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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Sydney Augustine at 1:35PM

Written by Sydney Augustine, Sports Media ‘19, Blogging Intern, Queens, New York


Earlier this semester, I poked my head into my professor’s office before class. I had a question about an upcoming assignment, but also the underlying intention to share exciting news that I had recently received.


In mid-February, actually before heading to my FLEFF blogging class, I was notified of my acceptance into the Master of Arts  program at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

With his congratulatory remarks, came an offer to teach my professor’s Social Aspects of Sports class, which I had taken two years before. It would be an understatement to say that I simultaneously felt excitement and intimidation.

Less than twenty four hours after the conclusion of FLEFF, I was standing in front of room of predominantly white male students, less than ten women, and two Black males, leading a class.


What is possibly more radical is the topic I taught, which was ‘Race and Ethnicity in Sport.’

My life and studies are engulfed in understanding, discussing, and tackling racial issues in sport, but many don’t share a similar passion. Anyone who lives or goes to school in Ithaca doesn’t need to travel far to see a #BlackLivesMatter posters displayed in some window, but honest and open conversations on race are often taboo around here.

Expecting to simply lecture to a group of silent students, I was taken aback by the noise that erupted in the classroom.


Admittedly, I brought into class the prejudices I felt about white male students and Sport Media majors, which Pawel Wojtasik’s Master Class made me much more aware of. I didn't expect them to be so engaged, constantly raising their hands, asking questions, and debating with me and one another.


Towards the end of the class, I was clearly disrespected by a white male student when I, the teacher, looked to cut him off and give other students a chance to speak. Without even a stutter, he took advantage of his white privilege and told me that I needed to let him finish speaking, which obviously showed he had no respect for me as a Black woman in power.


When the class ended, I was enraged and baffled by the incident. That one negative moment blinded me from all the positives that I had occurred.


What I had done was disruptive in the best way possible is what my professor told me after the class.


I gave an open space for college students to have an extremely difficult and much-needed conversation. I allowed young adults to engage in open and honest dialogue about an important social issue that doesn’t only exist in sport, but in all aspects of our lives.  

My experience at FLEFF is one that I was able to bring inside of an Ithaca College classroom without even realizing it.


To quote Fred Hampton, “If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then damn it, you don't deserve to win.” As a Black woman, it will never be easy to educate others and have my voice be heard, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t have the impact that I desire. FLEFF taught me that.


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