In Jest or Intolerance? March 2 General Meeting Recap

More and more college students have become aware of racism at universities following the conflicts at UCSD related to the “Compton Cookout” controversy.

SCAPE members and allies met on March 2 to discuss the presence of racism and stereotypes at universities.   The discussion began with comments on the Compton Cookout’s relation to the diverse environment that universities attempt to foster, as well as the presence of racism on college campuses.  Some attendees had experienced discrimination firsthand, whether they were racially profiled by LAPD officers or had difficulty talking to certain peers about issues of politics, race, sexuality, and gender.  Although some college students may attempt to turn race into a non-issue and pretend that problems related to racism don’t exist, it is clear that race remains a catalyst for all types of conflicts in universities.

We then considered how different racial and ethnic groups actually mingle in colleges—something far more telling than diverse statistics.  Self-segregation is an impetus to true accord between different groups.  While universities’ administrators can take some measures to change self-segregation, even through unintentional means such as random roommate assignments for university housing, self-segregation is ultimately a problem that lies in individuals’ hands.  Students can stop self-segregation and the conflicts that can arise from it through small initiatives—reaching out on an individual level and making an effort to experience and contribute to diversity firsthand.

Another way that individuals can positively affect the atmosphere of tolerance in universities is by speaking out about things they find offensive.  Events based on stereotypes like the Compton Cookout can be stopped if people see the “jokes” behind them for what they truly are—culturally insensitive and offensive. Racism is a collective phenomenon, not an individual one.  While it may be difficult to speak up, one voice can make a difference and change other people’s complacency.

Look for updates in the coming weeks about SCAPE’s next meetings and events.

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