How to be #BlackonCampus at #Mizzou

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.

However.

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”.)

#BlackLivesMatter more than white folks’ fear of not being the center of attention.

Ah, this. Look at this. Why does anyone think this shit is okay? This ridiculous nonsense happened in Ottawa:

According to Colorlines.com, a #BlackLivesMatter mural was created by the rights group BlakCollectiv for TechWall, an area designated for graffiti and street art. It was completed by a group of 40 people including artists Allan André and Kalkidan Assefa on the morning of July 22.

The fact that the TechWall mural read #BlackLivesMatter reportedly angered white graffiti artists, who converged on the area and within hours had defaced the mural. By the end of the day, it had been completely painted over and replaced by the phrase “Wu-Tang is for the children,” a reference to 90s hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan.

In response, André and Assefa painted the Sandra Bland mural, which was defaced on Monday night.

They defaced the Sandra Bland mural with the words “All Lives Matter.”

See my photo up top? See that woman pictured on this blog? I’m white. I’m unambiguously, glow-in-the-dark, WASP-bred paleness. If you look directly at my bare legs on a sunny day, you might suffer retinal damage. I am a Pumpkin Spice Latte topped with kale-infused quinoa foam. I once typed out a status having to do with walking out to Union Station because I was feeling adventurous after Sunday brunch, and I ACTUALLY POSTED THAT SHIT ON FACEBOOK. Okay? Just in case anyone’s wondering what from what angle I’m approaching the discourse on race.

And I KNOW my life matters. I know it because nobody in a position of any power ever manages to do anything to imply that I need to audition for the right not to be killed. You say we all bleed red when we’re cut, but nobody in the #BlackLivesMatter movement is disputing that! Of course we all bleed red! But whose blood is running in the streets? We’re seeing entirely too much blood spilled from black bodies for no good reason. That’s why the motto is #BlackLivesMatter. “All lives” are not being cut down at comparable rates. Whining about “all lives” makes about as much sense as asking why no one ever remarks about the fact that we’re breathing air.