“Pro Humanitate” and Racism Cannot Coexist

Before I begin, I want to make something very clear: I don’t think all white people are racist. In fact, I’m someone who will take the time to listen to white people to try to understand where they’re coming from so long as they listen to me. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to business.

The student who on social media, admitted to calling her black RA a n*gger deserved to be expelled from this school. While I’m not surprised that a racist comment was made at a predominantly white institution, I’m still heartbroken for a few reasons.

First, I’m saddened that anyone thinks it’s appropriate to use a racial slur that is packed with so much hate. Historically, people of color have been called n*ggers right before they were lynched, beaten or otherwise mistreated. That word carries the same impact  it did when it was first coined several hundred years ago.

For someone to use that word on social media for many others to see is a slap in the face to every black person on this campus — Black custodians and campus facilities employees who keep our campus clean and beautiful despite some students who trash it.

Don’t forget about the black students who earned their way to this institution just like anyone else and sit next to white students who may or may not hold racial biases. Worst of all, the RA who had to live on the same hall as this woman and be disrespected on social media for people to see and either laugh at or stare in horror.

Secondly, I’m both heartbroken and frustrated that there are students who try to justify the student’s use of a racial slur on social media and think that expulsion was too harsh because “everyone says stupid things when they’re drunk.” This is problematic in several ways.

For starters, it shows the lack of accountability. In the workplace, something like that would’ve led to termination. As college students, we’re preparing for the workplace and real world experiences. We’re also preparing for real world consequences, and expulsion was an appropriate consequence for this incident.

In addition, being intoxicated is never an excuse to be hateful. I’ve been drunk plenty of times in my 21 years on this Earth and have never ever called a white person the C-word to their face, behind their back or on social media. Using racial slurs is not someone just, “saying something stupid.” It’s racist.

Any non-black person who will never have to worry about being called a n*gger needs to put themselves in a black person’s shoes. Wouldn’t you find any less punishment to be a slap on the wrist? Don’t you think an action like this goes against our motto, “Pro-Humanitate?” How would you feel if you were black, knew this girl, and had to see her in class after seeing such a hurtful video? Think before you become an apologist for actions that don’t hurt you but severely hurt others.

Hateful words are not just words. They carry power. They can cause scars that may never heal. They cause damage. And they’re not welcome here.  Ever.