Race Baiting on Campus: Does It Ever Stop?

Whether you’re a foreigner or American, you’ve encountered some form of racial stereotyping or have witnessed it.

You’ve either been a victim of it, or you’ve dished it.

Students protesting about racism in Mizzou. (Max Goldberg/Flickr)

Racial stereotyping is a growing issue on college campuses in the U.S., as well as overseas. A key contributor is social platforms, like Yik Yak, and that campus authorities do little to respond to it. Many students feel that racial hate-crimes are reaching an epidemic on campus.

After #Election2016, racism is on the rise, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Stereotyping and hate-crimes are increasing on college and high school campuses. Incidents have risen to over 700 since November 8, Election Night.

At the University of Pennsylvania, GroupMe users added African-American students to chats calling for lynchings. They included racist photos and phrases.

HuffPost Live contributor Sam White compiled the social media responses of African-American freshmen at UPenn who expressed their concerns. He posted it on Facebook.

The university handbook clearly states that it is the students responsibility to:

“… respect the health and safety of others. This precludes acts or threats of physical violence against another person…The University condemns hate speech, epithets, and racial, ethnic, sexual and religious slurs…Student speech may be subject to discipline when it violates applicable laws or University regulations or policies.

Authorities at UPenn reported that the GroupMe account was owned by a prospective student who instead enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. As of November 11, UPenn’s IT was working to locate the origin of the account. They identified one student who contributed racist posts from Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma.

As of November 15, the UO student was no longer enrolled at the school. The TCC student was placed on “interim academic probation,” according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Their identities have not been released.

The Daily Pennsylvanian also reported that Microsoft, GroupMe’s parent company, suspended accounts and launched an investigation of their own.

I posed the question on Facebook to several college students in the U.S. and overseas: “What is your take on racial stereotyping? Have you caught yourself in the middle of a situation?”

One said social media was a key player in increased racism and stereotyping in their college community.

She described the bar crawl scene in London — where she goes to school — where college students go from one pub to another. There are two significant bar crawls: BarFest and Bonkers. Each have a target demographic: BarFest is primarily African-American students and is promoted through the African-American students on campus. The other bar crawl attracts white students and is promoted by the university and clubs.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-2-54-32-pmAt the center of the Bar Crawl promotion is Yik Yak. When first launched, Yik Yak allowed anonymity. Event promoters refered to African-American students as “monkeys.”

Like England, students attending the University of Johannesburg and Kingsway in South Africa are experiencing race-related hate crimes after apartheid.  Apartheid is the separation of people by race, religion, and political views. In 2008, at the University of The Free State, a racially driven video, made by two students, that showed employees on their knees eating food which had been urinated on, went viral. University officials immediately took action and punished the students. 

In an interview conducted by RelativityOnLine, a student at one of the universities said that black students are so often attacked by white students in bars or dorms that it’s almost normal

On its About Us page, RelativityOnLine says it “seeks to promote global citizenry through the respect, awareness, and recognition of individual perspective. Specificity over stereotypes, tolerance over dogmatism, and justice over bigotry.”

But, white South African students are also racially profiled. In ROL’s article a student is quoted saying, “White students were being overlooked in favor of poorly achieving black students in the awarding of bursaries.” (Bursary being scholarships.)

Now back to the States.

At American University (AU) in Washington D.C. recently, female African-American students were the targets of racial taunts. Two AU students left a rotten banana at the door of an African-American female’s dorm. And they drew an offensive image on the dry-erase board on her door.

That same night, two other African-American students were pelted with bananas. In an article by the Washington Post, they noted that racism is a recurring issue on campuses such as AU. Students are victims of it, and students protest and call for the school to acknowledge the concern. But many schools are slow to act against it.

In 2015, Theroot.com documented racism at AU sparked by Yik Yak. The small percentage of African-American students on campus were targeted by racist posts on the social app.

Students pelted by bananas. Being told to “go back to Africa” and being called “monkeys.” To international students, from the outside looking in, what is your take on this? 

Youtuber and spoken word artist Humble the Poet says he believes that “racism is more of an obstacle, instead of a reason.”

Our source in London says African-American hair is another issue and path of discrimination. She recalls that “a girl, went for a job — got the job — and at the job she was told she could not work, because of her hair,” which she wore in neat locs. Locs, or dreadlocks, describes braids and twists of hair.

Likewise, young women and men who wear religious head pieces often are racially profiled because of it.

Racism and stereotyping are two issues that will never go away, especially on college campuses. Many students enter college with the assumption that they will be with people just like them, and overlook the diversity of their campus. For example, 6.2 percent of American University students are African America, compared to the 55 percent that are white or the 6.4 percent who are Asian.

via American Institute for Research
via American Institute for Research

Non-white or students of other racial backgrounds have also been profiled. Statistics presented by the American Institute of Research (AIR), states that 46 percent of hate crimes on college campuses are race related.

Likewise, many Asian students show hesitance to interact with those out of their group, particularly blacks, Indians and typically anyone “darker than them,” which influences their mindsets as they enter university. As someone who attends a school with a large amount of Asian/non-American students, I have witnessed much of their hesitance to interact with many of the non-Asian students.

