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Honoring Martin Luther King

By Betsy Blanchard
On January 17, 2013

 

 

Preacher Moss’s “End of Racism” lecture and comedy tour made its USU debut during Wednesday’s Common Hour.

Moss, a stand-up comedian who has worked with the likes of George Lopez and Damon Wayans, spoke to a crowd of more than 300 students and faculty about the stigma surrounding racism.

A self-declared “black Muslim” who has been through his fair share of interesting experiences, Moss sought to get his message across by satirizing some of those moments.

“When it comes to race or talking about racism in America, it’s interesting,” Moss said. “Most of us are miseducated. We get the anecdotes. We get the frill. We never really get to the meat of the subject matter. Most people don’t know how to talk about it. We’re like weathermen. The best we can do is tell you what it is.”

In one story, Moss discussed his short-lived career as a public school teacher over a classroom of eight African Americans, seven Latinos and a single Caucasian. The young students instigated a “race war” and Moss told them he would let it play out — much to their surprise — if they agreed to follow the rules.

After hours of debate, he told the students that Evan, the lone Caucasian, would have to choose a side so that no one was left out. Evan refused to choose a side and instead insisted he was not to be labeled as “white” but rather as “poor,” a commonality that immediately brought the classroom of haughty children together.

“We have racism because we have oppression,” Moss said. “No one likes to talk about oppression. An interesting thing about oppression and how it pertains to racism is that oppression is only comprised of three things. Forget all the politics. Forget all the sociology. Almost forget all the religion. Oppression is made up of three things: arrogance, envy, iniquity. That’s it. That’s racism in a nutshell.”

Moss brought humor to the subject matter in a way that made it easy for the audience to pay attention and take away the lecture’s ultimate message.

Kyle Nield, a senior studying pre-dental, said he liked Moss’ lecture style, a combination of information and entertaining.

“You learn a lot more when you’re laughing and having fun,” Nield said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Angel Peatross, a would-be senior who took the semester off, attended the lecture at the last-minute suggestion of a friend and said she also enjoyed the lecture.

“It was really funny,” Peatross said. “It was interesting to see his point of view and how he grew up and how he’s dealt with it in his life.”

Luke Ensign, Student Traditions Activities & Arts Board arts and lectures director, invited Moss to speak after seeing him at a convention last semester.

“I was really attracted to the way he spoke,” Ensign said. “I love the combination of humor and his humanity, really, talking about things that relate to all of us. The way he did it with the humor I thought was really funny and would apply to all of the students here on campus so I was excited to bring him.”

Ensign said it was his favorite lecture of the year thus far. On April 17, Elizabeth Smart will make an appearance during the 11:30 a.m. Common Hour in the TSC Ballroom. All are invited to attend.

 

– betsy.blanchard@aggiemail.usu.edu

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