Throughout February, Centre College will host a documentary and discussion series in honor of Black History Month. The events will take place each Thursday in February, with the first one scheduled Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in Vahlkamp Theater.
The series of films highlight the intersectional lives of Black LGBTQ+ people, who are often erased from mainstream narratives. Marc Démont, visiting assistant professor of French and humanities, selected four films to highlight different communities, and Jo Teut, assistant director of diversity and inclusion programming, reached out to different campus groups and colleagues to facilitate discussion around the films.
Démont said the main goal of the series is to show how complex and multi-layered the network of oppression is.
“People have the tendency to think about inequity and exclusion in one-dimensional terms: ‘black,’ ‘queer,’ ‘woman,’ LatinX,’ trans,’ etc.,” he added. “This mode of thinking hides a more insidious fact about oppression—oppression is oppositional, relational and intersectional. It means that, for instance, I cannot fight against sexism while reproducing racism, and vice versa.
“However, if oppression is widely shared, there may be common ground for minority groups to fight power, broadly defined; we need to realize that in order to create powerful political change,” he continued. “I hope the series and discussions will offer a space for this realization to happen.”
Démont believes hosting these events demonstrates Centre’s commitment to diversity and social change.
During the first event, there will be a showing of “The Same Difference,” a documentary about lesbians who discriminate against other lesbians based on gender roles. Following the movie, a discussion will be led by Centre Pride Alliance.
“I was in an interracial gay relationship for a good part of my life,” Démont explained. “I witnessed firsthand specific oppressions that gay black men experience, not only within mainstream society but also within the black communities and the gay communities. I have never understood why one minoritized community could excuse or perpetuate oppression facing another minoritized community.
“The movie ‘The Same Difference’ addresses this problem from the point of view of the black and lesbian community,” he added.
Teut said it’s important for everyone to access a representation of themselves in media and for that media to be widely accessible.
“I think it’s also important to intentionally seek out stories about people who have identities different from your own and learn more about their experience,” Teut added. “Both of these things are essential to embracing diversity and inclusion.”
Through this series, Démont hopes that students, faculty and staff will understand that social identities are much more complex than they seem.
“We all, to different extents, participate in the network of oppression,” he concluded. “We all, in different moments and situations, are victims of the network of oppression. I hope students in attendance will check their class, national, racial, sexual and gender privileges, while looking at each other more humanly. We cannot hope for a better society as long as our neighbor is still a victim of oppression and exclusion.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
February 6, 2019
IF YOU GO
Black History Month Documentary & Discussion Series
“The Same Difference”
Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.