With all the things going on at Mizzou and Yale, it has come to my attention that people have no idea why the situation at hand is such a serious one, and through the emails sent by the professor, it is clear that the majority of these people who are in opposition are okay with this because it does not affect them. This is their privilege, and their lack of even attempting to understand the circumstances shows just how much work we need to put into this. These people are coming into positions of power and authority, and to have these authorities who refuse to understand the situation is a part of the problem.
I feel so lucky and thankful to be able to get to class feeling somewhat safe. At Mizzou, and I’m pretty sure this is happening to some degree at Yale, students are being threatened by racist white people and racist white terrorists and being told not to come to campus if they value their lives. Students are evacuating a campus that they have paid thousands of dollars of tuition to be there because they are seriously fearing their lives. As a result, there are students emailing their professors in hope that their education could still be saved despite this threat. Many professors (not all, because I have definitely seen the opposite happen as well) have been responding to their students saying that they will still conduct class and that they should attempt to work around the “bullying.” This is problematic in two ways, first in that it denotes the history and the seriousness of having the KKK being in the proximity of black students, and second, it denotes the impact of bullying and it does not give it the appropriate attention that it deserves.
Bullying in itself is a very serious issue that often goes addressed. Aside from the few talks had in grade school, we don’t talk about bullying in a concrete context. It is always vague, something that happens to that one girl who you used to know but don’t remember or whatever. It is also trivialized by people who claim that people need to “suck things up” or just “get over things”. Bullying is not something that is addressed in the adult realm, and a lot of people remain uneducated about what the effects are of being bullied or bullying. Bullying affects many people in our society, it extends further than just the limits of grade school. It can happen to people of all ages, and it can trigger and start the development of many mental disorders. Bullying is not something that should be seen as something trivial. It is a major source for suicide in younger people and it also has decreased the amount of students actively involved in school. Being bullied is not something that everyone has the privilege of working past.
The KKK is a white domestic terrorist organization that was founded to uplift white supremacy. That is literally what they have aimed to achieve. That means that their mission is to benefit by hurting people of color and other social minorities. People have supported this hatred by attempting to claim that people are against the uplifting of whiteness in general and how offensive it is that white people cannot celebrate their culture. Besides the question of exactly what the culture is that that they are celebrating, people continue to ignore that white people are constantly celebrated. This is a eurocentric society and everything we do is based on the sphere of whiteness. Our education system was built on white people, our jobs, our places of living. LIterally everything we see in America is centered around having whiteness being valued over uplifting those who fit into the sphere of whiteness while pushing down anyone who can’t fit into the sphere.
The KKK was founded in 1866, the year after the Civil War ended. It now extends through most states, if not all at this point, and have inspired the creation of other skinhead groups. The KKK fears white genocide, and works at the active oppression of minorities and especially black people. The KKK has had a history of reorganizing and strengthening in times of social activism that promotes the uplifting of racial minorities. They have gone as far as bombing people’s homes, churches, jobs, and social places. In the past, they were known for hanging black people, and carrying a burning cross around areas where black and minority people stayed in hopes of scaring them and making them fear for their life. The KKK didn’t want for equality for minorities in the political and economic areas. They actively worked to make sure that these people could not be heard, thus making sure that they disrupted the already biased process of legislation so that people of color could not participate.
In this society, due to the whitewashing of history, many lack an overall memory of certain events. The terrorizing of black people by organizations by the KKK and white supremacists in general has long been prevalent in our American history. Yet today, who can truly say that they understand the significance of these Yik Yak threats, given the context?
What people don’t want to accept now is that the KKK is rebuilding as we speak as a response of the movements we have seen lately, particularly, the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They feel threatened because they genuinely believe that these movements are for the killing of white people in mass numbers, even though they have nothing to precedent that. In fact, they have been the ones who have promoted and anc actively worked towards the elimination of non white people because they consider these people a threat that needs to be eliminated. The irony of this is that when you look at history, you can see that these people of color occupied these spaces long before the country was founded, and white people committed genocide in order to claim the land, and then bring other people into the country to do the heavy labor of building the country’s foundation, off which they still make money from today, and not grant them any sort of credit nor retroactively provide some sort of reparation for the damage caused.
These students have gone through a lot in protesting to get their president to resign. It took a lot of work in order to organize and make this movement work, and it takes a lot of emotion and pain for students to be ready to do something like that. This was an amazing feat, and it showed people that even though it seems difficult, it can be done. The issue with this is that the students never should have had to go through all this just to have the a decent experience. These students are paying money and taking out loans in order to go to this school, and people are generally okay with them not only not feeling safe on campus, but they are genuinely fearing for their lives.
This is not just happening on Mizzou’s and Yale’s campuses. This is going on constantly across the U.S. and all over the world. People of color, despite being the most populous people in our country, are the most oppressed groups of people. They have to go through life knowing that they are meant for the background, and that they clearly not meant to be valued in society We are meant to promote institutions like these and provide funding for them, while also not making too many waves about how we feel on campus. Being at Duke has really given me a new perspective on things. It has allowed me to gain a better sense of what the elite thinks of those who are less fortunate. If it is one thing that people may not be able to notice outright is what your class is. I have been caught in so many conversations where people have said the most classist things while not realizing that I am one of those people who they are talking down to. And the amount of times people have been intersectionally classist and racist have been crazy. Not everyone realizes what they’re doing, in fact, most people do not realize what they are doing, because they have been hardwired to believe that this is okay.
Living in this society has been a struggle due to the overall ignorance of people. This isn’t necessarily always the fault of these people. One of the things I advocate for is the help of lower-income groups of minorities. These people often don’t have access to a better education, and many have no idea that they have opportunities that are available to them should they look for them. In addition, there are a lot of obstacles in the way for people of color and people who make less money. This situation is not an accident, as it was constructed years ago and has been upheld since through dog-whistle racism.
These threats need to be taken as seriously as the threats made on our country in the past. This is a threat against the safety of all people and we need to start having compassion for others for the sake of the continuance of our country.