Racist Vandalism at Purdue
February 24, 2012 § 5 Comments
Have you heard about this racist incident that made the news about Purdue?! What are you hearing among your peers? I was just made aware of this by a graduate student of mine, and I am shocked, but not surprised.
My first week working at Purdue three years ago, I was yelled at and called a racial slur on campus while walking to my office by a passing car of young white men. Here’s an example where my class/educational privilege of being a professor at this school could not protect me from racial and gender based hate. They yelled: “Get out of here Black Bitch!” When I shared this incident with people here, most of them expressed shame (I can’t believe that happened here!) or wanted to blame it on someone from outside the university (It could have been some guys from Lafayette). I find the latter argument problematic because it shifts the responsibility of awareness outside of the Purdue community and allows people to ignore the problem. Ignoring problems do not make them go away, especially for those harmed by such hateful acts. I hope the university and its community does not miss an opportunity from this incident to make real strides toward diversity and inclusion — not just diversity and not just “tolerance.”
If you think this issue is none of your concern, I ask you to go to your invisible knapsack and evaluate why.
I know personally how hostile this campus can be to racial and ethnic minorities, to women, to LGBTQ people, to international students, but I also know from working with wonderful students like yourselves what kind of transformative potential this university has.