UNF group faces backlash after posting Black History Month trivia question that some found offensive

UNF students protest following Black History Month Instagram post that some students found offensive. (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The group of UNF students protesting Tuesday on campus may have been small, but their message was big.

They’re upset because they said the administration didn’t take proper action after school groups posted a question on Instagram for Black History Month that some students found offensive.

According to the Spinnaker, UNF’s student-run news website, Osprey Life and Productions and the Intercultural Center created a trivia game that was later posted to Instagram on Feb. 21 as part of UNF’s celebration of Black History Month.

One of the questions asked: “What is a popular drink in the African American community?” and gave four possible answers: Pepsi, Red Kool-Aid, Cranberry Juice and Sierra Mist.

Red Kool-Aid was the correct answer to the question.

The post received immediate backlash from students and prompted multiple statements from the university.

“The purpose of the trivia poll shared during Black History Month was to engage students in recognizing diverse aspects of Black/African American culture,” read an Instagram post on the UNF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion account last week “The questions were adopted from a pop culture trivia game. While some content may have been viewed as insensitive, we reaffirm our commitment in honoring cultural humility and cultural sensitivity. We seek to create a space to hear from the campus community about the impacts of cultural representation and sensitivity.”

Later that same day it posted an apology after students in the comments criticized the initial explanation.

“We apologize,” read an Instagram post later posted on UNF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion account. “We acknowledge the Black History Month Trivia perpetuated racial stereotypes and caused racial trauma. Our subsequent statement failed to take accountability for the harm we caused. We messed up. Our student organizations [Black Student Union] [Student Alliance for Inclusion and Diversity] [Latin American Student Organization] [Asian Students in Alliance] did not contribute to the trivia or the statement.”

Students who protested Tuesday were not happy with how the university handled the initial post or the fallout.

“After the backlash with the first initial post their apology was not really an apology,” said student Tionna Jefferson. “It was just a slap in the face to all of the students that they harmed perpetuating that harmful stereotype.”

The protest Tuesday was successful.

UNF interim President Dr. Pamela S. Chally showed up and agreed to meet with the students.

“Our plans are to hold this protest to get some people to march with us to the office of the president so we can actually sit down with the administration and talk out a changeable plan so that we can know going forward this does not happen again,” Jefferson said.

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