The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Black History Month panel discussion held at TR

By Megan Carradine/reporter

“The African-American culture today is viewed negatively in the media because of our image,” government instructor Jinnell Killingsworth told a group of students during a Trinity River Campus event Feb. 16.

In celebration of Black History Month, Killingsworth along with Dr. Dreand Johnson, divisional dean, and Chad Wooley, history instructor, held a panel discussion where they spoke on the perspective of young African-Americans.

In the discussion, hip-hop became a major topic.

“The baggy pants, often associated with hip-hop, is portrayed negatively,” Johnson said.

A few students disagreed with that perception.

“The baggy pants are a way of expressing ourselves,” one student said.

Johnson said the look is perceived as a poor example of professionalism and is viewed in the eyes of corporate America as an unacceptable practice.

Wooley described his thoughts about the “baggy pants” issue, his reactions when seeing young men with their trousers hanging and again the negative effect it portrays.

“My biggest fear is telling one of my students to pull their pants up and be labeled as a racist,” he said.

Wooley said with hip-hop and its stereotypes, it is easy to be linked to certain groups.

Freshman Aaron Smith agreed.

“Hip-hop can pitch you in two ways, positive or negative,” he said. “It is up to you to decide which way you’ll go.”

Killingsworth added, “Our image is a representation of who we are.”

Trinity River freshman Paola Gloria agreed.

“Whether we like it or not, we are all judged by first impressions,” she said.

Killingsworth explained the importance of representing yourself as a young African-American.

“What you wear is what you will be perceived as,” she said.

Johnson reminded students to think long-term.

He elaborated on “the importance of carrying yourself a certain way so that you will be able to obtain a career-fulfilling job and provide for a family.”

When asked, Johnson said he was pleased the discussion was successful.

“The discussion was needed to air out differences, to find similarities,” he said. “I think there should be more discussions like this.”

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