We are watching
As many of us have most likely seen on the news, online or even on Facebook, the University of Missouri and its students are currently under the spotlight following a number of racist incidents. The most prominent, and the issue that caught media attention, was an incident involving Payton Head, the president of the Missouri Students Association. He reported being the victim of racial slurs, spewed by an unidentified group of young adults riding in a pick up truck. After his story circulated online, many became enraged to find that the University was not moving on these issues, giving generic statements and taking tepid measures (i.e. their online diversity training program), despite the fact that there had been multiple protests and even a hunger strike.
Finally, after unacceptable inaction by the university, over 30 football players announced they would no longer participate in games or practices until the president of the University, Tim Wolfe, resigned. While it is sad that Mizzou only took these protests seriously once their major source of revenue (the football team) joined in, it is effectual. Two days later Wolfe resigned. While it certainly does not eradicate the deep seeded racism at Mizzou, it shows that the students mean business and will no longer accept the deplorable response of Mizzou’s higher-ups.
The fight against racism that the students at the University of Missouri have declared has gained momentum nationwide, as social media has been utilized to both expose racism as well as combat it. The popular app Yik Yak, which gives people within a specific vicinity a platform to post messages anonymously, was used by two students at a nearby University to announce that they were going to shoot Black students on campus. This post was screenshotted by a concerned user and shared with the rest of America. Immediately people took to Facebook (shown above), Twitter, and Instagram with a status of solidarity that reads “To the Black students at Mizzou, we, at *Enter your University Here*, stand with you in solidarity. To those who threaten their sense of safety, we are watching. #ConcernedStudentof1950 #InSolidarityWithMizzou.”
Even though the two suspects in regards to the heinous threats have been detained, this example goes to show the extent at which social media can be used for both good and evil. Now is where I plead with you, students at the University of Illinois at Chicago, to use social media not only for fun but to aid this nation in our battle against the evil that hides in the shadows of anonymity. Next time you see something derogatory on any social media site screenshot it. Share it. Make it known. Do not let these perpetrators get away with it by deeming them “crazy” or “one of the few.” When these hateful mentalities are exposed rather than ignored or shrugged off, we get a little closer to fixing one of our nation’s biggest problems, racism. After all, the first step for solving a problem is admitting you have one.
If you would like to show your intolerance for racism and solidarity with the students of Mizzou, please post the status given below:
To the Black students at Mizzou, we, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, stand with you in solidarity. To those who threaten their sense of safety, we are watching. #ConcernedStudentof1950 #InSolidarityWithMizzou