Viral video reveals how little people know about black history

Illinois students exposed a lack of knowledge about black history on their college campus. (Screenshot: YouTube/Exposing White People in Public)
Illinois students exposed a lack of knowledge about black history on their college campus. (Screenshot: YouTube/Exposing White People in Public)

Two college students proved the necessity of black history with a witty video that exposes shameful gaps in knowledge.

Emmanuel Imarenezor, 19, and James Abegunde, 20, attend the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where they say, aside from organized school functions, their social lives aren’t too diverse. “We wanted to know how educated people are beyond Black History Month,” Imarenezor tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Do our peers value our history, and by extension, us?”

In the experiment, published on their YouTube comedy channel Crying Laughing, the filmmakers, with their friend Dashawn Alexander, 21, approach students on campus asking, “Who is your favorite black person of all time?” After a frustrating silence, one answers, “Martin Luther King, bro.” Another student says, “A$AP Rocky” but couldn’t name one album or song by the rap artist.

One chose Rosa Parks for her work on the “Underground Railroad” — confusing the activist who refused to sacrifice her bus seat to a white man in 1955, with Harriet Tubman, who freed hundreds of slaves with a secret roadmap starting in the late 18th century.

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One co-ed chose “George B. Washington” as her most admired black person. “We don’t know if she was confusing Booker T Washington with George Washington Carver,” Imarenezor tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We tried to keep the question broad, but no one answered Barack or Michelle Obama.”

No one answered the boys’ third question, “Was slavery a choice?” except a student who said, “Partially.”

Abegunde tweeted that black culture is usually appropriated in pop culture but history ignored, leading to “ignorance.” The video, says Imarenezor, speaks for itself. “We aren’t race-baiting — we’re illustrating what happens when black history is taught once a year. Minorities feel underrepresented.”

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