We’re coming to a bit of a reckoning in America of institutionalized racism.
It’s always been there, but because of the ubiquity of cell phone cameras, the use social media to mobilize activists, and highly publicized deaths in Ferguson, MO and Sanford, FL that united people of all skin colors from across the nation, the issue has finally come to the forefront.
And now it’s hit college campuses.
Cries of pervasive racism at the University of Missouri in recent weeks, fed by a perceived indifference from the university’s administration, ignited protests and rallies on the campus that eventually led to the resignation on Monday of President Timothy Wolfe.
The disharmony on campus finally hit national newsstands in the last several days, and was highlighted by a student’s hunger strike, a long-winded Facebook post by the student body president, and the threat of the school’s football team to not play in its upcoming game.
There’s a lot that Americans can learn from this. For one, we’re clearly at a point where racism and intolerance is not going to be accepted. If you want to spew hateful rhetoric, then you can, but expect consequences. We are all responsible for what we do or say, and we only have ourselves to blame if we face trouble for using offensive language.
Second, this is the age of activism. As I mentioned, social media has become a launching pad for people to rally behind a cause. Large-scale protests in Ferguson and Baltimore have emboldened others to act and awakened the world to the powerful effect of a united front.
Third, what is with this reoccurring campaign slogan among Republicans of “making America great again?” Protests stem from injustice, no doubt, but they usually lead to progress. And that’s what we’re seeing now. Progress.
Ask any black person, minority, transgender or homosexual in America when in the past they thought this country was “great,” and see how they respond.
Lastly, it absolutely cannot go unnoticed that the University of Missouri’s student newspaper is called the Maneater.
I don’t know what a Maneater is, why their newspaper is called that, or how readers of it can expect to be taken seriously when the paper they’re holding says “The Maneater” in giant letters across the top.
If you’re going to be in the national spotlight, at least change your newspaper name temporarily to something a little more elegant. Like the Missouri Herald. Or the Missourian.
Or even better, the MissouriBlog, the official Midwestern sister publication to the Weinblog. I’ll have my lawyers (my cat Marbles) send the paperwork in the morning.
I’ll let the university sit on that proposal.