Identity politics is a nasty thing. Everyone who isn’t a progressive knows this. At Cornell University, that slice of politics is rearing its ugly head, with the school’s black students group demanding that more African American students be enrolled. They’re concerned that there are too many Caribbean and African students. To start, their letter to the administration prefaces with the usual ‘there’s white supremacy everywhere’ angle.
We attend a university where our peers believe we do not belong here; where they decry the usefulness andnecessity of affirmative action; where they claim we segregate ourselves because we lean one each other to survive. We attend a university that is obsessed with the optics of our black and brownfaces but is indifferent to the justice we seek.This is not an indictment of white people; thisis an indictment of a system that perpetuates white supremacy and shelters our peers under the warm blanket of whiteprivilege- allthe while, we are left to freeze in our frigid reality of racist epithets, essentialist curriculum, and apathetic governance. In post-racial America, our classmates call us n***ers from their pickup trucks in broad daylight. In post-racial America, weare berated by airborne bottles onour own campus.In post-racial America, we aretold we have a chip on our shoulder. Weare called everythingbut our name. Above all else, in post-racial America we are bombarded by the deafening silence that allows the centuries-old hum of white supremacy to grow louder. Silence is violence.
The Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council both present a system that not only excludespeople of color, but exudes white supremacy. The verbal and physical assault of a young black student, committed by members of the Chi Chapter of Psi Upsiloncannot go unpunished and the Cornell administration can no longer stand silent while we are under attack. The fact that it has taken the administration far too long to realize the extent of the systemic issues that exist at our school is unacceptable.
Then, they go on listing their demands that they think will solve the university’s supposed problems in this area of racial injustice (via Daily Caller):
Cornell University’s Black Students United demanded the university start recruiting more black American students because the campus has too many African and Caribbean students Wednesday.
Black Students United, a group for students identifying with the African diaspora, handed the university president a list of twelve demands, with one of them dealing with the disproportionate representation of African students compared to black students on the campus.
Black Students United takes issue with the fact that there are more African and Caribbean students on campus when compared to black students. The group defines black students as those who come from black families that have lived in America for two or more generations. While the group said it doesn’t mind the university trying to recruit African students, they want the college to pay more attention to black students whose families have been affected by years of white supremacy.
The demands from Black Students United come after a black student alleged that fraternity Psi Upsilon members brutally assaulted him and called him a “n*gger.” The demands also call for the frat to be shut down and give up its house to students of color to gather.
And yes, they want new coursework that is guided along the rigid confines of identity politics:
We believe thatour community hasa responsibility tolearn about theways in whichsystems of power andprivilege continue toinform the experiencesof people ofcolor both oncampus and out inthe world. Webelieve mandatory courseworkwill provide aninitial means ofchallenging and dismantling thewhite hegemony thatpervades the university’s presentcurriculum.
We demandthat all employeesof the university, academic andotherwise (including tenured professors), tohave appropriate, ongoingtraining (tied toevaluations and payroll)that deals with issuesof identity (suchas race, class,religion, ability status,sexual/romantic orientation, gender, citizenship status,etc.). We wantthis coursework tobe explicitly focusedon systems of powerand privilege inthe United Statesand centering thevoices of oppressedpeople.
All I can say is that I’m glad I graduated before this insanity took hold at my college.