OPINION: Bloomsburg Protest Demonstrates Pennsylvanian Values

"It’s not okay to use any racial slur. I wouldn’t understand why would you think that’s okay to use that word,” said Bloomsburg junior Deja Fogg

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OPINION: Bloomsburg Protest Demonstrates Pennsylvanian Values

Bloomsburg students protest the hate which invaded their school campus.

Bloomsburg students protest the hate which invaded their school campus.

WNEP.com

Bloomsburg students protest the hate which invaded their school campus.

WNEP.com

WNEP.com

Bloomsburg students protest the hate which invaded their school campus.

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Last weekend, a video demonstrating a student acting out a slave auction and utilizing obscene racist language surfaced – and Bloomsburg demonstrated how Pennsylvanians civilly handle racism.

The video made its rounds last weekend, showcasing a student employed by the athletic training department acting out a slave auction at a party. Though his portrayal was atrocious, another iniquity was his employment of racist language. His usage of hateful and bigoted speech dehumanized African-American students, and made a mockery of American values. Detestable and ignorantly unapologetic, a friend of his recorded and uploaded his behavior to Twitter, and from there his insensitivity was revealed.

The remarkable thing about this student was, however, he worked in the athletic training office. He feigned acceptance and understanding while working with African-American athletes, yet he used universally unacceptable language, betraying the trust of many students, regardless of color.

“It’s not okay to use any racial slur. I wouldn’t understand why would you think that’s okay to use that word,” a Bloomsburg junior Deja Fogg said in reference to the video.

The offensive student’s behavior was backwards, but in that moment of darkness, Bloomsburg revealed its virtue. The student was fired from the athletic training department, and university administration condemned his words and attitudes.

Director of media relations, Tom McGuire, stated, “We’re sickened by them and the campus is sickened by them. Our students know that they don’t represent the values of our university,”

Bloomsburg has a significant population of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and other minority students. Pennsylvania is a melting pot, a state which prioritizes multicultural understanding and unity, as most of the United States strives to do. These students, knowing that there were racists amidst the athletic trainers and university-employed students, lost their sense of security and safety.

“I don’t feel threatened, but I’m not going to say that I feel the safest seeing what goes on,” said Bloomsburg senior Mukalah Upshur.

But Bloomsburg students took the bull by the horns, and last Wednesday saw a peaceful protest against campus racism. An estimated 500 students gathered at a quad with their signs, many marked with “No hate.” Their demonstration lasted 45 minutes, and ended with a march around the college.

The peaceful protesting perfectly captured Pennsylvanian values: the combating of racism, discrimination, and hate through the means of nonviolent objection. Bloomsburg students united to ward off the hidden bigots and xenophobes which taint our state. They exhibited strength and probity in response to mindless and vulgar rancor.

The student responsible for the abominable video faces possible additional punishment with an upcoming code of conduct hearing. Any hopeful future or career is now in jeopardy in the face of moral retribution. His simpleminded arrogance combined with his sprouting of injustices can now cost him years of academic dedication and effort. To discourage the unfair discrimination which still plagues minority students(and to a greater extent, people in general), Bloomsburg laid the hammer down. This is the action that all Pennsylvania schools must consider, and historically we’ve defied ethical turpitude.

Two centuries ago, in the midst of a racially-based slave trade, Pennsylvania went against the grain in its commonplace calls for abolitionism and racial unity. Now, the state remains staunch in its beliefs in unity, compassion, and its duty to enlighten ignorance.

Bloomsburg represents Pennsylvania – we will not stand for hate.

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