Racist video reveals devaluation of black people

Trump Wall protesters featured in controversial meme video represent a community that needs more recognition



Basheera Agyemen, center, protesting alongside others at the College Republican’s Trump wall on Oct. 19, 2016.

BASHEERA AGYEMAN, Evergreen columnist

In the last three days of finals, when most students are only focused on finishing the semester off strong, students of color are forced to confront racism and hatred yet again on their own university campus.

Two nights ago, I woke up from a nap after pulling several all-nighters this week to messages from friends all over Washington asking me if I had seen the video and informing me that I was in it. Although I knew that people, particularly members of the College Republicans, were recording the day students held the rally against the Trump wall, I hadn’t seen any of it until last night.

The video featured myself and other women of color in heated discussions with members of the College Republicans. However, statements of the three women whom the video mainly focused on were depicted out of context. In addition, the video was edited in such a way that it racially ridiculed the two women; even going so far as to say “I think you should go back to Africa.”

Clearly, the person behind this video felt comfortable enough both in his own social location as well as within the climate of this school to create such a video. This is of course not surprising when you have actual leaders of student organizations promoting and encouraging dangerous rhetoric against disenfranchised people. This video is the result of months of tensions between underrepresented and marginalized students and any other student who found themselves unconcerned or in agreement with the Trump wall.

That event never should have happened in the first place. The fact that the university allowed the erection of that Trump wall contributed greatly to the animosity toward students of color manifested in the last few days.

The women in the video are members of my community. The black community. A coalition of students of color. Of underrepresented people who do not feel their concerns are being heard or that they are wanted and safe on this campus.

As of now, the creator of the video remains unknown, since the video was leaked on an anonymous account. But students of color are weary and disheartened by the constant incidents of microaggression, minimization and marginalization that occur day in and day out.

“Our community is tired,” Black Student Union President Chijioke Emeka said. “And our community is tired of feeling tired.”

She explained that the actions, or lack thereof, made by the administration caused the black community to feel neglected.

“Value is placed on things and people that matter,” Emeka said. “We need WSU to know and show us that we matter.”

The university needs to take an active role in reconditioning the environment of our school into a safe and sanctuary place for students of color. We have earned our places in higher education like everyone else and we deserve to pursue our studies without being harassed.

Although we will continue to be resilient about combating racial incidents such as the spread of this video, we shouldn’t have to.

Correction: This column has been edited to reflect that there is no evidence a student produced this video.