A Space for POC Students
Editorial Board | Nov. 13, 2015, 10:45 a.m.
In the wake of recent race-related events on campus, we both condone certain responsive actions but ardently condemn others. Let us be explicit: Racism has no place here. And that statement does not belabor the point or exhaust a topic that folks feel they’ve heard before, as some critics have suggested. We are impressed by the amount of student activism and support that Black students and other marginalized students have received during this divisive time, a time when it might very well be easier to accept the way things are and retreat.
However, this momentum means nothing unless you come through.
We are tired of going to protests, seeing White allies snap and clap and shout only to move on the next day like nothing happened. The ability to move on with your life, the facility to interact with the recent demonstrations as events of the past—that is a privilege. The people who deal with this kind of embedded institutional racism can’t shed how they look or change the way people perceive them on a day-to-day basis. Race isn’t a sartorial entity to be stripped before bed, as some appropriative costumes seem to insinuate.
Some may accuse progressive students of being unprepared to handle the “real world,” but we are not asking to be coddled, and we are not asking to be protected from those big, scary words and ideas. In fact, bring them on. We identify injustices and challenge current systems of thought by marching, and picketing, and shouting, and writing, and dismantling. Racism is teaching a class on the civil war that debates the pros and cons of slavery—the ownership of Black bodies. Be mindful of it.
It deeply disturbs us that people who we sit with for hours in classes, interact with at social gatherings, play sports with on teams, and exchange banter with in our dining halls could be the ones dehumanizing people of color on Yik Yak, faceless and afraid, cowering behind violently oppressive language, a keyboard and their own refusal to educate themselves. So hold these institutions, and those who are complicit, accountable. They can only dance around demands for so long—especially now that the national media has focused in on Claremont McKenna College. And while the cameras will stop rolling, the movement must continue.
So for those who don’t feel all the messages of solidarity are enough, or who feel the mainstream media is misguided in representing people of color, or who feel compelled to speak and be heard, we would like to repurpose its influence by providing a space in next week’s issue for students of color to voice their experiences. We will proofread, but we will not edit your voice or content. These submissions should be 400 words or less and should be submitted by 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.