Opinion:University of Missouri spotlights inequality close to home

Photo: NBC News

The historical movement taking place on the University of Missouri campus has opened the floodgates in terms of social commentary on racial inequality.

As news headlines capture the protests that have finally brought about some sort of change to the UM campus racial bias on the collegiate level has now taken it’s rightful place to the forefront of hot topic issues.

In our own neighborhood, Claremont McKenna College dean of students, Mary Spellman recently announced her resignation due to being reported as unsupportive towards students of “marginalized identities.”

Unfortunately, the subject of racism is nothing new. As an African-American student I would argue that the accolades praising how far we have come as a nation has desensitized us to the horrors of racial bias and discrimination against black and brown students that still exist on college campuses today.

As reported in the New York Times occurrences of racial slurs openly used by students and administration alike, culturally insensitive costuming, subconscious segregation on a social level amongst the student body, and even an instance of an individual smearing a swastika symbol on a wall in feces on the Mizzou campus, led to a key group of students saying enough is enough.

Students referring to themselves as “Concerned Student 1950” united and carried forward a hunger strike as well as constructed a tent city right in the center of campus in protest. The University of Missouri’s football team players also participated by threatening to sit out on both practices and scheduled games.

This action has revamped an encouraging trend across the country with anti-hate campaigns such as “Black Lives Matter” urging people to speak up and take action towards the issue.

Unfortunately the “Black Lives Matter” movement has come with negative interpretations as well. Some take the phrase out of context implying that other lives do not. This is not at all the case from my understanding.

“Black Lives Matter” is a movement founded on the unbelievable statistics revealing that African-Americans are literally being killed in droves at the hands of police officers in instances of racially motivated violence.

The faces of the movement include Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and a local victim of police violence Kendric McDade.

I personally hear stories day in and day out of violence and unnecessary brute force used by police officers on people of African-American descent and I cannot help but wonder if the same outcome would have come about had the victim been Caucasian.

I come from a family of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother and sisters who I witness tarry with God in prayer for mercy that their brown skinned sons and daughters are not harmed or harassed just walking down the street, discriminated against in their classrooms, mistreated by their peers or society for their physical features.

The turmoil that has been endured by the students on the UM Campus, the Claremont Campus, and on campuses across the nation is nothing new. It’s simply been placed on the pedestal of a trendy topic in 2015.

It is our responsibility as students and citizens of the world to continue the movement as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did during his time on Earth.

Racism behind closed doors is still racism. Prejudice whispered among the few is just as detrimental as prejudice screamed by among the masses.

Just because it is not something blatantly witnessed by the majority does not make racism a non-issue. Progress is only effective if it is ongoing.

Use your voice, speak up and educate yourself on the world you live in. The University of Missouri and Claremont McKenna are not phenomenon but rather eye openers and lessons to be learned.