Opinion

Open dialogue leads to cultural understanding

On UMiami Secrets and Yik Yak, there have been several posts directed at minority and cultural organizations, questioning their purpose on campus. Some of these posts have advocated for the formation of a “United White Students” organization.

In the wake of the Ferguson decision, and subsequent protest on campus, there has been an increase in posts on both of these forums, many of them resorting to racial slurs and stereotypes in order to get their view points across. For example:

“Why can’t I celebrate the color of my skin like anyone else? I can’t because of all the ignorant black people who can’t move past a hatred that was in America a long time ago that they weren’t even directly affected by,” UMiami Secret No. 5609 said.

“Someone get a fire hose,” a Yik Yak post said.

“Since when is there a zoo at the Rock,” a Yik Yak post said.

SEE ALSO: Black Lives Matter protest sparks conversation about on-campus racism

These quotes are but a few of the sentiments expressed recently by our peers on these sensitive topics. Unfortunately, there are many more just like these that are currently in circulation, and they result in students feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome in the place that they call home.

Our university prides itself on diversity, and it’s OK to celebrate your skin color, as long as it is done tastefully and respectfully as opposed to spitefully. These posts, however, showcase attitudes that no one truly wants to address. We like to consider ourselves to be a “post-racial” generation, but that is incorrect. We are not a post-racial generation; we are a generation that is extremely uncomfortable talking about race. But when you ignore a problem, it doesn’t go away; it simply festers and re-emerges at an “inconvenient” time.

Students over the past few weeks have suggested that African American students essentially need to “get over it” and “suck it up” because slavery happened a long time ago. But desegregation did not actually take place until 1964, only one or two generations ago.

The reason many of our peers are up in arms about the existence of United Black Students and organizations like it, or students gathering on campus to peacefully protest, is ignorance of the underlying issues.

Unless you have been the victim of institutionalized discrimination, you will never fully grasp the emotional and psychological toll that it can take on a person. If you have never been harassed by the police, followed around a department store for no apparent reason, or assumed to be less than your peers solely based on your skin color, it may be difficult to grasp why people are so upset.

It is OK to not understand; there are things that we all don’t understand. However, a sign of maturity is admitting that you simply do not understand and seeking to learn about why the other side feels as they do. The solution to this unrest that is sweeping campus, and also the nation, is not attacking those who are upset about the treatment of minorities in this country, or their cultural organizations.

Instead, in order to foster understanding and eliminate some of the prejudice that has been voiced in the various posts, there needs to be an open dialogue between both sides. We need to come together and decide to attack the issue, not the person, because no one should be made to feel unwanted in their own home.

Taylor Duckett is a senior majoring in business law.

December 8, 2014

Reporters

Taylor Duckett


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.