BY STACEY BERRY
“Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.” — Pierre Berton
Drake University has continued to disappoint me. From faculty to students, racial remarks and hate crimes have been too common since I started coming here as a freshman in 2015. I came into college prepared for what a Private White Institution had to offer me.
I’ve always had to deal with being ‘black in a white space’, so coming to college, I, unfortunately, was ready for the worst to come. I didn’t meet many other people of color on campus until being here for months into my first year, and when I did they told me where to hang out at, what people to be friends with, and what professors and students to avoid.
While you also may have had this conversation with your friends, this discussion was had with me simply because I am a black woman. I am not welcome at certain places on this campus, men at this school have fetishized me because they want to get with a black woman, and professors and students alike will not even apologize to me or other students of color because they see nothing wrong with their ignorant remarks.
“Damn you’re cute, I mean I usually don’t like the dark ones, but there’s something about you”. “When as a freshman, white students in my dorm shared their favorite ‘black jokes’ with me, because they thought I was one of the “nice ones”.
This is just some of #mytimeatdrake, and these aren’t even the worst of my stories. This isn’t even as sick as some of the other stories I have heard from other students of color. Freedom of speech does not include hate speech. Freedom of expression does not mean the oppression of others. You as a white person are not allowed to tell a student of color that they should not be upset about your or someone else’s ignorant remarks.
I used to tell myself that comments like these are just what it means to be black in America, I would try to let them roll off of my back, to keep going and not try to speak up about the things I have gone through and experienced here at Drake University, but not anymore. I will no longer be content in my suffering to please others.
I will no longer not speak up because I am afraid that I will lose friends if I bring up racial issues. I will talk about it, bring up the uncomfortable topics because something needs to change. Drake University prides itself on being inclusive, yet a student received a note calling them a porch monkey. In 2018. When you read this, I want you to look up the note that the black student received, it is being shared online, and read it aloud.
Hear the words, and your uncomfortable and sad feeling is a fraction of what so many Drake students feel every day. Now while many of you will think, “but I would never send a note like that to someone”, if you saw that person slip that note under that student’s door, would you stop them? Would you advocate for that black student to gain justice? I don’t just mean posting on social media about it, but will you actively create change on this campus?
Will you show up to #paintitblack? If you said yes to any of these questions, you better stand with us to end racial intolerance and be an active ally, and paint painted street black. This is not just a Drake issue, but racial intolerance and being silent when those you know are being mistreated is an American issue, so let’s be better than the rest of the US, lets actively create a safe campus.