An Increase Of Racist Campus Episodes Nationwide Sparks Black Student Activism

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The Office for Civil Rights at the federal Education Department reported that the number of complaints related to race and ethnicity filed against colleges and universities grew to 860 in 2013 from 555 in 2009, according to the Times.

And Black students are not the only ones experiencing these racist episodes and tensions.

As The New York Times reports:

Charles Tkacik, a freshman at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, Fla., who is white, said in an email that while public demonstrations of racism were rare at his university, “there is a deep layer of contempt and hatred among a percentage of students toward other races.”

“Some students believe certain races to be ‘dirty, noisy and rude,’ ” Mr. Tkacik wrote.

Jordan Taylor, a black student at the State University of New York at New Paltz, shared a photo of a “colored only” sign that had been placed on a water fountain in his freshman year.

A black student at Princeton said a racial epithet was once scrawled on his dorm room door. A Korean-American student at the University of Minnesota described being asked by her classmates if she “did massage” or “wore a kimono at home.”

This new wave of racist campus incidences comes at a critical time deemed “post-racial” by some, and blatantly dangerous for Black youth by others.

David J. Leonard, a professor in the department of critical culture, gender and race studies at Washington State University, proposed the possible context behind these offensive encounters.

“People who don’t see themselves like this think: ‘We can poke fun. We can engage in stereotypes,’ ” said Dr. Leonard told the Times.

“Racism gets reduced to intent, as if intent is all that matters.”

 

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