The year is 1619. Colonists in Jamestown referred to African slaves as n*****s.
The year is 2017. A white male refers to a Black University of Michigan student as a n*****.
On Sunday, the door decorations of three Black students in a residential hall were vandalized with the N-word and other derogatory racial slurs. The administration did nothing but send out a vague letter acknowledging what happened and stating that racism is not tolerated at the University. Supposedly a police investigation is being conducted, but almost one week later we still have nothing. No response. No concrete information. Nothing. The University has done nothing but attempt to calm us down and assure us that they are “doing everything possible” to find out who vandalized the signs in West Quad Residence Hall. Actions speak louder than words, University of Michigan. We want action. We want names. We want change.
In response to the University’s lack of response, students held a protest in the Michigan Union on Thursday, starting at 7:30 p.m. Students rallied in the Rogel Ballroom along with CSG members and members of the administration, Schlissel included. Black students shared their demands and concerns with Schlissel but, ultimately, nothing was resolved. Schlissel had to leave for familial reasons that seemed unclear.
Students then gathered outside of the Union and marched to Schlissel’s house. White allies were used to block off the crosswalks so protesters could pass through. A white male, who clearly felt that his driving through State Street was more important than the safety of our students, got out of his car and started shouting at the protesters. A Black male argued back at him to which the white male retorted and called the student a n*****. A fight broke out and the police so kindly and too gently escorted the white male away from the scene.
The year is 2017.
When will our society understand that present time is not 1619? That racism was and will never be OK? That the University of Michigan should refrain from accepting students that possess the audacity and ignorance that allow them to make another student feel unsafe in their own home? Racism is not just a Black people problem, nor is it strictly a POC problem — racism is everyone’s problem. The privileges granted to an individual as a result of their identity should not mean that they are permitted to turn a blind eye to the countless issues that plague our society. Our student body can only do so much. It is time for the University administration to step up and give us the justice we deserve. What the University’s values deserve. Stop the hate. End the violence. Wake up, University of Michigan.