Michigan State University has had numerous racist incidents on the school’s campus, which seemingly led to members of the Black Student Alliance attending an event during their “Black Revolt Week,” which was put in place to question the university’s president about the racism on campus. However, the event quickly became another racist incident targeting the Black students at Michigan State.
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When Black students began asking questions at the event, racist comments began to appear on the event’s platform, Slido, which is a “Q&A and polling platform for meetings and events” that offers “interactive Q&A, live polls and insights about your audience” according to the site.
“Go study. Y’all got those mid terms coming up. Go work on that black retention rate so pres. Stan can focus on posting those results,” one comment said.
Another comment said, “Pres Stanley can’t do nothing ! Racist will always be racist. Negros is freedom of speech. Nobody uses nooses no more that’s why we have our officers.”
BSA President Sharron Reed-Davis said the racist comments appeared throughout the entire event. “The worst part about it is that this was going on throughout the entire event. And they stopped at the end of the event to say that it wouldn’t be tolerated, but if it really wasn’t tolerated, why didn’t you stop as soon as it happened?” Reed-Davis said.
Michigan State’s President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said he was unaware of the racist questions that appeared during the event because he received them via text from the Associated Students of Michigan State University’s president. “It’s very disappointing to me. They know they’re obviously inappropriate and hurtful. And I think it tells me that if we do this again, we’re gonna have to find to have to find a mechanism where people aren’t hiding behind anonymity to say hurtful comments,” Stanley said.
Leslie Morales, who attended the event, said she was one of the people who showed President Stanley the screenshots of the racist comments. She also emphasized the need for the university to enforce diversity and inclusion training, questioning why students of color have to be the ones responsible for pointing out racism on campus.
“We’re at MSU, this is a place of inclusion right?” Morales said. “Why did it have to be me, the person of color to say something. Why? Because there’s no training.”
ASMSU addressed the incident, acknowledging they should not have allowed for the comments to be displayed throughout the event and should have stopped them immediately. “While the moderator was unable to physically see the racist comments real-time, he was able to address the comments at the end of this event. We should have addressed this immediately, we allowed it to continue by waiting until the end of the event. ASMSU takes full accountability for not fully protecting black students. No student, regardless of their identity should feel unsafe on this campus,” the statement said.
This, however, is not the first racist attack on Black students at Michigan State.
Earlier this month, the Metro Times reported that the university faced backlash after displaying Black dolls hanging from a wooden tree display at a gift shop.
Paule-Equality Jackson, a student at the university, and her friends saw the racist display and shared a photo of it on Facebook. She explained that she was ignored by the cashier when she inquired about the display.
MSU later issued an apology and stated that the bookstore employees and volunteers would receive racial bias training. “As we enter Black History Month, it’s important we not only recognize the many contributions of African Americans, but we remember history and confront all bias,” the statement added.
In October, an associate professor of public relations and social media at Michigan State University sent a survey to his students asking them to rate statements that had been taken from social media by rating how “stereotypical, funny, offensive, positive or prejudiced the comments were as part of a study testing how people respond to racist online speech,” according to USA Today.
Students said that the statements were offensive and racist, targeting Black people, as well as Asians, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community. The survey warned that the statements were “racially offensive.”
The professor was not fired.
Days prior, a Black student reported that a noose made from toilet paper was taped to the door of her dorm room.
Oh, to be a Black student in America.
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