In case you live under a rock…
Over the past few days “racial tensions in Missouri have reached a boiling point.”
Or, more accurately, black students, who pay thousands of dollars for their educations, are tired of feeling like outsiders on their own campus.
The University of Missouri, like many other predominantly white institutions, has a tense racial history. Racial incidents have been recorded every year at the school for the past five years, and most likely long before then as well. It’s not surprising to me at all. We live in a world where Muslim students were killed in Chapel Hill for no apparent reason other than they are Muslim, and where the racial climate on my own campus is tense. Just last semester the black community was called “niggers” and “monkeys” on the semi-anonymous app YikYak after an impromptu step show on the quad. However, white organizations regularly hold events on the quad at random during the year and never experience any type of racist backlash for it.
Less than a month ago while driving near my own campus a white girl my age almost hit me with her car when I had the right of way and her first instinct after I beeped at her was to call me and my friend “ugly niggers.” So I absolutely am not shocked that these types of incidents are still happening, but I am tired. Like so many other people of color, I am tired. Tired of feeling uncomfortable in a space that I pay thousands of dollars to be in, and tired of having to prove that I have a right to exist in this space.
This is why the work that #ConcernedStudent1950, The Mizzou U chapter of the NAACP, the black football players who refused to play until their voices were heard and their white teammates and white coach who stood in solidarity, and the countless other students who are protesting matter. I appreciate all these people for the brave work they are doing because they are paving the way for students like me, who also face discrimination at school, to let all of our voices be heard as one. I’d like to take a moment to thank these students for their incredible bravery in the face of such ugly and damaging oppression.