“Time, promises, and token efforts to change won’t magically make the hate and ignorance that spawned the racial offenses at their schools disappear.”
Article (re)defined by GT.
Recently, the president at the University of Missouri was forced to resigned after students took matters into their own hands to address the racial turmoil that was taking place on campus. What occurred at Mizzou was being mirrored nationwide, raising several questions and creating many realizations. The most important question being–what solutions are there for colleges that flunk the Racism Test?
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the Fees Must Fall movement in South Africa, where university students were protesting the potential hike in college fees and also raising the world’s consciousness about the ugly truths of the lack of racial diversity in South Africa’s higher education system. With all that has been going on recently here in America and with the purpose of this blog, I felt that it was justified to take some time and shed some light on our present circumstances.
When one thinks of education in post-colonial countries, we think of areas in the Caribbean, Latin America, and of course Africa. However, l believe that the current systems and structures that Americans operate within here, in this land, are not far removed from after effects of colonialism. Exhibit A: #ConcernedStudent1950. From verbal racial attacks, to threats directed at Black students, to drawing human feces swastikas in dorms, students were fed up with the university’s administration, especially the president, at addressing these concerns. In response, students protested, one student went on a hunger strike and an entire football team declared to boycott and not play in any more games until the president resigned for his incompetence at dealing with racism at Mizzou. Which effort triggered the resignation? The one that would cost the school to lose millions of dollars. What happened in response to the president’s resignation? Death threats against all black students who dared to step foot on campus the following day.
According to a blog post in the Huffington Post’s Black Voices section, the incidents that took place at Mizzou are not isolated. Across the U.S., more and more students are raising their voices and demanding for change to take place in their own institutions. Additionally, these situations are not unique to this time. Considering the historical background of the United States of America (i.e. the mass chattel enslavement of Black people) black students have always had to fight against racism, even going back to less than 60 years ago, when schools officially became desegregated. In an article written in the Washington Post, the author brings up the fact that in 1969 students were demanding for the same kinds of changes to take place “for the betterment of the black community” on campuses across the nation. “It’s clear that Missouri [and countless other higher education institutions] has yet to resolve questions from almost fifty years ago…” This statement is a testament that the efforts of university administrations nationwide are not effective enough in addressing the issues at hand. It takes more than “time, promises, and token efforts” to uproot the systemic racist oppression of minority students within America’s higher education. If universities continue to simply dismiss “microagressions” and make empty promises to increase diversity, students will continue to take matters into their own hands and expose the incompetence and realities within America’s post-colonial education system.
Source: “Missouri a Teaching Moment for Other Colleges That Flunk the Racism Test“ by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Black Voices, The Hufftington Post, Nov. 10, 2015.