Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

For some students here at West Chester University, racism is seen as an issue of the past. However, for many minority students on campus, prejudice is still alive and kicking.In an interview with junior Aqeel Dix, he stated that in more than one of his classes he felt racial tensions the moment he walked through the door. “It’s like [the white students] count how many of us will enter,” said Dix.

He stated that most of the time they are not blunt with their prejudice. “You really may not notice until it comes time to do group work. They all flock together, so that you have to ask to work with them. It’s like you need permission to be in their group,” said Dix.

In a class where Dix expressed his feelings on racism, he said that a white male made a comment about how he has learned a lot from blacks. Dix in turn resented the comment stating, “How can he say that he has learned a lot from [African Americans], yet he has never even attempted to have a conversation with a black person?”

Junior Heather Blackman, who is Caucasian, stated that she has also noticed racist behavior in the universitys classrooms. “I am usually in class before it starts, and I see peoples reactions when a black person enters the room. Sometimes they stare until [a black person] reaches her seat. They never look in her direction when she gives presentations, and whisper the entire time [the black girl] gives her presentation. It’s very disrespectful and annoying,” said Blackman.

Dix agreed with the statements mentioned by Blackman, but he admitted that a lot of the prejudice here on campus is not just white on black.

“I walk around here on campus and other blacks won’t even speak. It’s sad,” said Dix. “Coming from Morgan State University, an all black college, to a university where the statistics show that the population is only eight percent black, I thought that there would be a lot more unity here than it is. I was wrong.”

Junior Samira Harris, shared her view on the issue with The Quad. “I notice a lot of tension between women,” said Harris. “White girls don’t want to work with you because they are under the impression that you are a slacker, or they’ll end up doing all the work. They look so surprised when I come into class prepared, and with my work completed correctly, then their attitude seems to lighten up,” said Harris.

“Sometimes black girls’ attitudes are so bad, I don’t know if I even feel like dealing with them. I guess you can’t blame white girls for some of the views that they hold. Just don’t judge us all on the same basis,” warned Harris.

Communication professor Dr. Anita Foeman told The Quad about discriminatory behaviors that she has noticed in her classes, and her reasoning behind them reacting the way that they do. “People will not want to work with minority students. They will not come out and say it’s because a student is of a different race, but they will say something to the effect of, “I feel uncomfortable working with [the student],” said Foeman.

“However, we should know that students don’t feel comfortable with working with students because they are not used to being around people of other cultural backgrounds,” said Foeman. She also stated, “Getting to know people and talking to people can help to change this.”

On a final note, Dix stated, “How can we want to make changes in diversity on campus, when we don’t even unify ourselves? Change has to begin with us,” said Dix.

If anyone has experienced prejudice or unjust treatment here on campus, by students or faculty, students should contact Student Affairs at (610) 436-3301 or the Office of Multicultural Affairs at (610) 436-3273.

ShaQuita Perry is a WCU student.

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