Young adults are often told that their college years will be the best years of their lives. An in-depth report from The New York Times reveals that that might not be the case for many non-white undergraduates at U.S. institutions.
Times journalist Tanzina Vega recently wrote about a “new wave” of campus activism addressing racist incidences and an overall sense of isolation among Black students.
At the center of the article lies the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, an institution that has been the subject of divisive affirmative action debates nationwide and, more recently, the latest perpetrator of a (cancelled) racist fraternity party that invited “rappers, twerkers. gangsters” back to “da hood again.”
Well, you might be thinking of the racist Martin Luther King Day frat party thrown at Arizona State University. Or was it the racist “beer olympic” party thrown by a Columbia University sorority? UCLA? Ole Miss? Dartmouth?
It goes without saying (yet, still must be said) that U.S. colleges and universities have experienced a surge in racist student theme parties. Enough so that the episodes have been catalogued in photo galleries at publications like The Huffington Post and Complex. Experts and scholars have continued to debate whether the prohibition affirmative action (a measure on which the Supreme Court will likely rule this year) will only aggravate the matter even further.
Social media has played a significant role in not only publicizing visual evidence of these ongoing racist episodes (typically published by the partygoers themselves,) but also in providing disgruntled students with a widespread platform on which to assemble, organize and protest.
Frustrated with the steady drop in black undergraduate enrollment and incited by campus tensions, members of the Black Student Union at the University of Michigan started a popular social media campaign, #BBUM, to shed light on what it means to be a minority at one of the top universities in the country.
“There was a very tense climate brewing all semester, and I think the party was just the peak,” Black Student Union speaker Tyrell Collier, 21, told the Times. The sociology and Afro-American and African studies double major said that he had been contacted by other college black student groups searching for effective tactics similar to #BBUM.