Comedian’s BYU black history video goes viral

Feb 11, 2012, 12:25 AM

PROVO, Utah (AP) – A YouTube video of a white comedian who painted his face black and quizzed Brigham Young University students about Black History Month has brought some unwanted attention to the Mormon-run school.

Observers have called some student responses ignorant while others criticized the comedian’s use of the 19th century theater technique considered racially offensive by black people.

Standup comic Dave Ackerman told ABC 4 that he was going for the shock factor.

“I wanted to raise awareness in an interesting way and get a conversation started,” he said.

Ackerman’s montage of student interviews at the Provo, Utah, school had nearly 450,000 views by Friday afternoon. About 1,400 viewers indicated they liked the four-minute video, while 2,400 clicked “dislike.”

The video starts by showing Ackerman donning skin-darkening makeup on his face and hands. He stops students at the school _ where blacks comprise less than 1 percent of the student body _ and asks them which month is Black History Month.

Several interviewees said January or March before one correctly answered February.

When Ackerman asks students to name prominent figures in black history, they name Martin Luther King, Jr. and rappers.

The final frame tells viewers to “fight ignorance with ignorance.”

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins told the Salt Lake Tribune that officials at the school, which is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were disappointed by some of the remarks and said they don’t represent the more than 30,000 students enrolled there. She also said some students complained the editing was selective and perhaps manipulative.

Others criticized the comedian’s use of blackface, which was popular in 19th century “minstrel shows” that caricatured blacks.

“The kids are extremely naive, and Ackerman exploits that,” Darron Smith, a former BYU professor, who is black, told the Tribune. “Where it went south was the use of blackface. He doesn’t understand how offensive it is.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin during th...
Associated Press

UN chief affirms support for denuclearized North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday proclaimed unwavering U.N. commitment to a fully denuclearized North Korea, even as a divided Security Council allows more room for the isolated country to expand its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Meeting South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul, Guterres said […]
3 hours ago
FILE - A man wearing a face mask walks past a billboard advertising Chinese technology firm Huawei ...
Associated Press

China’s Huawei says sales down but new ventures growing

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei said Friday its revenue fell in the first half of 2022 but new ventures in autos and other industries helped to offset a decline in smartphone sales under U.S. sanctions. Revenue fell 5.9% from a year earlier to 301.6 billion yuan ($44.8 billion) in the six months through […]
3 hours ago
A currency trader passes by screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, an...
Associated Press

World shares mostly higher after new signs inflation cooling

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares opened higher in Europe after a mixed day in Asia on Friday following another encouraging report about U.S. inflation. The United Kingdom reported its economy contracted 0.1% in the last quarter as families cut back on spending to cope with price increases. The decline was better than most forecasts. “So basically, […]
1 day ago
FILE - People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, June 9, 2022. The biggest invest...
Associated Press

In Biden’s big bill: Climate, health care, deficit reduction

WASHINGTON (AP) — The biggest investment ever in the U.S. to fight climate change. A hard-fought cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors in the Medicare program. A new corporate minimum tax to ensure big businesses pay their share. And billions left over to pay down federal deficits. All told, the Democrats’ “Inflation Reduction […]
1 day ago
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, A...
Associated Press

House Dems set to overcome GOP for climate, health care win

WASHINGTON (AP) — A flagship Democratic economic bill perched on the edge of House passage Friday, placing President Joe Biden on the brink of a back-from-the-dead triumph on his climate, health and tax goals that could energize his party ahead of November’s elections. Democrats were poised to muscle the measure through the narrowly divided House […]
1 day ago
FILE - Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsy...
Associated Press

Fetterman plans ‘raw’ remarks in return to PA Senate race

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman is expected to open up about his personal health challenges as he officially returns to the campaign trail Friday, more than 90 days after the Democrat suffered a stroke that threatened his life and political prospects in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests. Fetterman will […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Comedian’s BYU black history video goes viral