On Saturday, April 29, the words “Fuck Niggers” were written on the female bathroom on the black studies hall in the Santa Rosa Residence Hall. This event occurred while most of the African Americans that live on the hallway were away at a black regional conference at UC Davis. To some people, this action will come as a surprise or even a complete shock. Unfortunately, to many of the students on campus this is just another incident of racism that has become all too common. However, it becomes harder to address these issues when our society is at the point where the words “hate crime” have lost credibility and people feel that it is just another race card being played.
Some people might ask: Why would this happen now? It is clear that this act was committed by someone who was aware of the conference and felt that they could get away with such actions because no one would be around to witness the vandalism. If these words are how a person truly feels, they should either keep them to themselves or at least have the courage to say it to someone’s face. Instead, they decided to be a coward about the situation and not accept ownership for their actions.
No matter how liberal you think this campus is, there are the same types of racial stereotypes and hate crimes that go on here that have been going on in conservative areas for decades. People like to think that all of these actions went away after the civil rights movement. It is comforting to believe that these types of things only happen in the areas where people are less educated. It is hard to realize that the people you live with and call your friends are the people who are pulling off this bullshit and getting away with it. The main difference is that when it happens at UCSB, people choose to brush it off and consider it a non-issue. People don’t want to acknowledge that there is a problem here. But others are going to make some noise and make sure that these actions do not just slip by and go unnoticed.
This is not an isolated hate crime either. Cervin Morris, last year’s Associated Students president, was a victim of a similar situation when he was a freshman at Francisco Torres Residence Hall. People drove by his building yelling, “Fuck niggers, fuck niggers!” Not too long ago there was a hate crime on the Asian/Pacific Islander floor that many people felt went unnoticed. Last year, three “unidentified black males” were accused of sexual assault in the residence hall, only to find out later that no black men were involved in the altercation that occurred. The black community, as well as many others on this campus, is sick and tired of having to deal with these issues that are constantly surrounding us. A few weeks ago in the Arbor, PETA had a display comparing the lynching of a black man to a cow being slaughtered. I could list more specific examples but I just don’t see the point anymore.
These specific instances do not even take into account the daily ignorance that underrepresented groups on this campus have to put up with. Whether it be people asking to touch your hair, asking what proper slang they should use, or if they can borrow some clothes for the gangsta party they are going to in Isla Vista, this form of racial ignorance needs to stop. And by the way, I am not on the basketball team and I am not here on an athletic scholarship. I am a grown ass educated man and I should be treated like an individual human being with the respect that I deserve.
Even after hearing this, people will still not want to believe that racism exists. If having the words “Fuck Niggers” vandalized in the black studies hall is not enough to make you believe that racism still exists, then fuck you.
Timothy Finney is a junior business economics major. Jason Parnell is a junior political science major.