Racism on College Campuses: It's Never a Joke

For the past few weeks, a viral video has gone around social media due to a racist comment made by members of The University of Georgia's Xi-Lambda Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon. The TKE members in the video made jokes about picking cotton, which obviously refer to slavery. UGA released a statement regarding the video and how the institution “condemns racism in the strongest terms.

 

The response to the whole situation and how UGA commented has been surprisingly varied. Some people don’t believe the school is doing enough to show it condemns racism, while others claim the people in the video shouldn’t be prosecuted at all because there should be freedom of speech on the campus. Either way, schools like UGA in the South have had a history with racial discrimination and oppression. Instead of trying to defend the people who are “joking” we should be trying to look at the bigger problem. 

 

Free speech doesn't mean a get out of jail free card for making racist statements. Making a joke out of an institution where Africans were brought from their homeland to be placed in bondage and enslaved over a field for the rest of there life has nothing to do with free speech. 

 

The video does show that the members were aware of what they were saying and the meaning behind it. There is no way to excuse what they were saying.

Many people want more to be done to prevent this from happening again.

 

Although Greek fraternities in the South say they are integrated, many fraternities in the South have been criticized for racism.

 

Exactly. It's not a joke—it has never been funny, and it never will be funny.

 

It is highly unlikely that these are the only people in the school or in the South or in the country who make jokes about this. No one is blaming a whole community for their actions; we are just being realistic that this situation represents a bigger problem.  

 

Again, it's not a joke.

People who comment that the students shouldn’t be punished for “joking around” are further reminders that the more we make excuses and allow this behavior on our campuses, the further we are from having a diverse and open college community. The remnants of the South's racial history still plague our schools. Many parents want to send their kids to a good school for a college education and should not have to worry about people on the campus making jokes about disgraceful things their own ancestors did. Minorities have spent hundreds of years oppressed, and in 2019 there is no reason for things like this to be happening.