When Flyer News asked students this week’s Word on the Street question, “how do you feel the university has addressed racial issues this year?” we rarely got an answer. We posed the question to 32 students around ArtStreet, Kiefaber and Marianist; we got seven responses. Most students who would not answer said they didn’t know how to answer the question, and three said they did not want to respond for fear of losing their jobs or being expelled.
We understand that it can be hard. It can be hard to talk about something without knowing what language to use. It can be hard to understand something you might never experience. It can be hard when people listen to your skin and not who you are or what you’re saying.
National media attention to racial tensions, Flyer News columns, the “Critical Evaluation of our Times: The State of Race on the UD Campus” symposium, have started the conversation about that tricky four-letter word on campus, but too often we let it fade. When you are “white” and tired from the conversation, you can leave and pick it back up whenever it suits you. When you are “black,” you are living the conversation every day – whether you want to be a part of it or not.
Even if you don’t completely understand what someone else is experiencing, it is not an excuse to ignore or deny their reality. Yes, how race plays a role in our reality depends on where we are, who we’re with and how we react to it.
But it ultimately depends on us. On everyone at this university. Are we open to this conversation? And will we try to talk as a campus or a community?
If you would like to join the conversation on race or anything else going on in your world, email firstname.lastname@example.org.