As a Black faculty member on this campus, I feel it my responsibility to address the issue of linguistic racism. When words are used like “scum,” “trashy,” “low-class” and “under-educated” in association with individuals who are not given the same access to power and resources that others are, it perpetuates a climate of contention and disharmony that in turn limits access and the affordability to minority students as well as staff and faculty. I do not think that the writer was intending to be offensive and/or racist in any way. However, I think that at times our biases are so ingrained in our daily language, mannerisms, discussions and interactions that coming up with the words: scum, trashy, low-class and under-educated are just covert and loaded ways of calling the BSU students and myself derogatory names of the past.
As the adviser to the Black Student Union, I would like to address the opening social event. At one point, a popular song came on that happened to not be edited, the student in charge of the music quickly made his way over to the speaker and changed the song. The music was not blasting at any unreasonable level. I was sitting towards that back of the room and was conversing with those around me quite easily. Personally, I actually am really grateful that Ms. Gee wrote this letter because it goes to show the amount of work we have when it comes to inclusion and acceptance on campus.
Sociology instructor, Black Student Union Adviser