Brian Johnson


Technical Specifications

  • For all programs: laptop projector, screen lavalier or cordless microphone
  • In addition to above, flip charts for LEAD program

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Co-author of Reel Diversity: A Teacher’s Sourcebook (2008). Winner of the 2009 Chinn Book Award by the National Association for Multicultural Education; author of We’ve Scene It All Before: Using Film Clips in Diversity Awareness Training (2009). Keynote: Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values Central Leadership conference (February 2012); Keynote: Southeastern Intrafraternal Conference (March 2012)

Brian C. Johnson honors the struggles and accomplishments of the ordinary citizens who launched the Civil Rights Movement by committing himself personally and professionally to the advancement of multicultural and inclusive education.

He serves as a faculty member in the department of developmental instruction at Bloomsburg University and is the director of the Frederick Douglass Institute for Academic Excellence.

Having earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in English from California University of Pennsylvania, Brian is a doctoral candidate in communications media and instructional technology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Brian is the co-author of Reel Diversity: A Teacher’s Sourcebook (2008), winner of the 2009 Chinn Book Award by the National Association for Multicultural Education, and the author of We’ve Scene It All Before: Using Film Clips in Diversity Awareness Training (2009), and Sintimacy: The Christian’s Love Affair with Secret Sin (2009).

Johnson, an ordained minister, serves as one of the associate pastors and youth pastor at Revival Tabernacle in Watsontown, PA. He is a movie reviewer for Christian Spotlight on Entertainment.


“Diversity” is also one of the most challenging subjects for many students to grasp. Exploring the “difference that difference makes” can be difficult because there are so many perspectives and opinions about how it can be presented. Brian’s creative keynote, Reel Diversity, frames the diversity conversation through modern film. By sharing clips of well-known films and discussing the messages they consciously or unconsciously give, Brian allows every student to see himself or herself as diverse. Students laugh and remember some of their favorite movies, and from there, an interactive keynote about multiculturalism can begin.

Students learn about the concept of “diversity” — its associated values, expressions of identity, similarity, and the devaluation of “different.” They are asked to consider the concept of “culture” — its symbols, language, norms and values in American society. The audience is challenged to care about “social justice” — power, oppression, ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. Students are asked to make personal judgments about these issues and recognize that the opportunity for change exists within each of us. In addition to race, the keynote addresses these issues with regard to sexual orientation, socio-economics, religion and disability. Reel Diversity is an inclusive, interactive experience for students from all walks of life.

Reel Diversity can also be done as a workshop (titled, “Multicultural Media Literacy”) for students or faculty on how to use film to discuss diversity issues.

Using clips from Hollywood blockbusters, Reel Big Bullies is designed to help students, administrators, teachers and counselors create a safer school environment for all students. It is also intended to help all students understand the terrible toll bulling can take on its victims, and to encourage students to stand up for their classmates who are being harassed. The idea of putting others down, physically assaulting, or social excluding others has been normalized in the films we watch, and we have been desensitized to believe that bullying (and hazing) is a part of making the target a “better person.” This keynote will challenge participants to see the personhood and humanity of all persons, and to learn how to eliminate bystander behavior. Perfect for college campuses or high school assemblies, Reel Big Bullies is designed to strengthen communities, foster mutual respect and build truly inclusive environments where all can thrive!

Most fraternities and sororities were founded upon the exemplary principles of scholarship and achievement, service, philanthropy and leadership; yet today, the popular perception of Greeks is anything but! Fraternity and sorority members must come face-to-face with the Hollywood mirror where beer guzzling, lewd behavior, hazing, cheating and destruction are the order of the day for fraternities, and sororities are little more than havens of bitchiness and exclusivity (not to mention being pictured as the willing servants and concubines of frat boys!).

Brian’s keynote Reel Greek: Where Hollywood Boulevard Meets Greek Row uses film clips from popular films to explore the influence of Hollywood on how we view ourselves as members of the Greek community as well as the impact these images have on how/who we recruit, the traditions and rituals we uphold, how we act in public and private, our town/gown relationships and how we interact on with others on campus. Audiences (Greek and non-Greek) will be challenged to question what it really means to live in community with others, and to think critically about counteracting the negative public perceptions and promoting the true ideals of these organizations.

This fun and interactive keynote opens the door for first year students to discuss their pre-college conditioning and temper these images with real campus life. Using clips from popular films set on college campuses, Brian will deconstruct the Hollywood myth machine and empower students to make positive choices regarding the challenges they will face on a daily basis. This keynote will get students laughing as they remember their favorite scenes and are challenged to be critical thinkers about how to make positive, informed decisions about success in college as well as how to be a productive citizen within the campus community.

LEAD: Leadership Excellence Acknowledges Diversimilarity (workshop)
One of our most compelling challenges is the encouragement of student leadership, on- and off-campus. This type of leadership entails building relationships and communication with people who have divergent beliefs and values. Campus conversations about diversity are often messy, sensitive and, for many, very scary. How can we build effective personal relationships across (and in spite of) differences when people are afraid and unable to talk to each other? Brian will help students expand their relationship — building skills by becoming more culturally self-aware, finding common ground and harnessing the benefits of living and learning in community with others.

In this keynote — perfect for new student orientation and leadership development — Brian frames diversity as a leadership issue, making it an appropriate discussion for students of different backgrounds. Brian directs students toward a journey of cultural competence — helping them acquire a factual knowledge base about different cultures, and giving them the confidence and comfort to generate communication between cultures.


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