Amandla! presents seventh annual Black Campus Conference

Ronald Hall

Amandla!, the African American student organization at Bates College, presents its seventh annual Black Campus Conference on Saturday, March 15. Members of the public are invited to attend at no charge.

Formerly known as Unity Conference, this year’s gathering focuses on the book The Color Complex: The Politics of Skin Color Among African Americans by Kathy Russell, Midge Wilson and Ronald Hall (Harcourt, 1992). It explores how skin color affects daily lives, influences national social perceptions and influences politics. Co-author Hall will deliver the conference’s keynote address, The Bleaching Syndrome, in the evening.

Featuring two workshops, a dinner and lecture, games and a dance, the conference opens at 1 p.m. with registration in the Perry Atrium of Pettengill Hall. Two hourlong back-to-back workshops begin at 2 p.m. in the Keck Classroom (G52), Pettengill Hall.

The workshops are:

Black Male Color Masculinity, with Charles Nero, associate professor of theater and rhetoric, and African American  and American cultural studies, at 2 p.m.

The Politics of Color, with Charles Carnegie, associate professor of anthropology, and African American and American cultural studies, at 3 p.m.

The Diaspora Dinner takes place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Ave. The dinner includes Caribbean, African and African American soul food. The event also features music, poetry and an award presentation by Amandla! members.

Hall’s dinner keynote address describes the consequences of the bleaching syndrome for African Americans “who internalize light skin and other dominant culture criteria as the ideal point of reference for full assimilation into American society.”

Associate professor of social work at Michigan State University and a frequently published scholar, Hall is widely recognized for his expertise on intra-racial racism, black and white conflict, race relations and diversity. His latest book Bleaching Beauty: Light Skin as a Filipina Ideal (Giraffe Books, 2006) will be followed by a volume he has edited, Racism in the 21st Century: An Empirical Analysis of Skin Color (Springer, 2008).

Hall received his doctorate from Atlanta University, his M.S.W. degree from the University of Michigan and his M.C.S. degree from the University of Detroit. Beginning his career as a clinical social worker in Detroit, Mich., Hall worked with schizophrenic and manic-depressive clients in individual and group psychotherapy sessions. His clinical observations led him to conclude that the notion of skin color, among individuals of color, is a critical dynamic of mental health.

The evening continues with “Black Entertainment Night,” featuring games from the African Diaspora, from 8:30 to 10 p.m. in the Multicultural Center, 63 Campus Ave.

The conference concludes with the popular Bates dance “Triad.” An annual party since 1981, this fundraiser is held in Chase Hall, 56 Campus Ave., from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Music ranges from dancehall to rock, and proceeds from the gathering will benefit the nation of Somalia. Donations are gratefully accepted.

Those interested in attending the conference and its various activities should R.S.V.P. by contacting Anthony Begon ’08, co-coordinator of Amandla!, at this

Amandla!, a student-run organization at Bates, is dedicated providing a forum where students of African descent can express social, intellectual, political and cultural concerns.

The  Black Campus Conference receives support from the Office of Multicultural Affairs.