Black History Month ended last night with the co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle” speaking to Central Michigan University students about the prevalence of racism in today’s society.
Touré, MSNBC show host and a successful author, spoke to an audience of CMU students in Plachta Auditorium about racial inequity, politics and other social issues. CMU paid $9,000 for his appearance.
Touré opened his presentation by talking about the Trayvon Martin murder case. Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Martin’s death. Touré commented on how he saw race and stereotyping playing a large role in that case.
In light of the Martin case, Touré talked about gun control and how the recent growth in gun sales and gun ownership is not beneficial and provides a false sense of safety.
“Civilian guns are far more likely to be used on people we know, like (family, friends and ourselves) than to stop criminals,” Touré said.
Touré did touch on the topic of politics, including discussing the partisan divide in American politics and President Barack Obama.
During the 2008 presidential election, America voted for the “Superman” candidate, Touré said. After Obama’s first term, people saw then that he was just a normal person.
“For a black man to be re-elected after being deemed ‘normal’ is extraordinary,” Touré said.
As for the next presidential election, Touré sees former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taking Obama’s spot in the Oval Office in 2017.
Touré also blasted voter identification laws in place in states nationwide, saying they discriminate against minorities. He said some white politicians use these policies to remain in power, because, based on statistics, whites have the smallest percentage of people without some form of identification.
Waterford junior Nicole Fergestrom said she attended the keynote speaker as part of her multicultural scholarship and was a little surprised by the speech’s political nature.
“It wasn’t as interesting as other keynote speakers. Usually I enjoy the speakers, but this one was difficult, because I’m not really someone who is into politics,” Fergestrom said.
“Most black and brown people see the voter ID law as an attack on them,” Touré said. “(Voter ID) is attempting to restrain and suppress (people of color).”
Harrison grad student Larry Hines said he enjoyed Touré’s presentation.
“He came prepared and made a lot of good points,” Hines said.
The one message Hines took away from the speaker is that racism is still prevalent.
“We still have to deal with racism in this country,” Hines said. “It’s a lot more complex than what we see on TV.”