As Chang points out, there are competing sides when it comes to some very thorny topics that involve battling for one’s interests. Students from all white-majority colleges should enjoy equal opportunities and the climate should also be conducive for them to obtain their education. But that wasn’t the problem. Prior to those drives that fueled a national protest and called for a dialogue on bigotry and inclusiveness, it was normal for students to be racially assaulted.
Those opposed to such discussions regarded protests as merely a lack of directions, and those leading them as simply seeking fame. As Chang observed, it is only in the mid-90s when most universities in the United States started admitting people of color. This came to be due to extensive lobbying and calls for more rights for the black people. As he continues to observe, the issue of equal rights for all continues to be debated across the board. There are so much left to be done. As Chang 3 indicated, the issues of racial segregation in South Africa give a better understanding of how those who prefer the status quo perceives the fight against racism. He (3) observed that Roelf Meyer, who became an important figure in the fight against apartheid was perceived as a traitor by his fellow Afrikaners, but his effort to advocate for the end of atrocities omitted towards the Africans was noticed and fruitful.
The idea that peace and justice are inseparable also acts as the foundation of Chang’s argument. It indicates that those who advocate for peace without addressing societal problems are not genuine in their calls. Additionally, justice without peace as he continues to indicate (3) would fuel inequality. The Ferguson incidence whereby unarmed black teenager was shot dead by a white policeman ignited the fire whereby, blacks feeling that they were being ignored and treated like lesser beings led to black lives matter campaign. Just like protestors in the institution of learning, the Ferguson demonstrations must be discussed with the seriousness they deserve. It indicates a culmination of issues that have accumulated for so long that those who feel oppressed cannot hold them any longer.
As Chang indicated (5) some scholars tried to write down student demos which called for inclusivity and end of racial segregation by indicating that what they (student) needed was moral and intellectual leadership to prepare them for adulthood. What such writers failed to understand or refused to do so is that the same was happening to those outside institutions of learning. They also failed to understand that the fight must have started from somewhere and if the “adults” were not ready, then the students were. The issue of racial segregation represents a clearer picture of how the American society is operating. Not only in schools, but also in job markets. In the last decade, black people had fewer opportunities and their probability to get a job was lower compared to white people with the same qualification. Chang observed that this racial exclusivity was even worse in our institution of learning. In our logical expectations, universities and institution of higher learning should be factories where people who advocate for inclusivity are fine-tuned. This has not been the case.
As indicated in numerous studies, over 40% of black students and students from other minority groups have found them in situations whereby they were either threatened, miss treated or even denied their rights based on their skin color. Chang (6) also pointed out the failure in universities to prepare and shift to strategies that are geared toward addressing the issue of inclusivity. He observed that, as universities turned to businessmen to run their affairs, it did not help in addressing the core problem and challenge of inclusivity. Due to lack of affirmative action that would have protected the minority blacks and Latinos, there was a decline in students from these minority communities in universities as they shifted to profit-making and cost-cutting. Students preferred safe places where they would feel free and have a sense of belonging.
The article articulately tells a story of systemic failure in addressing the issue of racial discrimination and inequality. It brings out the ignorance that those in power sleepover in order to try to escape such discussions and debate. It is important in noting that the issue of universal human rights was not so universal with blacks. Even in modern times, cases of racial segregation, violation of human rights and negative perceptions of black people are so common. The article brings out the much-needed evidence that this is a serious topic that needs sober-minded people to tackle it. As cases of sexual harassment, physical injuries and racial driven complains continue to increase in our institution of learning, there is a need in making sure that, such institutions are changed from the sorry state of ignorance to racial problems that some of them are in and embrace strategies that genuinely embrace the issue of inclusivity. It is clear that there are other issues that motivated the Chang in writing the article.
There was little political goodwill in addressing the racial segregation problem as many even in governments are either willing to keep quiet and protect their image while others blame the oppressed. It is evident that slavery is germinating again in a form of modern-day human rights violations among the minority groups in the United States. As indicated in the article, there are some reported cases of physical assaults as president Obama was announced confirmed. What would drive young people to develop such fear of a black president? This confirms that racial segregation is deeply rooted in our society. Young children grow up developing such a negative attitude towards some group of people and such unfortunate societal problems must be tackled from the root cause if we are to start making noticeable progress. It is evident that what is happening in our institutions of higher learning is just but a replica of our larger society.
This was confirmed by the Ferguson demonstrations and the continued killings of innocent young blacks. Other societal vices such as Islamaphobia among others also confirm the worrying direction that the American society is taking. In conclusion, people should understand that the problem of racial segregation and inequality is deeply rooted in our society and to address it, people should first investigate and understand themselves. Policy makers, religious leaders, and institutional heads must, therefore, design a better inclusive environment that enables the minority groups to prosper.
Chang, Jeff. “What a time to be alive on student protest”.