In a period of one week, Chapel speakers have addressed issues of race and segregation three times. A small group will meet Monday to discuss the Black Panthers, and “Jesus and the Hip-Hop Prophets” will revisit issues surrounding race.
As such, The Optimist editorial board thinks that racism and segregation are pertinent issues on the ACU campus, and we applaud Steven Moore for addressing the student body with an unapologetic, passionate message: “Get mad and do something.”
While it’s fine for students to feel strongly about an issue, to act irate and voice their opinions, these students affect little change. Rather, students need to take action-and stop talking about doing so.
ACU prides itself on being a multicultural community – just ask any perspective students who are reading literature from the university’s admissions department.
“Campus globalization” is part of the Centennial Vision, and at the university Web site, www.acu.edu it says “4,800 students, 60 nations” beneath a photo of the ceremony of flags. Campus literature wants to communicate that ACU is multicultural.
But if we were truly a unified, multicultural student body, would the university have to continue to tell people about its diversity?
If students are truly taking Moore’s advice and doing something in addition to getting mad, the university wouldn’t have to tell people about the multicultural community – it would be apparent in the atmosphere and lifestyle.
Although The Optimist encourages students to take action, the question still remains of how to take action, how to change the culture of our campus to eliminate segregation and racism and how we can display a truly multicultural environment.
Moore’s speech in Chapel Thursday roused students to jump to their feet and cheer in standing ovation.
But one point he made left the students glancing uncomfortably toward their neighbors. When social clubs were pointed to as a prime example of segregation, no one cheered and prepared to tear down any walls of segregation there. Students are fine discussing segregation as an idea – pointing a finger at obvious perpetrators and declaring their offenses wrong – but when the problem hits closer to home, students tend to turn away. Problems still exist when students are more concerned about someone calling social clubs segregated than they are with the possibility of the accusation being true.
And club is simply the easiest example to point out on campus – clubs are not alone in contributing to segregation on campus. One merely has to observe where students sit, live or eat to find segregation.
To solve this problem, the student body has to stop discussing segregation and start looking for institutions, traditions and attitudes that support it on campus. And then, those things must be changed.
As the old adage goes, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. The university has done the right thing by choosing to address this issue head on, with an honest, direct approach.
And students have certainly gotten mad. So now they just have to do something.