Following recent reports of two Geneseo students who referenced blackface in two Snapchat posts, one thing has become abundantly clear: the lack of urgency Geneseo has displayed in regard to preventing racist acts is unacceptable.
This school is fixing a broken sink by taping up leaks. There is clearly a bigger issue here when a student thinks it is a joke to post herself in “blackface” and posing in what seems to be a stereotypical black pose; tape won’t solve anything, we need a whole new sink.
It is an issue that white students do not see how this personally impacts students of color every single day. We do not know you, we do not know your intentions, we still do not know who wrote KKK on the Gazebo in 2016. So, any “minor” incident is a big incident in this climate.
We are in a traditionally conservative county. Geneseo needs to act quickly to prevent these acts. A letter of disapproval from the president or an assembly with like-minded people about why that is not okay, isn’t cutting it. Mandatory training and educational classes for all students should be implemented for white students to be educated on the issues that impact minorities.
It is the college’s job as a predominantly white institution to realize where you are and how to fix it. Students of color do not feel safe when someone feels comfortable enough to do something as ignorant as jokingly pose in blackface. Of the 5,400 students on campus, 20% are from a non-white background. When are minorities going to feel comfortable on campus?
All these talks and stickers are not working. Repercussions need to be harsh, even with “minor” incidents. Consider students visiting the school. Should we say: “We have three dining halls, an amazing view of the sunset and the occasion racist jokester that still attends this campus?”
Some individuals have stepped up and took a stand against these acts, but now it’s time for the college to follow suit. It is draining and damaging to not know who is sitting next to you or if they think racist jokes are funny.
It is 2019. The student body should know that these kinds of “jokes” are wrong and unacceptable. This should be intolerable behavior. Students of color are a small group on this campus, and it is the school’s job to protect us. We should not have to ask or do it ourselves.
Being a student on this campus is hard enough without having to worry about what social justice issue we must take up. Why is it up to victimized groups to have to tell white people right from wrong?
If this is an all-inclusive campus, then there should be someone in charge that understands what is going on in present day society.
Encouraging someone to attend Geneseo, where racism is punished with nothing more than an email from administration claiming it isn’t condoned, feels like setting them up for inevitable disappointment and disgust.