Black History Month ends with a discussion about film “I Am Not Your Negro”

Valerie Sandoval

As Black History Month comes to an end, the Fullerton College ethnics department prepared a screening of “I Am Not Your Negro” on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

The documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” was screened in honor of the month and was followed up by a powerful and informative discussion.

The documentary was directed by Raoul Peck and is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished memoir, where he documented his personal experience and thoughts during the civil rights movement.

Baldwin was a personal friend to three of the most prominent figures in the civil rights movement, those figures being Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr.

He expressed sorrow and devastation in great detail in regards to countless encounters of racism, ignorance, and the deaths of his personal friends.

Once the documentary was over, African-American studies Professor Arnetta Smith lead a discussion about the documentary.

Smith began by encouraging everyone to never use the “n word.”

“It is so prevalent in our community, not just among black people but in all of you, especially those who have not experienced what it is to be black in America,” said Smith.

Smith led a thirty minute discussion through a wide range of topics from the differences between love and hate, ignorance, institutionalized racism and finally the targeting from the government on the black community.

“Malcolm X in his contingency, probably had more FBI agents infiltrating his contingency then he had actual followers,” said Smith. “MLK always had these phone calls from the FBI saying, ‘you better stop what you’re doing, n word, your wife won’t see you in the morning,’ these are government officials.”

Various students were there to voice their opinions on these topics, which meant a great deal to them.

Chinecherem Anijielo, a second year political science major with a minor in ethnic studies, shared that not only was she there because she was a fan and student of Professor Smith but because the film itself was very important to her.

“It means everything to me, I think watching this film confirmed my love for James Baldwin and my love for his work and for the way his mind worked,” said Anijielo. “And for this film, I think the filmmakers were able to beautifully give us an inside look into his personality and for some of the problems he faced in America and today.”