It’s time for white people to condemn racism

(Residents of Larned Hall signed a banner that hangs in the lobby to show support for students of color. Courtesy of John Nephew)

Ignorance is not bliss. Proven this past week, as not one – but two hate crimes plagued our very own campus as students in the University’s Black Student Union (BSU) were targeted twice in one weekend.

Two black students were targeted in Larned Hall this past Friday when they noticed the BSU flyer hanging outside their door had been defaced with the phrase “[n-word] club.”

Two days later, one of the girls arrived back from the bathroom to find the nasty message “[n-words] live here,” scribbled across their bedroom door.

Now, you may have already heard the story, but you’ll continue hearing it and similar narratives until white people start taking responsibility for perpetuating racism and instilling fear into our black communities.

Black students have been targeted and affected by racism and hate for far too long – only this time, there’s hard evidence to prove it. It’s important to remember that verbal assaults and the use of racial slurs are just as toxic and detrimental as physical attacks.

Although it’s been well over a century since the abolishment of slavery, and over five decades since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation and racial discrimination – it doesn’t mean that racism was abolished along with slavery and segregation.

Rather than patting ourselves on the back for “coming such a long way since slavery,” why don’t we acknowledge and combat the injustices that continue to torment black communities?

Because white people benefit from racism, whether they want to or not – myself included.

Racism is still rampant. It lives on our campus. It sits in our classrooms. And it threatens our peers.

It’s time for white people, including myself, to take a stand and condemn racism, hate and the use of racial slurs once and for all. More importantly, it’s crucial for FSU’s white population to unite against racism and condemn the hate that continues to plague our campus.

It’s not the responsibility of the oppressed to educate their oppressor. It’s the responsibility of those who benefit from that oppression to speak out to actually create a wave of change.

It’s vital to keep the conversation going about racism, no matter how uncomfortable it makes people feel. No matter how long it’s been since slavery. No matter how long it’s been since the Civil Rights Movement.

Anti-Apartheid activist Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Don’t let that be you.

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