Racism exists beyond controversy

MarchaŠ Grair

This semester at Kent State was one of the most racially charged in recent history.

There was serious vandalism to a university sign that had the n-word written on it. A rumor spread like wildfire that someone hung a noose in a faculty member’s office. Daily Kent Stater columnist Beth Rankin and the largest black presence on campus, Black United Students, sparked a heated debate about racism that lasted much of this semester.

Even though I am the only black columnist, I did not write one column solely addressing issues on race this semester.

That decision did not bother me until I was at work a few weeks ago.

I work in a local clothes store, and while I was putting clothes away, I overheard an unsettling conversation.

A girl was telling her friend how she transferred to Akron because she could not believe the racial tension at Kent State. She gave inaccurate accounts of the vandalism and noose stories. She proceeded to say the president of BUS said the group did not like white people, and she said BUS did not want help from white students.

She did not even know that the president of BUS is a female.

This story seems to be a trivial testament to people who choose to be uninformed, but it is so much more.

During the fall semester, I served on the editorial board for the Stater. We hosted an event in conjunction with the KSU-NAACP for people to come and discuss issues they had with racism on campus.

Other than the editorial board and KSU-NAACP officers, there were about 15 people in attendance.

After the rumors about the noose spread and BUS called an emergency meeting, the room filled so quickly that people could not find anywhere to sit.

The girl I overheard at my job and the difference between the two meetings prove the same sentiment.

People do not care about racism.

They only care about controversy.

The girl in the store that day probably never read a Stater to know what was happening. She probably never went to a BUS meeting in her life. She was still willing to change her college education because of misinformation.

Likewise, the people who ran to the BUS meeting but skipped the KSU-NAACP forum cared more about a rumor than they did about the racial tension at Kent that persists on a day-to-day basis.

I cannot believe that the human mind can only spark when it ignites with controversy, but no one seems to address racism unless controversy precedes it.

There did not have to be a Jena 6 to realize justice in America has a hue. Beth Rankin did not have to write a column for BUS to realize its alienation from the outside community. A noose did not have to hang before people realized black students are sometimes intimidated at a predominately white university.

People wonder why the Stater always talks about starting dialogue about race.

Dialogue should exist about race in peace and in chaos. It is an everlasting problem that can only be solved with our further understanding of one another.

MarchaŠ Grair is a sophomore electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].