In recent weeks, the University of Missouri has been at the center of a racism firestorm – threats have been made against black students, activists have charged the university with a failure to address race based complaints, faculty, including Mizzou’s president, have resigned, and a sign at the campus’s black culture center has been vandalized.
ConcernedStudent1950, a black student organization at the University of Missouri, wanting to encourage discussion around the events taking place at the college and elsewhere, has reacted by creating the hashtag #BlackOnCampus. The response has been enormous, with over 100,000 tweets and counting, with many coming forward to share their experiences of racism and discrimination experienced at colleges and universities across the country.
Black Students and black alum, tell us your experiences as a marginalized student. Hashtag #BlackOnCampus
— ConcernedStudent1950 (@CS_1950) November 11, 2015
With social media and news outlets focused on the topic, presidential candidates have rushed to provide their opinions on the University of Missouri cases and complaints of racism at schools in general.
Donald Trump thinks those who are protesting the racism they’ve experienced at the college are “crazy,” and he laments the resignations taking place at Mizzou. Although he insults the president and chancellor of the school as “weak, ineffective people,” he also thinks that their leaving has “set something in motion that’s going to be a disaster for the next long period of time.” The disaster he appears to be referring to is the chance that universities may be forced to examine the prevalent structural racism that currently exists.
Ben Carson warned that the movement was formed by the “politically correct police,” saying, “people are so frightened of the politically correct police that they are willing to do things that are irrational in order to appease them.” In this case, being “politically correct” is a substitution for “anti-racism” and the “irrational” things that people may be required to do are not to say or do racist things.
Bernie Sanders, positioning himself opposite to the viewpoints of Trump and Carson, sent out a tweet saying that “it’s time to address structural racism on college campuses.”
I’m listening to the #BlackOnCampus conversation. It’s time to address structural racism on college campuses.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 12, 2015
Hilary Clinton has not yet released her own statement, but she did retweet a staffer who wrote, “racism has no place anywhere, let alone an institution of learning.”
Unsurprisingly, there is a wide gulf between Republicans and Democrats, with #BlackOnCampus eliciting some of their true feelings on racism in America.
Gwen is a writer who has an education degree, a social work background, an extensive knowledge of vegetables, and a devotion to queer revolutionary politics. She lives deep in the woods of Maine with two dogs, a magnificent partner, and an ever-growing collection of plants.