When I was a college student way, way back at the turn of the century, my university decided to put some effort into getting more students of color into our school. There were some students already present who made noises about how this affirmative action plan was racist, and unfair to white people, and yadda yadda and so forth, because of course they did. The administration held an open meeting to discuss how this plan would be implemented, and it was extremely well-attended and I still think the meeting was handled very capably by the grown-ups in charge.
There was this one moment, when a professor was taking questions—I’m sure he was a good professor, I believe he had all the best intentions, and his daughter was a friend of mine at the time—and I raised my pale freckled hand, and asked how the administration planned to deal with racism on campus, going forward.
That professor didn’t seem to have any answers for that question. He had the most stunning “not expecting to talk about THAT” reaction, and he started dithering quite helplessly about how we’ll all just have to do our best, or something. He was totally caught with his pants down. Our university president may have had better ideas on that subject, but the university president was not the one fielding those questions at the time.
I haven’t heard much about my alma mater struggling with racist issues since I graduated, but it seems that other universities have similar “not the foggiest notion” attitudes toward handling campus racism, a good fifteen years later.
Here are some decent Tweets on the subject. The hashtag #Mizzou is covered in white supremacist and racism-apologist bullshit, but there is some valuable discussion still happening.
(Notice the spray paint? It’s covering the word “Black”.)