The Black Student Union at California State University Los Angeles sent a note to the university’s president in Nov. 2015. The letter detailed a list of demands based on what many African-American attendees felt would address racial tensions within the school’s student population, and called for the immediate action of its administrators.
In response to that list, university officials have decided to establish what they deem Black-focused housing.
The BSU’s letter requested an option that would provide a cheaper alternative housing solution for Black students. Instead its request was answered via segregation.
It is a constant struggle for Black students who attend predominately white institutions to feel the need to overcompensate for our Blackness just to be accepted. We have to work ten times as hard, and this is a truth that we live everyday.
California State University’s decision to create segregated housing options to prevent “microagressions” and “racially insensitive remarks” is not only damaging, but an insult.
Segregation is not equality. Period. I don’t care how many houses you build or programs you implement, Black people still cannot escape the reality that the odds are already stacked against us. Removing Black students from the mass population is only feeding the idea that our lives are of less value.
I’m certain that the Brown v. Board of Education ruling made it unconstitutional for instances of this nature to occur. What happened to civil rights? Did Black students have a say in this decision? I’m very interested to know how administrators arrived at this process.
We go to college to get a diverse and multi-faceted education just like everyone else. Our peers, regardless of our racial or ethnic background, serve as important factors in our world experience. Now, students at California State may be robbed of that privilege.
What’s happening would be more believable if this was the Jim Crow era. But it isn’t. It is happening during a time where Black voices are being heard, Black women are creating movements, Black people are proud of the skin they’re in and LGBTQ individuals can live proudly. Despite all of the gun violence and police brutality, this is the era of change. Efforts for better days are in progress, but the decision to create race-based housing is a huge slap in the face to Black history and American advancement.
This is not what the students meant when they asked for “a cheaper alternative housing solution for Black students.” I mean really, how can separate housing stop microagressions and racially insensitive remarks?
Race-based housing will only justify the racial remarks and microagressions spat at Black students. This is not the solution to the problem, but it is a lazy route on behalf of members of the administration to address the real issues of people of color on their campus. Ultimately, we must do better and demand better for ourselves.
CharNese Turner is a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is studying journalism and enjoys writing in her free time.
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