Jul 19, 2005

Learning While Black.

Here's another one for the profiling docket: Middlebury College student O'Neil Walker, an honors student from the Bronx who was attending the college on a prestigious full scholarship from the Posse Foundation has been suspended based on the allegation that he "entered a classmate's dorm room last winter without permission."

Are you kidding me? Read the full article to see how this is panning out for Walker, and how the justice system seems to have failed him within this particular example.

I don't know either way about this particular case, but I remember a number of incidents of blatant profiling of African American and other students in the SUNY system when I was a student. I remember in 1992, when a 77-year old woman in Oneonta was burglarized, and she claimed that it was a black man. The scale of profiling, from turning every black man in town into a suspect to the handing over of a list of all black male students at SUNY Oneonta to the local police, was horrific.

I remember in 1994, when a college freshman at SUNY Albany claimed that she'd been cornered, attacked, and otherwise trespassed upon in her dorm room, and that it was a black male who did it. The level of frenzy that was created as a result of her bombastic statement, which was later disavowed (it was her father who had attacked and beaten her), was ridiculous.

And I'm sure that this is only the tip of the iceberg. When will it end? When will students who are not white or privileged in some other way (ie: I definitely think that I was privileged in my ability to transcend my small white-town upbringing and come into my own in relative freedom and safety) be able to enjoy the same feeling of safety on campus from the harsh, bigoted, and just plain wrong treatment that so many folks face in the non-academic world?

6 comments:

Ms. World said...

I read about it in the Village Voice and I was floored. I actually don`t want to think about it because it is so damn depressing & sad. The U.S. still has a long way to go on race relations.

Rage said...

Yeah and just recognizing that there is a system of inherited and reinforced racism that keeps folks down.

DesiDancer said...

this may seem a silly question, but don't their dorm rooms lock?

Rage said...

Good question. Maybe he used magic.

someone else said...

I accidentally went to the wrong room once my freshman year. In my defense, if I had gone down the right hallway of my perfectly symmetrical building, I would have been in the right room. Or if I had been sober.

The fun part was after I realized I was in the wrong room, went back and got my shoes, and was convinced that my key opened all the doors in the hallway.

Ohhhh....good times. good times.

Rage said...

Sure, Saurav - we all believe that it was an accident. :)

Maybe you had a master key...