When I went to college, I was under the impression that the people there would be enlightened. I thought they would be more mature, and even intellectually superior to many of my high school classmates. Instead, what I found was that there were people like my peers at my new school as well. And because the number of students in my freshman class was in the thousands, instead of hundreds, the level of dumb was expounded.
And apparently, things haven’t improved enough for the next generation. According to Blavity, students from the University of Tennessee (UT) donned blackface in an attempt to make some type of statement about Affirmative Action and Black students on their campus.
The caption for the picture read: “We for racial equality boys. Bout to get this free college now that I’m black let’s gooooo #blacklivesmatter.”
According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, the picture was uploaded on Snapchat. When the image got back to administrators, the group began discussing how to discipline the students. Vice Chancellor for Students Life Vince Carilli, the decision about the students is still outstanding.
And in defense of the students, Carilli said, “We would be hard-pressed to expel a student for expressing their First Amendment rights.”
Carilli made the remarks in front of a group of 200 students and administrators in the student union ballroom as he was discussing how to move forward from the racist incident.
The university initially condemned the Snapchat photo with a statement that read, “…the image is repulsive and the message abhorrent.”
During the conversation, students pushed back against the change in tone and approach.
George Johnson said, “You failed if you believe that the First Amendment is the equivalent of protecting someone from black facing. You’re always playing a race battle without even signing up to fight for your race.” Later, he said, “I can’t take pride in the University of Tennessee because the University of Tennessee didn’t see pride in me.”
Jerica Parks said, “This hurts me down to my core and I want you to hear me. I want you to see me. As a young Black woman, I have been through so much oppression and this is another thing. Don’t treat them like victims when they have done this to us. We are the victims. Protect us.”