Saturday, November 14, 2015
Racial Tension in Universities
Protests in the University of Missouri have especially become very intense due to the large number of racist remarks that have occurred at the school. For example, a white student asked Ms. Gray, a black student, if black people had greasy skin because slaves were forced to sweat a lot. On a separate occasion, Ms. Gray found a picture posted by her roommate of a black girl being lynched, which caused Ms. Gray to attack her roommate. Additionally, students started to smear swastikas on walls across campus, and there has been complaints and concerns in regards to racist attitudes towards the student body president, who is black. Many students were outraged, and thus, the problem then escalated to a point where black football players were threatening to Boycott football games. As a result, the president of the school, Timothy M. Wolfe, resigned from his position and urged everyone to "use [his] recognition to heal and start talking" (Source).
Likewise, at Yale, students have been protesting because they are claiming that the administration wasn't sensitive enough towards racial and cultural concerns during Halloween. Many of the students met with Peter Salovey, Yale's President, and addressed to him that the school did not attend to the needs and concerns of the minority students on campus. However, there have been dissenting point of views. Erika Christakis, a faculty member and administrator at Yale, expresses her belief that students should be able to express what they want when she states, "Is there no room for a child or young person to be a little obnoxious... a little bit inappropriate or pro-active or, yes, offensive?" (Source).
At the University of Michigan, an Asian and white fraternity planned a party with themes of "rappers, twerkers, and gangsters" as well as the "back to da hood again" theme. This resulted in racial backlash because black students were not allowed to join the party or the fraternity. University of Michigan, however, is arguing that it's very hard for them to control and suppress these types of parties before they happen. Along with this, if the fraternity isn't letting people join because they're black, it's very hard for them to find evidence of this due to the fact that the fraternity will never admit that they didn't let someone in their organization on the bases of race.
The incidences of racial discrimination and insensitivity go on forever. The reason why these series of protests have erupted in universities across the nation, is because when students start to protest in one area, the compassion, concern, and drive for what they believe to be right, will spread to students in other places who will ultimately start to protest for the same reasons. Also, naturally, when people see a big crowd fighting for something, they will want to join in and fight for that same cause. One might even say that these protests are a cause of some sort of domino effect that has occurred in universities across the nation, resulting in a chain of outraged and passionate students.
Everyone is racist in some sort of way, and not all the racism can be suppressed in the world. Do you think that the students protesting are fighting for a cause that can't be fixed?
What actions should be done in order to help ease the racism that occurs at universities?
What type of racism occurs at the universities? Systemic, interpersonal, institutional, structural?
New York Times, CBS News, NBC News, Inside Highered, WBT