Over the past year, an increased awareness has been raised of discrimination in predominantly white institutions across the United States. In February 2022, five Black students at Brigham Young University named Kennethia Dorsey, Nathanael Byrd, Kylee Shepherd, Sebastian Stewart-Johnson and Rachel Weaver created a group called the “Black Menaces” to address issues including racism, sexism and homophobia. These students are spreading awareness on TikTok by posting interviews of their classmates and students from other colleges discussing these issues.
Some examples of these interview topics include the student’s views on gay marriage, whether sexism exists, whether white privilege exists, and if queer students should be allowed to date on campus. The range of answers varies, but many of the responses are shocking. For example, when a BYU student was asked if white privilege exists, one student responded, “I feel like in the past there has been white privilege, but I feel like there has been many movements and it’s not really a thing now.” The offensive responses receive strong backlash online for discrimination.
The Black Menaces have already expanded into many different universities, and they continue to rapidly spread their influence. In a TikTok posted in August, Stewart-Johnson and Shepherd proclaim, “We are officially announcing that we’re opening Menace chapters to the whole country. We want a Menace chapter at every predominately white institution and university in the country.” So far, the group has expanded to UNC, Tulane, Duke and SFSU, and they have received interest to create new chapters from students at dozens of other schools.
The Black Menaces have grown their TikTok platform to nearly 730K followers. In one of their pinned videos, Rachel Weaver states, “We just want you to know that the point of our page is to highlight the reality of Black students and other marginalized communities, and that’s the point of all of our videos.” One video at a time, this group of students continues to spread awareness throughout the country by advocating for these important issues.