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BSU Launches “I, Too, Am a Saint,” Highlights Racial Microagressions

"You don't look or act like other black people. You sound white."

“You don’t look or act like other black people. You sound white.” Photo: http://ec-bsu2015.tumblr.com/

It’s been a tense year for racial America. Amid the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, racial tensions are boiling. Earlier this year, a campaign was launched by Harvard students called “I, Too, Am Harvard” in order to demonstrate their feelings of alienation and frustration with their college communities. The project served as a means to give the black students on campus a voice.

On December 1st, Emmanuel’s Black Student Union decided to follow suit, setting up their own blog, entitled  “I, Too, Am A Saint.” Started by the Black Student Union (BSU), this chapter of the movement hopes to give the black community a voice on campus.

“The project came about after seeing other colleges speaking out against the racial injustices at their institutions like Harvard, Univeristy of Michigan, Occidental College, and many others all over the nation” says Adebukola Ajao ’16, president of the BSU.

There is this climate of silence at EC on racial issues that is quite disturbing and students need to be more active in sharing their experiences.”

Some of the current injustices and racial remarks highlighted by the people focused on the blog: “Would it offend you if I called you a monkey?” and “I totally understand the black struggle. I’m poor too.”

Despite the fact that the blog dropped suddenly, it has been given careful thought and planning by the BSU.

“This is something we have been working on for the whole semester and something students have been battling with ever since minority students stepped foot on this campus,” says Ajao.

We talked about it at one of our meetings and the next meeting we just took action. It was A LOT of work but the work is never done. Thanks to social media we can continue to add more photos to the page for the rest of the year and hopefully other multicultural programs will join.”

Ajao hopes that the campaign will go viral, as it did with Harvard. Ajao attended a play based on the movement and claimed it also inspired her drive at Emmanuel.

Yes, I actually participated in the Blacktivism Conference at Harvard in October and watched the play. It was amazing and right on point,” says Ajao. “We are absolutely working on bigger projects, maybe not a play, but definitely something that is bigger than ourselves, bigger than Emmanuel.”

Seth Garcia is a Staff writer for The Hub. You can reach him at garcias@emmanuel.edu.

Posted by on December 3, 2014. Filed under Around Campus,Clubs & Organizations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to BSU Launches “I, Too, Am a Saint,” Highlights Racial Microagressions

  1. George

    December 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    It is great to bring light to the cultural problem of racism. There is the issue of misinterpretation which must also be recognized. Personally, the color of skin is not of my concern. I am of the opinion that only the mind matters – the body has very little influence on my opinions in regards to self identifying groups of people and their rights – I view humans as equal. This extends to many other topics outside of skin tone. Although I do not hold the distinctions many others do in fact hold I am obligated to voice my opinion because I believe it to be correct. Take it or leave it.

    Black lives matter. So do all other lives regardless of culture, skin, or gender variances. Now hear me out, I am not belittling any group of identifiers. Instead, I am trying to pry open the window for the Big Picture to be observed.The progress is slow and difficult to illustrate this equality to all sects of people, as we are separated by varying levels of education, background, language, and cultural habits. I would love to see the world interact on a logical basis. Realistically this will take a long time to pass. Starting with Emmanuel, as BSU (Black Student Union) is, we should remember that experience does in fact separate from armchair theorists. The above pictures with people holding a whiteboard clearly depicts this. Some people will never experience, or even recognize, that they are being targeted because of a separating characteristic, trait, or belief pertaining to themselves and not necessarily by the target-er.

    Let us not confuse the topic at hand, though. After examining some of these photographs there are unanswered questions that have been risen in my mind. The most obvious, that many other readers may have dancing around their thoughts, is that misinterpretation of comments is toxic in nature. It can create problems out of adulterated communication and further the negative consequences that are being experienced. I suppose the article may be pointing this very perspective out to the reader.

    What I am getting to, is that this societal problem of racism must be identified on all fronts. Many of these quotes on the whiteboard may not have been thought of by the speaker as they guided the readers to interpret. The separation must be distinct: there is racism and there is benightedness, or ignorance.

    The inability to put oneself in another’s shoes is a possible circumstance that leads the speakers of these quotes to not fully comprehend the insulting interpretation that this article leads the readers to believe was firstly held by said speaker. This error in communication may not be a product of total ignorance. Lack of education is to point at as well. Some of these speakers may come from cultures alien to that of the whiteboard holders, thusly not holding the same knowledge or understanding. While the comments may be understood by the target-ed to be insulting, demeaning, belittling, racist, or whatever other descriptive words you so choose to be appropriate, it is certainly possible, and largely ignored by this publicized article, that the intentions of the speaker of quotes may not have been heard as intended.

    It is clear that some of these racist comments were purposeful. But, we must examine the fact that we do not know the intentions of every speaker. Therefore, public and direct education is a must in order to clear the salty air. I feel it is the duty and obligation of these sign holders to go to the people they have interacted with that has brought about pain based on characteristics or traits of themselves and educate the uneducated on their ignorance and explain to them that they came off as insulting in some way, shape, or form.

    Only by fully understanding the topic, which I humbly claim I do not, will progress be made. I simply offer varying perspectives on the topic at hand, and stress that we should, as a persons, fully understand the implications and complex nature of societal difficulties as professed. This is not a simple point and observe conversation. It is a delicate and difficult adventure of the melancholy type.

    ~George Conundrum