There are many reasons why someone chooses the college or university they attend. In my case years ago it was a matter of convenience and cost. I know of others who choose a school because of a certain program they offer or the school offered them the best scholarship. Yet others attend a school purely for the reputation and prestige of attending a certain university and others attend the school their parents chose for them.
Regardless of the reason for their choice, students are expected to adhere to the school’s policies and rules. If they don’t like the way a college or university operates, then they should find a school they like better to attend.
However, that’s not what’s happening at Oberlin College in Ohio. Instead, a number of black students have banned together to make demands of the college that are completely unreasonable and totally racist. Members of the Oberlin Black Student Union, known on campus as ABUSUA, presented university officials with a 14-page document filled with complaints and demands including:
“…specific increases in black student enrollment, an increase in black administrators in seven departments, ‘race consciousness,’ free housing on breaks for new black international students, black student orientation, black student financial aid workshops, four buildings renamed, more grants for black students, special spaces for black students, an extreme home makeover of the ‘Afrikan Heritage House,’ eight professors fired and numerous others promoted, among other things.”
If you think that’s outrageous, wait till you see how the document concluded with ‘these are demands and not suggestions’ and then followed up with ‘If these demands are not taken seriously, immediate action from the Africana community will follow.’
Oh really? I know if I was presdient at Oberlin I would toss the demands in the trash can and start drawing up a list of students to be expelled from the college on the basis of making unwarranted threats.
Marvin Krislov, President of Oberlin College has more patience than I have. He posted his reply to the demands on the college website. In his reply, he wrote:
“I hear the frustration and the desire for change at Oberlin contained in the document which echoes national themes and concerns about racism and justice. Oberlin College and Conservatory are deeply committed to addressing these concerns, and to ensuring an inclusive and equitable educational experience for our students…”
“Some of the challenges outlined in the document resonate with me and many members of our community, including our trustees. However, some of the solutions it proposes are deeply troubling. I will not respond directly to any document that explicitly rejects the notion of collaborative engagement. Many of its demands contravene principles of shared governance. And it contains personal attacks on a number of faculty and staff members who are dedicated and valued members of this community…”
“Racism and all forms of injustice hinder us from achieving our mission and must be challenged by the College wherever they undermine our goals for academic, artistic and musical excellence.”
The racist demands made by the black students aren’t setting well with alumni and others. One alum, Fiona Hughes responded by saying:
“Common sense based on any human experience should dictate that demanding respect leads to a lack of respect in those from whom it is demanded. It does not require a degree from any school to comprehend the silliness of these students’ attack, 14 pages of nonsense is hard to take seriously, and President Krislov is very kind not to laugh it off.”
Jane Coryell commented:
“I am heartsick at hearing about these demands. Martin Luther King would also be heartsick. These students want to be judged on the color of their skin, not on their character. I am so grateful that I attended Oberlin in the ’50s. I loved Oberlin for its variety of students who all mingled together. I had black and white, Christian and Jewish friends. We’re all humans under the skin, and we belong together, not in separate groups.”
Coryell makes a great point in that we are all the same under the skin. But it seems that it’s blacks that are trying to make everything about race. Some blacks are boycotting the Academy Awards because no blacks were nominated for best actor/actress. In a number of facets of life, blacks complain that there aren’t enough blacks in certain positions and some even want Affirmative Action brought back which would force companies and schools to hire and recruite a certain percentage of blacks and other minorities.
Have you ever noticed that it’s perfectly ok to have black colleges and universities but not white ones? Have you ever noticed that it’s okay to have a black history month, black entertainment channel and black organizations like the NAACP but it’s racist for whites to do the same? Congress has the Black Caucus but a White Caucus would be racist and not allowed.
There is definitely a separation of skin-colored ethnic groups in America and for the most part it’s because of racist blacks who have perpetuated the separation. For example, take Al Sharpton. He is the president of the civil rights organization National Action Network. If you visit his website on the About page, it states:
“National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender.” [Emphasis mine]
Yet when have you ever seen Sharpton show up to protest when a white person is victimized by a black person or when a black person is victimized by another black person? I can’t recall any, but there are numerous times he shows up and makes a non-racist action into a racist one just because a white person did something to a black person even if it was fully justified.
The best example I can think that is still fresh in everyone’s mind is Ferguson, Missouri. Sharpton was screaming racism before the facts were known. Even after it was proven that Michael Brown was physically assaulting Officer Darren Wilson, shattering his eye socket, Sharpton was still hollering racism. The facts didn’t matter nor did the life of Officer Wilson. Instead Sharpton sided with a black teen who had just robbed a convenience store, assaulted the clerk, then refused to comply with a law enforcement officer and then physically beat the officer and tried to grab the officer’s gun, all because of the color of their skin.
If blacks, including the students at Oberlin College, really want to do something to reduce racism in America, they need to start with their own racist attitudes instead of projecting them on others. A wise person told me long ago that you should never try to force someone else to change without first examining and changing yourself. This principle works with racism and many other facets in life including marriage. If you go into a marriage thinking you can change your spouse, your marriage will probably be very rocky and short-lived. But if you go into a marriage realizing that you need to make changes in yourself for the sake of your spouse, your marriage will be much happier and most likely long lived. The same is true in fixing things like racist attitudes.
Change starts within, not without. The black students at Oberlin need to look at themselves in the mirror first before they look out the window at others.