College is demanding and stressful enough without the added trauma for black students of being shunned, disliked and hated because of the color of their skin.
Yet the problem continues and has even gotten worse with black students having to contend with the social media proliferation of so-called “White Student Unions” on Facebook. Dozens have emerged at universities throughout the country, The Kansas City Star reports.
At the University of Missouri-Columbia black student protests over racial tensions on campus led to the resignation of the MU system president and chancellor last month. But the problems are far from over. At MU there now is a Mizzou White Student Union on Facebook.
It’s just as bad if not worse than the incidents of the drive-by racism of whites, yelling racial slurs against black students and cotton balls being scattered outside the Black Culture Center at MU. The Southern Poverty Law Center thinks white supremacist groups are behind the creation of the White Student Union Facebook pages.
They serve only to increase racial tensions on college campuses and make students of color feel less welcomed, more embattled and less safe. That’s not good as colleges and universities head into finals week, when young adults on campus need to intensify their studies to do well on the tests and get good grades for the semester.
Instead of ensuring African American students’ success in college, the continued and amplified racial problems are a destructive distraction. Because students pay for the privilege to take classes toward getting diplomas, universities need to do more to counsel and support minority students faced with the intimidation that White Student Union groups pose.
Sure there are black student unions and organizations forging togetherness for women, foreign students, religious organizations and other minority groups on campus. But anyone can join them just as all students are welcomed at the Black Culture Center at MU.
College officials shouldn’t blow off White Student Unions, saying there are so few students of color on most campuses in the U.S., that having White Student Unions are ridiculous because nearly all instructors, buildings, organizations and classes that students of all colors encounter are white. The existence of such unions is a threat.
Free speech in the U.S. gives people the right to form White Student Unions and to even post ill sentiments on Facebook. But there needs to be a response, and it has to be strong, to the intolerance that White Student Unions promote.
For self-preservation if nothing else, universities have to take a leading role.
High school seniors I know who had been considering going to the University of Missouri-Columbia are now looking at other schools because of the racial problems on campus. They don’t want to contend with the racism in the part of the state known as Little Dixie while struggling to get a college education.
Even as an MU alum, it’s hard to argue with that logic.