Racist comments plaque F&M Yik Yak in light of events at Mizzou

By Lauren Wachspress || Contributing Writer

This past week Mizzou could not be avoided on social media. Many F&M students posted Facebook statuses to show support for students at the University of Missouri who feel unsafe. How or why these racist and bigoted attacks are so prevalent in our country is beyond me.

    Incidents of racism at Mizzou ranged from shouting threats at students to smearing a feces swastika on a dorm bathroom, coupled with all of the online attacks. The outpouring of threats on the app Yik Yak towards African Americans is astounding. The Yik Yaks include not only vulgar language and racial slurs, but also violent threats. Many students felt unsafe, yet classes were not canceled to accommodate safety concerns. With threats of being shot or stabbed dismissed as rumors, these students could not turn to their university for help. Initially classes continued and the Yik Yaks were dismissed as rumors.

    Until the police apprehended some suspects, the school for the most part ignored the threats on social media. The NAACP set up a hotline for students who felt unsafe to report any threats.    The president of Mizzou, who did little to alleviate the racial prejudice, resigned and an interim leader has taken his place. One student’s hunger strike and the many African African football players’ vow not to play helped spur his resignation along with a group called Concerned Student 1950. Protesters and Concerned Student 1950 who criticized the administration for their inaction and lack of support for minority students at Mizzou traveled fast via social media.

    The anonymity of Yik Yak presents a huge problem. The attackers hid behind screens and their aggression remains unidentified. F&M unfortunately saw very similar racist and intolerant messages on our local Yik Yak. On Friday, students organized a protest against these prejudiced messages in the Steinman College Center.

    It’s one thing to hear about such a preposterous racist incidents in Missouri, but having that absurd backwards bigotry on our campus is very unsettling. President Dan Porterfield’s discussion on Tuesday will aim to facilitate a more productive dialogue than those ignorant students who think it’s acceptable to take to an anonymous social media platform to voice small-minded views without consequence.

    Students need to recognize the systematic racism and oppression that has existed for decades in higher institutions throughout the country.

    We must take action to alleviate the racial tension that infiltrates our college. Porterfield’ discussion is a good first step to helping F&M take a stand against these bigoted individuals and show support for all our students so that no one feels unsafe or targeted.

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