Guest post by: Cameron Harris, Articulate Cultural Enthusiast
When I first heard about racial tensions rising on the campus of University of Missouri, my first response was well of course you’re in Missouri. After getting by that I began to read more into the story about life for minority students on the campus. I must say they don’t sound different from my experience at Marquette or the experiences of other minority students at predominately white institutions. Things happen on a day-to-day basis sometimes subtle, sometimes overt but the point is people’s complaints go largely ignored because they make up such a small percent of the university’s population. My roommates (also minorities) and I often discuss whether it is it an institution’s job to please less than 10 percent of the population and even sometimes smaller than that.? According to Mill’s utilitarianism it is supposed to be the greatest good for the greatest number of people, therefore predominately white institutions should be catering to that demographic. I think where Mill misses the mark is in regards to how two students with the same major, living on the same campus will have completely different experiences based on the color of their skin. The person of color is probably more likely to have bad things to say about their experience.
Whenever I read articles that speak to race specifically on a college campus it strikes a chord with me. I wasn’t angered when reading this story but rather happy that things like this have woven their way into public discourse and things began to change rather rapidly. So many times peoples’ cries for help go unheard. I also question the role of economics in Wolfe’s decision to resign because it came the day after the football team said they would not play. Something tells me he was told to step down because the school needed those players to play. In any case he did step down and things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Now I do not know if anything will change at the University of Missouri because we live in a segregated society. When I arrived at Marquette University I was told by someone who lived on the floor that I was the first black person that they had ever had a conversation with. This pointed out to me that Universities are given the tough task of bringing together thousands of people with different backgrounds to come together and function. This of course does not excuse prejudice at all, but what do people expect to happen? A college campus is going to reflect the society that it resides in and that is a place that has a history filled with racism, prejudice and hate.