Omega Psi Phi and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternities cosponsored the event entitled "Managing the Black Image â€" Viacom's Influence on Our Portrayal," which featured speakers Onoriode Ewaraye, a learning specialist with Emory Learning Programs, and Britney Cooper, a fifth-year graduate student.
There is a need to portray the authenticity of black life, Cooper
said, not totally negative or positive and not just shows embracing "politics of respectability" with middle-class, educated black families. She
added that the portrayals of blacks in the media reflect structural issues in society like the advent of crack cocaine in the 1980s and '90s, or the lack of after-school programs in schools, that need change.
"Structural issues affect how people are living and how they, as a consequence, are portrayed," she
When the discussion diverged slightly off tangent, several debates occurred on the commonly cited statistic that more black men are in jail than in college and whether a majority of black women are actually single mothers.Cooper
explained how the checkbox on Free Application for Federal Student Aid applications asking if one has a drug offense is "targeted toward black men" to prevent them from going to school.
"If you shoot someone and they die, you can get a college degree, but if you do weed, you can't," Cooper