On Tuesday, Feb. 27 Lee Mun Wah visited the campus of West Chester University to discuss the importance of race relations. He started his presentation in silence; he just looked out into his audience. Some of the first words he spoke were we, as a society need to get up and look at diversity closely or we will not see it. Mun Wah was a special education teacher for 25 years. His notable production, “The Color of Fear,” won the National Education Media Network’s best Social Documentary Award in 1995. In those 25 years he noticed a trend in his special education students: that the majority, if not all of them, were African American. He also noticed that the schools were by far more hesitant to put the White students in the special education classes than they were the Black students. He reassured the Black special education students by telling them, “It’s not that you cannot learn, it’s that we haven’t figured out a way to teach you.”
During his lecture, Mun Wah conducted a few experiments. In one such experiment, he walked up to a lady in the audience and introduced himself to her. He asked the audience what they saw when he did that. He got only white males to answer the question, but this was initally unknown to most of the audience. When one African American student made the observation, Mun Wah seemed pretty excited.
“That’s right, in less than two minutes I managed to get every woman and person of color to stop raising their hands,” Mun Wah said.
A wow factor hit the people in the crowd as they all made the same realization.
In another experiment, he asked all people who had ever been discriminated against because of the color of their skin to stand. The majority of the African American students in the room did so. He asked them to go up to the stage. They proceeded to tell us their stories. These experiences concerned being followed in stores, and of even being patted down by the police officers that have sworn to protect us, simply because of the color of their skin.
In the very last exercise, Lee Mun Wah told everyone to pair up with someone he or she did not know and who was different from him or her. In the pairs the participants talked about what they thought of the lecture freely and got to know the person beyond what they looked like.
Overall, the lecture was an eye-opener for everyone who attended. It brought to everyone’s attention issues that some refuse to confront. Racism, Mun Wah addressed, and discrimination, are still a very prominent problem in society.