A Chinese rap song pointing out typical stereotypes played in a room as students from two culture classes sat side by side.
Introduction to Asian American Studies and Introduction to African American Studies classes came together as one on Thursday to examine what similarities they can find between the two cultures. Students were asked to sit with someone from a different class to get to know one another.
Arthur Banton, a graduate student in history, said he wanted to expose his students to cultures they normally wouldn’t associate the two with.
“The driving force behind this collaboration were the voices you find in each culture,” Banton said. “Unfortunately, in our society, we look at cultures in a binary level, and we don’t really explore all the voices. So when this opportunity presented itself, it was a chance for us to expose the students to different cultures.”
Banton used music as a way of connecting the cultures. He emphasized that hip-hop is a culture, rather than a genre of music. Banton said every culture has a different form of expressing their feelings through music, food and art.
Imani Asante, a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts, said she now understands the association between minorities.
“I was actually really surprised when we did this class; I really enjoyed it,” Asante said. “I would say just being a minority and an American, it affects me personally because I am black.”
Brittany Chan, a junior in the School of Management, also enjoyed the class, highlighting the need for more classes combining to optimize the learning
experience for each student.
“People don’t see Asian American and African American cultures as being similar, but I thought combining these two classes was a good idea because you can now see how much we have in common.”
Asante said she liked learning about the two cultures and their similarities.
“I just thought it was really interesting because you usually think of minorities as being separate,” Asante said.
“You don’t really see them coming together and having things in common so that was really cool to see.”