24 April 2019
Anti-Racism Activism at UNE
I am not aware of what kind of groups that deal with race are already available on campus. So, besides the fact that I have read these papers and the stories I’ve heard from people I know. I’m not the best person to ask about this. This is not even factoring in how generally oblivious within the predominantly white social spheres of UNE I am to begin with. Just as of writing this I’m currently not well acquainted with someone of color who better understands these topics specifically relating to UNE. Most of the stories I’ve heard have happened outside of UNE.
You could say that I live within a white bubble. At home in Connecticut, I was not in the total whiteout that most of the community experience, but it was still very white. My high school was different in that it wasn’t totally white but had a significant minority population when compared to other schools in the area. In fact, the race did come up in interschool conflicts. At the time I could remember feeling a lot like Kyle Korver. I was aware that these issues were present within my community and actively joked about them with my friends. Whenever it became very poignant as to cause interschool incidents, you’d think it would stir a lot more up in the general school population, but it was never taken too seriously by the student body. Life in New York was not as white as my life in Connecticut. Astoria is known for being a variable melting pot of a variety of different cultures at roughly the same economic level. As a younger kid, the concept of race was utterly foreign and all that mattered was who was fun to play with. So, it was never made apparent to me at any point, which makes it easy to push it aside whenever it gets brought up. Even when I was leaving high school one of the things, I was secretly excited for was that when I got to college nobody would care all the social structure from high school. As if childhood had started again and nothing mattered except whether you were fun to hang out with. So, when it comes to ignoring racial issues on campus. I don’t really know. I’m not going to say like I’m purposely ignoring them but I’m ignoring them. So maybe that’s the thing I could change. It’s so easy to ignore issues like a race around campus. It can be hard to convince people to invest their time at college into these issues as the opportunity cost can be high. It’s an easier sell to people of color who have gone through these experiences and understand it’s important, but to people who have lived within the white bubble for most of their lives, it can be a bit of a difficult sell. You’re going to have to rely on a lot of the methods used to build a social movement to really get people engaged in these issues.
I do believe that it’s something you could do, but again one of the main barriers to this is to get a college student with classes and tests to give these issues the time of day. So, it may be better to mix race awareness projects with either interesting events, like food or movie about these topics, or an academic session that lets you improve academic skills while learning about these topics and not missing out on study time. These strategies are like the ones employed by Rick Warren and his formation of the Saddleback Church in how he changed the context in which people discussed faith. This helps in getting people interested in the discussion beyond just what people are talking about. The channels which to conduct this project are the preexisting clubs like the Black Students Union Club. These activities should be compact in time and on days that are easy for people to attend. The activity should be engaging while at the same time not being too complicated as to confuse or mistake those attending to the issues being portrayed. One of the biggest difficulties I can see in running this club is finding enough materials that are easily digested and easily shared. Another thing this club will have to overcome is getting enough people to be interested in it and consistently show up. I have personal experience with running a club in high school and getting people to consistently show is one of the greatest challenges to running any club. One thing I found is that you must run on a weekly schedule. Running on a weekly schedule will help keep you and your club in your members’ heads. At this club meetings, you must remember that you are the guide and Steer the conversation away from normal social interactions towards the topics you are there to discuss.
Overall, it’s very doable but it will not be easy to overcome the hurdles that will be presented. In the end, I do believe it is worth it to get people more informed about these issues on campus. These are the types of issues you’d believe we’ve already solved, but we haven’t. But like in any situation being informed is the best way to solve anything.
“Privileged | By Kyle Korver.” The Players’ Tribune, www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/kyle-korver-utah-jazz-nba.
BARRIOS, BARCLAY. EMERGING: Contemporary Readings for Writers. BEDFORD BKS ST MARTINS, 2018.