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The Silent Issue that still Exist

Several incidents involving racial slurs towards African Americans have occurred in tower A of the residence towers the past few weeks.

“What’s the next thing? Where does it stop?” said Veronica Johnson, a member of the Black Student Union.

There have been a total of three specific incidents concerning racial slurs inside the Residence Towers. Each incident involved racial slurs written on the respective victim’s whiteboards. No specific date has been released for these happenings.

The first incident began with two students being unable to access the bathroom. The RA of the residence hall didn’t unlock the bathroom door. As a result of their frustration the two students got high, tore down the RA’s door decorations and wrote “sand monkey” and “nigger” on his whiteboard.

Staff members of the diversity center called these occurrences “Unacceptable”, “Troubling”, and “Unfortunate”.

Not long after the first occurrence, an article named “TU’s Diversity a Joke” had appeared. The article was written by the president of Brotherhood, Adam Jackson.

Article Link: TU’s Diversity a Joke

Jackson’s article begins by mentioning the first incident and proceeds to target the University’s seemingly non-proactive response to the situation. The article was less than welcomed by the students of Towson.

“People responded verbally violently,” said Deverick Murray, the president of the Black Student Union. “I feel every time it comes to race, people get scared.”

Negativity towards Adam’s article doesn’t represent everyone’s view towards it (the article).

Joan Maze, the director of African American student development, thought the article was well written. “He had every right to say it,” Maze said. “It was said in a way to gain attention.”

“He was voicing a perspective,” said Dr. Phyllis Freeman, the director of the women’s center. “The article promotes racism still exist. We should take responsibility to eradicate it (racism).”

Art King, the assistant vice president of student affairs for diversity, thought there was “nothing inappropriate” with the article. He said he would have suggested that Jackson clearly articulate his words.

“He’s not right or wrong, but the article created a bit of confusion.” King said.

Despite the mostly negative reactions to his article, Jackson continued to let his point be heard at several of the Student Government Association meetings. At the first of these meetings, Jackson expressed his feelings to the SGA members. No one responded except for the president of the SGA.

Afterwards, a week went by and nothing happened.

“I came to the next meeting and I was mad,” said Jackson. “Everyone in this room (SGA members) has been talking about me behind my back because people disagree with what I’m saying.”

Jackson attended the following SGA meeting and again received no response from the members. A young man that attended the same meeting asked Adam what if it had been an African American student that wrote the racial slur.

“I was like I don’t really know,” Jackson said. “You should be asking what made that person feel comfortable to even write that in the first place.”

Murray who witnessed the meeting said the senator (the young man) received a text from another senator. The senator looked up and mouthed the word “faggot” to Jackson.

All of these concerns and issues were brought up at the next Black Student Union meeting. As Jackson spoke at the meeting, he started to become emotional.

“If you go to people that are supposed to help and get called a fag, then I might as well be getting punched in the face.” Jackson said at the BSU meeting.

The meeting consisted of the leaders, mostly Murray, asking for BSU member’s opinions on the issues. Most comments were veered towards Towson University and its policies.

Throughout the meeting, the consensus of the comments was the University isn’t doing much to help. The BSU member’s beliefs of this matter were strengthened by the two other racial incidents involving residence tower A.

“The schools not reacting to it because I didn’t hear about it,” said Chaunece Hayman, a senior at Towson University. “I didn’t know so it’s (Towson University) not doing a good job (promoting awareness).”

Towson University, the diversity center in particular, quickly disproved the claims by taking action not long after these incidents.

“A lot is being done daily on campus,” said Freeman. “Students may not hear about it because it’s already handled.”

King, along with some others, went to the residence hall tower A to speak with the eighth, tenth, and eleventh floors to speak to the students about these incidents. He told the students to be vigilant and to take care of each other.

There have also been meetings about these incidents with Towson’s president to form strategies.

“I do feel like there’s stuff in place,” Jackson said. “I do feel they are trying to take action. The issue is why is it always kept so tightly together like it’s not happening.”

Even with the University taking action, the BSU has decided to take some of the matters into their own hands. At the Sept. 30 meeting committees were created to research and critique multiple areas of the universities policies and terms from Jackson’s article were thoroughly explained.

Safety is also a large concern shaded into these incidents.

“What if an African American student walked out during the incidents?” Freeman said. “The dorm where you live is like a sanctuary. Calm, comforting, and safe.”

Murray looked at the safety issue from another perspective. He said if we don’t show institutional support, then the students could start taking matters into their own hands.

“And you never want a student versus a student because that only equals fights,” Murray said. “And then we could have a race war.”

Incidents such as these are and will always be sensitive. Did Adam’s article make everyone happy? No. But, it did bring attention to an important issue that still lives within today’s society.

Examples are all over the internet. Go to Youtube and look at some of the comments people put.
Here’s a grand example. Check the comments and see how many times the “n” word is used.

Video Link: Detroit Lions Fan Goes Wild
[Note: The linked video was removed from Youtube. I assume it’s due to the comments people put]

Yes, it is possible that an African American could have posted the “n” word on this specific video, but that just makes things worse. The “n” word has become a term of endearment within some African American cultures. How can the word be good when an African American says it, but bad when someone else of another race says it? We’re all human beings aren’t we?

Will issues like these ever reach the point of non-existence? The most likely scenario: no. But realizing that things like this still exist and taking action is the first step to moving in the right direction.

“I think when you resolve an issue, it’s not like you quash it,” said Jackson. “It’s cool to walk around dead because you don’t have to confront anything, but coming alive in the world we live in is a very violent process.”



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