Racism still rears its ugly head in many of our respected institutions. Sadly, it even appears in places of higher education, where attitudes toward diversity are supposed to be inclusive rather than perpetuating old myths and stereotypes.
Officials at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville are investigating an incident involving students mocking a Black Lives Matter rally on campus. The “Take A Knee” rally took place on Wednesday afternoon, and during or soon after the demonstration, a small group of students took to the social media platform Snapchat to ridicule Black Lives Matter in a horrendously disgusting way.
In the video, two students in a dorm room jump up and down imitating the behavior of monkeys. According to a screenshot published by News 4 JAX in Jacksonville, the caption of the video reads, “What actually went on at the BML [sic] rally.”
Snapchat allows users organizing events and check-ins to create stories, to which any user in that geographical location can upload. One student taking part in the “Take A Knee” rally created a “Black Lives Matter” story, to which the racist students posted the disturbing video.
UNF student Madisen Smith, who created the Snapchat story, said she was disgusted when she saw the video.
“I originally created the story as a way for people attending the rally to post their snaps from their own perspective,” she told the UNF Spinnaker. “When I saw that those guys were mocking those at the rally I was very angry.”
Students for a Democratic Society-Tallahassee posted image stills on their Twitter account.
Racism at UNF after SDS held a Black Lives Matter rally https://t.co/8v9zT2UeP7— Tally SDS (@TallySDS) October 12, 2017
University officials responded to the video with an official statement, which they disseminated via Twitter and Facebook.
UNF is aware of and investigating a video that appears to show several people mocking, in a racist way, the students in today's campus rally pic.twitter.com/Li24lvthEv— Univ.ofNorthFlorida (@UofNorthFlorida) October 12, 2017
On their Facebook page, UNF officials said they were investigating the matter further.
“We are a campus with strong policies and practices concerning racial harmony, civility, diversity, respect and bullying,” the university wrote.
“UNF is committed to values that promote the welfare and positive transformation of individuals, communities and societies,” the university added.
It is appalling and deeply troubling to see students at an institution of higher learning behave in this manner, in 2017 no less. Students from all walks of life deserve to feel respected and safe as they seek to attain a degree at any university or college campus across the nation.
Administrators at UNF must address this situation, and officials at other institutions throughout the United States must recognize, too, that racism is still rampant on their grounds.
Banner/thumb credit: David Ryder/Reuters