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Summer of 2020 was a season of injustice and civil unrest. Black American’s were murdered in their own homes and in the streets of their neighborhoods. Yet, their murderers walked away scott-free. In response, we saw many forms of activism: art activism, community activism, and performative. Universities and organizations wrote elegantly worded statements to post along with their black square on #BlackoutTuesday. Coming back to campus, one question stands. Will these same institutions uphold their promises to Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) when the threats and aggressions occur in their own community? 

Since being back on campus at Florida International University, two public incidents of racism have been brought to FIU’s attention. The first being two white athletes singing the n-word in a song. It wasn’t aimed at anyone or said maliciously. However, the black community of FIU and it’s supporters wanted FIU to make an example out of this situation. The administration could not disclose what actions were being taken due to Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), but expected us to trust them in serving the proper discipline. As they stated in their email response to the viral video of these two students, President Mark Rosenberg said, “We are committed to ensuring that each member of the university community is allowed to work or study in a supportive environment free from any form of illegal discrimination based on race, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, age, disability, national origin, marital status, and veteran status.”. 

Flash forward one month later, a video of an FIU Pre-Med student accumulates three million views after she is caught singing, “stupid n*gger h*e,” and twerking. While she claims it’s a lyric, it’s no excuse for saying the n-word with an extra hard r. She posts on instagram with no remorse and laughs at everyone who is disturbed by her actions. She confidently used one of the biggest inexcusable racial slurs (possibly aimed at another person), and you would think Mr. Rosenberg would for sure put his foot down. His exact words from this summer were, “ The national unrest driven by the tragic death of George Floyd and the growing urgency to end institutional racism serve as a dynamic context for our challenges ahead.”. However, this “challenge” is placed before him and he says, “my expectation is that the student reflects on the message [of hate and ignorance].”. How do you expect someone to reflect on their bad behavior that goes unpunished? 

There are two issues with the attitude that FIU is giving to this incident. One being that the student was blatantly racist on camera and there’s no excusing that. On the other hand, she is a Pre-Med student with plans to go into the medical field. The mortality rate of black men and women are particularly high in healthcare. Their access and quality of healthcare is much different than a white man or woman. Khiara Bridges (writer for AmericanBar.Org) explains that black patients are given older and cheaper treatments than their counterparts. They are released from hospitals earlier than their counterparts and given harsher treatments such as amputations. Bridges says, “The argument is that if people of color are sicker and are dying at younger ages than white people, this may be because physicians have racial biases. Their biases cause them to give their patients of color inferior health care and, in so doing, contribute to higher rates of morbidity and mortality.”. It’s been considered that these racial biases are unconscious prejudices, meaning healthcare workers aren’t aware that their unconscious thoughts are affecting their  performance. Nonetheless, it’s not arguable that “ physicians’ implicit racial biases can account for racial disparities in health.”. 

This is a case of battling racism, but it’s also a case of framing the future. Universities create the framework for the future. The values and ethics that they demonstrate ultimately fall onto the students. To Florida International University, you make it your mission to be “Worlds Ahead”, but your attitude towards racial behaviors are centuries behind. Whether you or any other institution sees it or not, the response to hate and racism such as this situation will either contribute to the systemic racism in America or bring us one step closer to breaking the cycle.

FIU holds itself high on diversity and inclusivity.Yet, it fails to take action when the very people they utilize for photo ops and publicity call for them to not enable racist behavior. How much needs to get done before we feel as though student concerns are heard and taken seriously? I am disappointed to say the least

-FIU Marine Biology ’20

I honestly just want to state that we see you [FIU Administration] and what is happening around us. I am hurt and heartbroken that there is nothing being done to help us in the long run. I still hope that a change will come; nowadays I ask, will it?

-Zoe, FIU ’21

I believe it’s incredibly unfair to POC within the FIU community. This isn’t the first nor the last student. Furthermore, as an institution it ruins our trust and credibility within the surrounding community, and within the job market our graduating students will later have to navigate. It is truly a shame that these people are among the few permitted to access the resources we pay for and represent our university.

-FIU Architecture ’22




Hey y’all! My name is Avery Coffey and before you ask, I love coffee. I reside in Florida, but Kentucky is where my heart is. Coffee is one of my few addictions. I love creating and painting; there’s no other feeling than accomplishing a vision of your own. I’m studying Creative Writing at FIU and hope to get a certificate in Film Studies so I’ll have a purpose to analyze movies! I hope you’re able to find some guidance and helpful tips through my writing!
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