Opinion: KENTtalks Part 2

Marvin Logan is a senior Pan-African Studies major. Contact him at mlogan6@kent.edu.

Marvin Logan is a senior Pan-African Studies major. Contact him at [email protected]

Marvin Logan

Tuesday night, Kent State started the first of hopefully many talks on specific issues that face our community. Our first topic was race relations here on campus. I thought it was an insightful evening where many students shared their thoughts on how race impacted their experience on campus for the first time. There were so many students who shared that a lot of students didn’t have the opportunity. The program continued past the scheduled time. The fact that almost all stayed more than 90 minutes spoke volumes to the depth of the issue.

What I was most intrigued by was the lack of input white, Hispanic and Latino students gave. Race affects everyone whether they accept it or not. Their mere perspective is impactful. Just how they witness race and how they may interact with the concept of race matters.

I think it is necessary for the conversation to continue on the same platform and produce action items that build toward a better future in terms of race relations. In my time as a student, I have noticed that we don’t have a solid follow-up to these issues after we have conversations. It is valuable to allow students to share their experiences on a large platform and we must continue that effort. Though if we don’t create ways to change our culture as a university, we fail the students who suffered. We simply contribute to their pain and tears.

White kids, we need to hear from you too! No matter how someone may judge your response, it’s necessary for us to move forward in the process. Assistant Dean Emeritus E. Timothy Moore said it best: When was white not a color? A student shared that the first thing she experienced was guilt when she heard what her peers were going through. Though she felt like she didn’t directly contribute to the degradation of humanity that students have faced, her hesitation to act was an act just as guilty. We have to be able to work past the guilt to see where we fit in the puzzle of progress.

Latino students, it was finally a powerful motion to hear from you on the platform. We need to hear more. We care about your plight; it deserves to be shared. You deserve to shed your pain and frustration as well. Some don’t believe that we all suffer from something. You are proof that something altogether different is true. You must carve out a place in this community.

Kent State has a problem. We have a race problem. We have a gender problem. We have a sexual identity problem. We have an age problem. We have a general discrimination problem. I’m willing to bet we’ve all fed into it at some point. I’m also willing to bet the solution lies in each and every one of us. We have an opportunity to change the world. We can start by changing our own culture right here. Will you answer the bell? Always remember to challenge yourself, and each other.