Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student

Pizza's Kitchen

The Word Barrier

After the Without Borders conference two weekends ago, many students thought the positive energy the speakers brought would change the way students acted around campus, but this simply wasn’t the case.

We are surrounded by the image that Kalamazoo College is founded on diversity and acceptance. But, if there is anything that I have learned in the last two years, it is that this campus is not as revolutionary as it makes out to be.

The biggest issue I see are issues of race. We may be past the era of Jim Crowe laws or slurs of the 1920’s, but the “micro-aggressions” of the twenty-first century perpetuate racist practices and ideas.

Micro-aggressions are something said or done that infers something is unnatural or deviant by deciding something else is normal. These statements are heard everywhere on campus, from the cafeteria to our classrooms.

There are white, cis-gendered, heterosexual men on this campus that think that there isn’t a space for them because there are too many groups for minority students.

There are some Student Commission members who think that the BSO asking for funding to go to Ferguson to fight against the injustice of police brutality against black people is not going to bring anything back to K, and is just an “endeavor.”

There are still people that think MEChA protest simply to protest, and are just overreacting that the school is taking tiny steps forward on an incredibly large and important issue.

While these comments aren’t as violent as police action against protestors in Ferguson, they are still perpetuate a culture of racism.

As a junior on campus, I’m realizing how little of an effort I’ve made to make any changes, as have many other students who are reflecting on their time at K. We pride ourselves on coming from an institution rooted in solving social justice, and yet many students are perpetuating the issues our fellow students are trying to eliminate.

It’s time that we all made a stand against these micro-aggressions that plague our campus. While some of us prefer to stand on the front lines of a protest, anyone should intervene when someone makes a racist comment and by supporting other students’ causes as peers, listeners, and members of the community.

Today, racism isn’t about segregated drinking fountain; barriers are created by words.

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The Word Barrier