Last week, the national media picked up on bleach bombings — water balloons filled with bleached and dropped off of balconies onto unsuspecting students — that had occurred multiple times between June and September of this year at the University of Texas at Austin. Although it was unclear who the targets were, minority students have taken both offense, and defense, at what they claim to be racial attacks.
On Oct. 2, dozens of students marched through the campus, congregating at an on-campus statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. to put pressure on the university to respond. The Greek community at UT Austin is under speculation for the attacks. Some students have reported that the victims of the bleach bombings are not only targets of racism, but also sorority girls being targeted for initiation purposes. Investigations are still ongoing and no reports have been filed yet.
With such extreme acts happening in Texas possibly being related to race, one might wonder what racism exists at Drake University. While Drake does have some diversity, the majority of students are still caucasian. A lack of exposure to other races can result in ignorance, especially when students associate themselves with other students who are like them.
Junior Freddie Fulton, president of the Coalition of Black Students (CBS) at Drake, said, “this forces us (as students) to stay ignorant to other people and their views, and that brings with it ignorant comments and ignorant actions.”
There are several minority groups on campus open to students of all races, which include the Chinese Students Association, La Fuerza Latina and CBS, who work towards educating students about their cultures. CSA recently held a Mid-Autumn Festival where they served traditional moon cakes and set up games to help students learn about each other’s cultures. One game included trivia questions ranging from the founding date of Drake, to the Hollywood movie with the most academy awards, to the traditional picture of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. It allowed a comfortable setting for students to learn about multiple cultures at once (without forgetting about Chinese culture).
Fulton said CBS also attempts “to educate non-members and members on a culture that is defined by stereotypes.”
Fulton believes education is the best tool towards fighting racism.
“We also pride ourselves in having conversation that most people don’t like to have (and) in this we find that true knowledge is spread,” Fulton said.
He says he has heard of several instances of racial slurs being aimed at African-American students and suggests that Drake could host more culture-themed events to educate students.
First-year Nina Moore also shared her thoughts on racism, saying that it doesn’t have to come verbally but can be expressed in body language, sighting the many stares she’s attracted on campus as an African-American. Moore’s solution is getting “past the divisions of race” and “creating dialogue around the issues that we allow to divide us.”