The racist acts, hate speech, apologetic emails: it’s nothing the community of EMU hasn’t seen before. The outrage, rallying, and protesting all seems to fade within a week until the next incident happens. The amount of hate speech and blatant racism that occurs on campus is something that is becoming normalized. This is something that minority groups on campus have been battling for years and still continue to do so.
A black doll was found hanging from a noose in the shared bathroom of a resident advisor on Feb.11. Two days later, a resident of Best Hall admitted to hanging the doll. A guest in the room of the incident claimed it was a prank with no deeper meaning or racist purpose. However, apologizing and denying malicious intent doesn’t wipe away the effect this display took on black students who not only who live in Best Hall, but also attend this school.
Dr. James Smith, the president of Eastern Michigan University, updated students twice via email. The first email was a brief description of the situation. The second email, which was more of an apology for the careless tone of the first, was an update on the investigation process, as well as an apology and EMU’s overall morals and attitudes about racism on campus.
Students have been very vocal about the occurrence through social media and public protest. On Feb. 12, EMU students together in front of Best Hall to demand that consequences are faced for the racist display. Unfortunately, it all has a looming sense of familiarity as racism seemingly continues to thrive through this campus.
Hateful graffiti on the freedom wall can be traced back as far as October 2016, when a racial slur and threat was discovered on the wall.
Though it is promising to see the student body unite and stand up for one another, you can’t help but feel deja vu. Uproar occurs immediately after the initial incident, it phases out of the public eye and then, in a few months, something else is going to happen. The cycle continues.
We see it so often that students, especially who aren’t directly attacked, become desensitized to it and lose the initial shock because it isn’t a surprise anymore. No one should have to get adjusted or used to something as serious and detrimental as racism.
This continued trend brings random periods of fear, followed by a lack of justice to the targeted groups. It makes it easy to lose one’s sense of belonging and safety in a place that is supposed to be home.
The recurrence of hate speech is what continues to make it normalized in the community. It prohibits people outside the targeted group to grasp the weight of the situation and leads others to believe it’s acceptable.
His of minority groups and policies protecting them is what grants his followers and other citizens permission to do the same. His legacy and foundation have been built by . The ripple effect of his actions is what is leading to a normalization of hate speech.
It reaches everyone, even integrating itself amongst a richly diverse community like EMU. More consequences need to occur, more needs to be done to put an end to this pattern and create a safe, welcoming space for marginalized students.
Hate speech and racist displays will not stop until everyone begins to understand the severity and the effects on targeted groups. The incident of the hanging doll is not the first of its kind and isn’t something that should go unnoticed. Students need to continue fighting the normalization of prejudice by not getting used to or desensitized to these events, no matter how often they occur.
We also need to stand up for the minorities on campus, especially if the staff and authority are doing so little. Speak your truth, join the protest, unite together. Lastly, students need to learn their actions have consequences and a prank isn’t a justification for racism.
Spreading fear and hate are what will continue to divide us instead of promoting unity. EMU is very lucky to have a diverse student body and that should be celebrated, not torn apart.