But that’s a story for another blog.

Featured video courtesy of Humble The Poet

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Arnella Sandy

31 comments

  1. Without divine intervention, human beings will continue to judge others based on appearance rather than character. It is part of our fallen condition, our inability to recognize that we are not God and that we have no right to judge anyone. No amount of diversity training, no human laws, and no race discussions will change the fundamental fact that, apart from God, we can do nothing to stop the hateful rhetoric and disgusting behavior described in this article. Those who claim otherwise are deluding themselves.

  2. Of course not. Most college students are stupid, shallow, and like to shoot off their mouths, verbally or in writing.

    Get used to it, because out there in the real world, people are allowed to say what they think.

  3. Apartheid (South African English: /əˈpɑːrteɪd/; Afrikaans pronunciation: [ɐˈparthɛit]) was a system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa between 1948 and 1991, when it was abolished.[1] The country’s first multiracial elections under a universal franchise were held three years later in 1994.[2] Broadly speaking, apartheid was delineated into petty apartheid, which entailed the segregation of public facilities and social events, and grand apartheid, which dictated housing and employment opportunities by race.[3] Prior to the 1940s, some vestiges of apartheid had already emerged in the form of minority rule by white South Africans and the socially enforced separation of black South Africans from other races, which later extended to pass laws and land apportionment.[4][5] Apartheid as a policy was embraced by the South African government shortly after the ascension of the National Party during the country’s 1948 general elections.[6] Apartheid was also enforced in South West Africa until it gained independence as Namibia in 1990.[7]

  4. If the author is so narrow minded to think that the rest of the world (of adults) operates with the same childish antics of high school or university students, then she indeed needs to grow up, too. College is far from the “real” world. High School, even farther.

    And I couldn’t agree more with the overwhelming number of respondents who can clearly see that the more the entire white race is branded as racists, the less shock effect it has. That groups like BLM have done more to hurt race relations than fix them. And as long as the Black community refuses to turn a blind eye to the mess in their own house (700+ murders in Chicago this year alone – over 3000 since Obama has been in office), why would the white community have any reason to feel the need to cater to the constant cries of BLM. It is a classic case of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. And as other posters have mentioned, (and it has been proven) much of this is made to look like Pro-Trump, white supremacist rhetoric is actually being done by either Liberals trying to push their political agenda, or simply by immature punks.

  5. WARNING!!! Reprogram your minds for love and understanding of one-another. I tell you this; hatred is NOT the way, and if you think so continue on this path of hate, you are in for a rude awaking. Listen, it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile, complain than to laugh. People learn to hate, when naturally we were born into this world to love!

  6. Arent we all a bit tired of the false accusations of “Discrimination”? The more false accusations are made, the more discrimination is created.

  7. Alleging that white people are ”racist” (whether they are or not) has become so over-used that it means nothing anymore other than being a really good way to start an argument or a fight. Until blacks are willing to allow a dialogue that does not hold out all white people as being inherently and irrevocably ”racist” , there will be no resolution. There are good folks on either side of the issue, but holding the conversation captive, much as radical groups like Black Lives Matter have, will result in no progress for anyone. President Obama had plenty of opportunity (8 years) to do as he preached (facilitate discussion and unity), but he never did, acting most frequently by fiat that served only to encourage division.

  8. Am I missing something, or did the author mess up? Is there really a group in London, UK for African-American students? Just how many African-American students are in London?

  9. Am I missing something, or is there really a group in London for African-American students? Just how many are there? I’m guessing African-Americans in London aren’t that big a group.

  10. U need to lose the seething hatred in YOUR heart girl! The ONLY reason u see so much “racism” is because u base your perceptions on what u want to see. If u want to find racism everywhere u look, u can easily interpret neutral behavior in many different ways. There is far more variance within groups than between groups – if u look for harmony you will find it. Change your perception, change your outlook, change your life. It’s really that simple…

    1. Ric — I really resonate with what you say here, but as a practicing therapist, I’ve learned that it isn’t so easy to just flip your ingrained attitudes and “get real”, regardless of how obviously inappropriate they may seem. An entire history of imprints and indoctrination must be at least somewhat dismantled in order for some people to be able to peer through the aggregate of early training to see the reality right in front of their noses. The answer has to be at home, teaching parents that children need love more than “training.” Some parenting classes have had amazing results, but it’s slow and laborious. Of course, millennia of traditional thinking is not going to be an easy tide to turn, so, for right now, it’s slogging through the old axiom that “the wheels of progress turn slowly.” I just hope we can make some significant difference before we forfeit the world we live in and on.

  11. Race relations are worse than in 1966. I personally carry a loaded MP Shield 9mm or a Ruger LCP pocket pistol with a spare magazine even to go to the mall or restaurants. I do this against Black Thugs.

