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Commentary Opinion

The remnants of the Paint it Black movement, peeling paint and a promise of change.


As I stare upon Painted Street now as I walk to my classes, I can’t help but feel this disappointment upon looking at it. Because in the wake of a hate crime, the first of several, but that’s a whole other issue, the students and staff of Drake came together to create this symbol that such behavior is not welcome on this campus. That we are all standing together on this issue by painting the street black. Which is why I find it disappointing that the majority of the black paint has already peeled away before the semester was over.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think that there shouldn’t be any peeling. There’s mother nature to consider, among other factors, so thinking that there would be no peeling would just be unrealistic. However, the fact that I can now see the previous logos of the various clubs that should have been painted over is something I find unacceptable.

Now, I admit, I know next to nothing about paint, but this seems to me like something that was brought on by not doing something correctly. Which, looking back on the Paint it Black movement, it occurs to me that the whole event might have been rushed, having been put together in a matter of days. If that was the case, then why wasn’t the event held off so that we can get all the necessary materials so that the street could be black at least until Relays? What, did someone figure that if painting the street black didn’t happen when the event was still fresh in people’s mind, then people would stop caring? Well, that’s a depressing thought.

At the rally preceding the Paint It Black movement, something that one of the speakers commented on was the fact that painting the street black was a good start, but the battle against racism wasn’t going to end there. I agree, painting the street black wasn’t going to solve all the racial problems that are plaguing campus. But I still thought that it was important as a first step and symbol that we, Drake University, were being serious about this. And we messed up step one. That doesn’t fill me with confidence.

I know life isn’t a literary novel, but if life was a literary novel, then I’d say that a symbol of a movement dissolving a short time after it was made would symbolize a rather half-hearted movement. I’m disappointed with the administration for not preventing this from happening. I’m disappointed with the students for not being very vocal about this being a problem. And I’m disappointed with myself for not noticing when this started to happen.

Towards the end of the semester, I, like I’m sure many Drake students, became preoccupied with final exams and getting my final assignments done. I get it, we all have very busy lives that don’t involve looking at the state of the Street. I won’t be saying that I don’t know how this could have happened. However, I will say that going forward, we all need to be better at things like this.

Photo Credit Kim Bates


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