Short Film ‘How Does it Feel to be a Problem’ Highlights Hyper(In)visible Campus Life
College campuses remain a microcosm of the lingering issues we have in the United States with racism and racial aggresion. Increasingly though, racial aggression issues like those present on the campus of the University of Missouri have cast a bright light on the degree to which Black students are marginalized at institutions meant to serve them. The video below asks “How Does it Feel to be a Problem” – drawn from W.E.B. Du Bois’ canonical work The Souls of Black Folk – in an effort to unearth the ways Black students navigate campus life while being both invisible and in some cases hypervisible at the same time.
Two of the most striking lines from the film for me were “well, at least they saw me” and “who’s the nigger?” Having experienced some variants of these expressions myself, the first line rocked me to my core that being seen is sometimes so rare that instances of violences are often our very first appearances to others in the predominantly White public sphere. That latter phrase stuck with me because it underscored the fact that many young Black people are faced with the conundrum that no achievement, no accolade, no piece of paper or medal will change the fact that, in many people’s eyes, we are still criminally Black.
Watch the film below and leave your thoughts in the comments.
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