Keeping It Current: University of Missouri

So, if you are a person of color in the United States, you have probably heard all about the never ending death threats against the students of color on the University of Missouri campus (Imma pray for y’all). You know that white supremacists and ignorant people who suffer from white privilege have taken over the campus and all of social media. People who aren’t even students are making threats online and in person. With men in huge monster trucks terrorizing students of color trying to get to their cars in the university parking lots, to some posting on social media that they are going to stand their ground and attack back on Wednesday, to professors proclaiming that they are still holding class on Wednesday and students of color will be penalized if they don’t attend class (you know, because they are fearing for THEIR LIVES!), students of color were backed into a corner. This outlash against them was fueled by the university’s president and chancellor officially stepping down after a long wave of protests called for their resignations or terminations. The final protest that made everyone pay attention was done by the university’s football team. They refused to hit the fields in solidarity for their fellow peers, drawing the attention of the university’s alumni and board of directors. The college would have actually lost close to a million dollars if the football players forfeited the game that was supposed to take place on Saturday, November 14th.

Now, the university’s most recent (ex)president and (ex)chancellor both had reputation for being quite racist and not being that efficient at hiding it. Before the footballers’ threats to bench themselves, tensions on the campus were on the rise. The students knew that the president and chancellor did not have the students’ best interests at heart. In fact, many students of color who reported acts of discrimination said that none of them were ever taken seriously or even investigated. Between the current racial tensions, the Republicans forcing the university to cut its ties to Planned Parenthood (angering the Democrats), and the university attempting to stop paying for health insurance for graduate teachers and research assistants (which angered everyone and after they formed a union, the decision was revoked), President Wolfe (that’s his name) was just bad news on all fronts.

He was literally the constant cause of political and racial tensions on campus and, honestly, in my opinion, his self-removal from office was the best course of action for the university. No one liked him. No one respected him. He made all of the wrong moves. HE WAS RACIST. He didn’t even have a career in education in the first place. He was only given the position to fix the school’s financial situation and to cut costs wherever he could (something people tend to leave out). The man was a completely inadequate choice for president of a university.

So, why are people up in a stink about him resigning?

Why are all of these students of color having their lives threatened?

I mean, people get fired all the time for not being able to do their jobs, right?

If a person is not a right fit for the position, it is completely reasonable for them to be removed from the position.

So, why?

I don’t get it. What’s the big deal? I mean, other than people rallying together to call him out publicly on his inadequacies and shortcomings, I don’t see any difference than him being called into an office, and being told that he no longer works at whatever institution he was hired at.

Here’s my theory. White people (I know I’m generalizing, but you know what I mean) can’t handle people of color being assertive. Now, I’m not just saying black people, I’m talking about ALL people of color. People of color experience discrimination throughout all of their lives, while white people tend to just coast. They don’t have to worry about people discriminating against them. They don’t have to worry about the color of their skin affecting their everyday life in a negative way. Their interactions are almost always the same and they hardly ever experience backlash from people of color. When they do, they don’t know how to react. They get offended, they get mad, they get confused because they have never been in such a situation before. What’s happening with the resignation of president Wolfe is unheard of. It was publicly broadcasted for the world to see, and instead of understanding how inadequate of a president he was, they got mad at the fact that people of color were the ones to point out how he was failing at being a university president. This is completely new to them. This sort of backlash is unheard of and the fact that they were even successful in getting him to step down?! Oh, this is cause for an outrage! If this one university can do it, then just imagine what more people of color in bigger groups can do. This is threatening to the whole concept of white privilege itself. White people would be forced to pay attention to people of color and their struggle! Why? Because they would suffer some sort of consequence for being ignorant. And that is unfathomable to some white people.

So what do they do?

They lash right back out at those people of color and try to stifle them. They prevent them from learning, from getting an education, from trying to succeed, because they already succeeded in the removal of president Wolfe. They can’t have people of color be too successful, or their whole world would turn upside down. People of color finally having control over who runs things? BLASPHEMOUS!

Now, this issue goes far back and racism and blah, blah, blah… and I don’t have time to be explaining any of this, but just think, “What makes president Wolfe any different from anyone else who has ever been fired for failing to do their job?”

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