This is my response to the Ruth Marcus article: College is not for coddling
Frankly, I just disagree. And history disagrees as well.
Colleges around the country have forever been places for the white elite to be coddled. For centuries, “college” was a place that students were sent to “get ahead” and take learning to the next level. Often that learning was drenched in white supremacy and patriarchy, making these places great for white men to be spoon fed that America has always been great and it is their duty for it to continue to do so. This is a coddling of white men. These campuses were full of fraternities and social clubs, definitely adding a class element, allowing men from wealthy white families to be in powerful positions all over campus. Having the privilege of being a white man in America, then going to college and learning that you have essentially earned that privilege by birth, and you must protect it at all costs is coddling to the highest degree.
This “coddling” was very much interrupted by integration. By bringing different perspectives to discussion, the white male status was questioned (an in that nature threatened) and the response has been violent, hateful and in all honesty terrifying. The events that happened recently at Mizzou are very interesting to anyone who cares about economics, politics or history. The backlash to the president stepping down has not been from supporters of the president- it has been from white supremacists that feel threatened with Black students exercising political agency. The purpose of the actions of the students last night was for the sole purpose of letting Black students know that they are unwanted on campus and that they should fear for their safety. This has moved past the president, this is about white supremacy feeling threatened and the people who benefit from it responding accordingly.
Specifically, I am interested in the statement in the article that I am responding to: “[The events at Yale and Mizzou] hardly feel like George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door.”
Actually that is exactly what it feels like.
Creating a hostile environment for students of color is one of the many weapons utilized by white supremacy in order to let them know that they are unwanted. Asking for students not to shout racial slurs in the courtyard of a university, or not draw swastikas on school property is not asking to be coddled, it’s asking to have your value and humanity recognized.
The issue at Mizzou right now is that these students are no longer asking. They are demanding.
The president stepping down, was major but to see the feelings on that campus come to light last night the way they did says that there is so much more to be done. Students of color not feeling safe on campus is a university issue and it is up to the university to handle the culture that has been allowed to flourish on their campus. This feels like just the beginning for Mizzou and other campuses need to start getting ready for what is coming their way.