Racial separation in 2010? Lame

Anastasia Spytsya

Ever since my freshman year at Kent State, one issue has been bothering me. It is something that most people refuse to talk about so they don’t sound “wrong.” It is a taboo on this campus. It is a race-relation issue.

I remember when I walked in the Hub four years ago, I asked myself, “What is going on?” I couldn’t answer why there was a black corner and why there was a white one. I did not understand why there was a clear separation line between the two races. Unfortunately, there has not been much progress to change it.

I have been trying to figure out what’s up with it ever since. And at least one on-campus organization that I know of has been trying to do the same: Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically black fraternity. We both see a problem, want to solve it, want to step out and to change an ignorant situation on campus. We sat down and discussed our thoughts that we’d like to share with you.

Where does it all begin? Where are the roots of the problem?

The problem is within whites and blacks. As Jabari Dorsey, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, said, “It’s not racism. It is the comfort zone that both races refuse to step out of.” Our background has led us to an inconvenient situation. While there are some students who spent their childhood with people of the opposite skin color, many grew up with our own race. We created a comfort zone in our minds that makes us think that unity can only be reached in our own race.

Joe Saunders, another member of the fraternity, said, “Before coming to Kent State, we did not have an opportunity to meet other ethnicities and learn about them,” which he said led them to the assumption that the separation is normal. It isn’t. Our mind is governed by prejudices, pride and ignorance.

As much as I hate to admit, females cause more drama than males. Young women of both races make a big deal out of nothing. So what if he’s dating a woman outside of his race? No one is stealing him from you. He just happened to find chemistry with a girl of a different color. A girl cannot force a man to dislike her because of her skin color.

When it comes to actually having open talks about separation, both races blame each other. Our goal is, as Saunders said, “to prove the other wrong.” Our fundamental problem is that we refuse to understand each other. We create an unneeded issue that is so easy to solve. Ever ask yourself, “Why am I not friends with a person of an opposite color?”

Many students do not even notice they live in an extremely diverse community because they are stuck in their comfort zone. We have a fear of stepping outside of this zone — a problem in our small college community. Stepping outside of the comfort zone will lead to breaking habits, bias and standards. And this is something that will lead to a temporary discomfort. The key word is “temporary.”

College experience is a ticket to adulthood. “In college, we are supposed to prepare ourselves for the real world. And in the real world you will have to be able to interact with all ethnicities,” Dorsey said. At Kent State we are given such an amazing opportunity to learn about everyone.

We are not even trying to be individuals anymore. All we are doing, as Saunders said, is “trying to fit into our own ethnicity’s norms.” We don’t talk about any solution, we refuse to see separateness. We blind ourselves. We think the “now” is acceptable.

Kappa Alpha Psi and I believe that a lot of our views are ruled by history. While it is extremely important to know what has caused this issue, we can also use it as a tool to overcome prejudices. We need to start thinking “post-segregation.” All of us, I would hope, know the horrific realities of the past. The aftermath of this invisible enemy is devastating, but we want to believe that our generation is not ignorant enough to keep the ball rolling. As for now, the reality is proving us wrong.

All student organizations are concerned to unify within their own kind. But where is a program to unify Kent State students of all ethnicities? We will leave this question to Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Kappas and I agreed Kent State students simply cannot afford to have this issue anymore. Back in the day, our government was the problem. Now it is our problem that the government cannot change. The solution lies within us.

Our grandparents and parents fought racial prejudices literally to death so we don’t have to face it. I refuse to believe that we will not take this opportunity to move forward as “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Anastasia Spytsya is a senior Russian translation major and political science minor and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].