    All my older white friends carry concealed pistols. They wont hesitate and do not have a “duty to retreat”
    To all the black racists out there…… think about it! I taught my two daughters, my granddaughter to shoot and how to carry concealed. Again, Black Thugs beware its a changed world due to White Backlash. We are coming now after the federal freebies you get. Suggest you stop smoking weed, straighten up and get a JOB! LOL

  12. I fear that 8 years with Obama as President has brought this issue back to the forefront. I think it’s odd that there seems to be reporting of only white students belittling blacks, when I’ve witnessed the reverse myself many times on a particular high school campus. One thing I do know, until both sides put their prejudices aside and make a true effort to understand one another, this issue will never be resolved. Dr. King, we could sure use your wisdom at this point.

    1. C. Well said. Many years ago Jesse Jackson spoke at the U of Md. and I was one of a few white students who attended. Among other hateful references, Jackson said, “to my black brothers; buy a gun, dig a hole and hide it”. He went on to say that the black “community” will eventually rise up and go to war with the whites. That was considered freedom of speech??

  13. Would you not take that as an opportunity to post replies that let them know that stupid childish games of propaganda will not intimidate or enrage you to the point of not being able to function in society for even a few hours girl you need to be much stronger and show these people that petty crap like that will not affect you period.

  14. So where does the college campus narrative that “all whites are racist” fit into this little respect scenario?

    Oh, that’s right, that kind of bigotry is approved and sanctioned.

    I’d say most of these alleged incidents are either hoaxes by the social justice warriors in order to “prove” that racism exists and to justify their own beliefs, or they are trollish responses to the endemic of hatred focused at white students for their “privilege” and “racism.” When people are called “racist” simply because of their skin color, don’t expect much love in return.

    1. The article doesn’t say that “all whites are racist”. It says that racism is inescapable for people of color.
      It doesn’t require universal racism by whites for blacks to universally experience racism.

      The example of the one non-University of Penn. student harassing all the black students shows that the percentage of people harassed does not indicate the percentage of others who are harassers. (BTW, how did that one student get the contact info for all the black students at U Penn)

      1. At a guess, these people were on another list that was publicly available.
        Something like the black students union or the like.

  15. What a bunch of one-sided nonsense. The real problem is not a few moron white kids or some giving into over reactions, but a steady stream of black racism. Demands for double down on racial quotas in admission and hiring and demands for entire departments for race and other studies and safe spaces, to do what, slur whites in safety.

    Minority groups uniting to work against the interests of whites and conservatives and Christians and now even Jews. That is the main problem, a demand that only one type of thought be allowed, that only type of speaker be allowed, that standards of excellence be dropped to allow good old fashioned racist standards, only this time directed at so called majority students.

    At one prominent university these type demands and made and accusations of racial intolerance and yet the place had a black student body president. Obviously a place where a climate of anti-black feeling exists could not have had such a person elected.

    1. I wonder how much of this stuff is made up by the true racist looking for attention. It is true that racism is at it’s worst since the 60’s in large part due to the Obama administration , Eric Holder and Lynch. When you promote the black version of the KKK and have them as POTUS guest at the white house just what do you expect. Here is a fact, there is more racism coming from the black community than anywhere else. Hopefully all this BS will go away after Trump takes office. The race crimes, attacks by blacks on whites do not get charged, and if they do it is not considered a hate crime. That is just wrong. Claiming that blacks are unfairly targeted by police is wrong also, fact is that around 65 present of ALL violent crime is done by 6/14 percent of the population, black men. Check the prison stats if you doubt me. According to the national prison population as a whole black men are responsible for 65 percent of all the violent crime. Something needs to change but it is not all white.

    1. As long as America insist on maintaining the false concept of the social experiment of Forced Desegregation there will violence. The US has continued to follow the principal of desegregation at any cost for over 50 years while the crime and violence rates have gone literally through the roof. Until America regains it’s sanity and reinstitutes segregation there will be blood.

      1. and yet you can go anywhere and do anything i do, no questions asked. Yet blacks are the ones who want all black areas..funny how that works.

    2. Apartheid (South African English: /əˈpɑːrteɪd/; Afrikaans pronunciation: [ɐˈparthɛit]) was a system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa between 1948 and 1991, when it was abolished.[1] The country’s first multiracial elections under a universal franchise were held three years later in 1994.[2] Broadly speaking, apartheid was delineated into petty apartheid, which entailed the segregation of public facilities and social events, and grand apartheid, which dictated housing and employment opportunities by race.[3] Prior to the 1940s, some vestiges of apartheid had already emerged in the form of minority rule by white South Africans and the socially enforced separation of black South Africans from other races, which later extended to pass laws and land apportionment.[4][5] Apartheid as a policy was embraced by the South African government shortly after the ascension of the National Party during the country’s 1948 general elections.[6] Apartheid was also enforced in South West Africa until it gained independence as Namibia in 1990.[7]

    3. My friend don’t let your words be the destruction of your well-being. Words are powerful and, if spoken will come to pass. “YOU” may not like the outcome, “YOU” nor the people of like-minds!

    4. Let’s do it. 6% of the US population is Black males. 2% are incarcerated. 2% are good hard working men. 2% are thug, drug dealers, pimps, run away Daddy’s and just plain dead beats. This “Race War will be over in weeks and America will be free.

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