Saturday, January 04, 2020

Not OK to be White in Wisconsin

The NY Times reports on a U. Wisconsin-Madison kerfuffle:
To students of color, the homecoming video was a glimpse of what they experienced every day as they walked through campus. ...

The homecoming committee, a group of several dozen students, has a simple mission: celebrating the university during Homecoming Week with a string of events including a 5K run, blood drive and parade. ...

Unfortunately, not all the video images produced were included in the final product, including those of students from under represented populations. ...

Emilie Cochran, a reporter for The Badger Herald student newspaper who covered the story: It made people uncomfortable, seeing a lot of people who look alike representing the university. And it woke people up, saying, this is actually what our university looks like.
So the video was accurate, but not sufficiently inclusive.
The campus woke up to a message, scrawled in black.

Someone had taken a copy of The Daily Cardinal, a student newspaper, and written a message on it in large block letters: “UW 4 WHITES ONLY!”

The newspaper was taped outside Science Hall, a stately red brick building on campus, and it stunned the first people who saw it. The response from the university was swift.

At 6:46 a.m., the @UWMadison Twitter account wrote:

UW stands against hate and racism. We’re aware that, last night, a racist message was posted on a building sign outside Science Hall. We are removing this message and any others and @UWMadisonPolice is investigating.

That morning, more signs were discovered around campus. One read, “UW DON’T CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE.” Another read, “I’M TIRED OF HAVING TO TEACH MY TEACHERS.”

Soon, the university released a new statement, which read, in part:

These posters appear now to be part of a coordinated campaign calling attention to experiences of underrepresented students.

The Student Inclusion Coalition said it had not orchestrated the campaign. University officials have declined to identify the people involved.
So University initially mistakenly blamed Whites, and in a panic, tried to prosecute a hate crime. But when the University learned that non-whites were responsible, the messages suddenly became free speech.

No comments: