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Spike Lee Questions U.S. as a Post-Racial Nation

Byline: by Shin Young Lee

Posted: March 3, 2012

In a black T-shirt and jeans, director Spike Lee quietly took the stage on Thurs, Feb. 16 to speak on topic of "The Cultural Diversity in America" in celebration of Black History Month. The Diversity Team, Advisor Cindy Shoemaker, and Chaplain Rosie Magee traveled to listen to Lee as he pointed out that the majority of African-Americans still experience economic poverty.

Shippensburg University hosted Lee at the Luhrs Performing Arts Center as guest speaker for its Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) Diversity Scholarship program. Attending Lee’s lecture is a part of the Diversity Team’s Lectures in Hope series.

Spike Lee speaks on the first black president

Perched on the edge of a stool, Lee spoke informally about Barack Obama as the first African-American president in the United States and said it must seem as if "the whole world changed," although the lives of many minorities’ lives remain unchanged.

"Almost every year, the Diversity Team participates in Lectures in Hope. This program invites a guest speaker who discusses diversity. Based on the lecture, the Diversity Team can have some time to discuss that topic as well," President of Diversity Team, Barbara Bush ‘13 says. The Hope program has held the presentation concerning diversity every year for over 26 years.

Lee is not only an award-winning film director, but he is also a widely regarded as a filmmaker critical of African-American access to the American Dream.

The intersection of race and poverty

During his presentation, Lee said he believes there is still room for improvement in the lives of African-Americans and other minorities.

Lee’s films mirror his own experience: when he debuted in Hollywood in the 1980s, African-American directors were almost unheard of. Lee is known for his films that deal with controversial social and political issues. One of his films, Malcolm X (1992), shows his tendency to discuss these topics with candor.

When prompted about issues facing minorities in the United States, Shoemaker responded. "One of the ways we work towards reducing, and eventually eliminating, racism and all the other ‘isms’ is to heighten awareness," she said.

One of the Diversity Team’s goals is to work towards creating a loving, non-jugdmental community on our campus by breaking down barriers of misunderstanding and helping everyone to understand and be accepting of differences."

Last Updated: March 5, 2012

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