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Story 49

Third Year

College of Education & College of Liberal Arts

White

“Today in my history class, I overheard an older gentleman, ex-military, talk about how the United States wasn’t racist because we voted in Obama and Obama is black. He continued to explain how he would gladly kill all those Muslims again. That he would willingly kill all those ISIS people without any problem. This isn’t that solution. It is part of the Islamic faith that you don’t kill anything without a purpose, even an animal unless its for eating. You don’t destroy churches or buldings of anykind. Not all christians are members of the KKK so why are we blaming the actions of a radical group on a entire religion.”

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Story 48

Fifth Year Senior

College of Liberal Arts

Black

“Understand it’s not the overt racism that weighs on you the most. Those are instances, moments in time. It’s the ever-present racial insensitivity. It’s not the people screaming ‘niggers!’ at you from a pickup truck on State St., it’s knowing that no one cares. No one but you and the other ~3% black student population can be bothered with that happening. It’s me and my best friend almost getting into a fight at a fraternity because one of the brothers called us ‘niggas’ (which he insured us was a term of endearment. It wasn’t.) and have literally everyone we knew at the frat (which was a lot of guys) tell us we were overreacting and dismissed it as the guy being a drunk idiot. It’s the noose hanging from The Great Tree (a known structure for Black Greeks and other organizations to meet up and publicize) and for two whole weeks we were called ungrateful and crybabies and told how nooses weren’t actually a threat in the opinions section of The Exponent. It’s the very palpable racial tension both Obama was elected as President and seeing racial slurs written in chalk all over campus for the weeks that followed. It’s some white guy thinking that the way to hit on my black friend at a party was to rap Tupac lyrics at her and lie and say he was from Gary to get some street cred. It’s all the black folks getting kicked out of Jake’s because people fought in there and one of the people fighting was also black. It’s getting to the Black history section of Racial/Ethnic Diversity and having the Grad Asst. single me out as the voice on all things Black (She asked if it was okay a few classes later, though). It’s knowing that any day, at any time, you could be the target of violence just because your skin color makes you stand out. It’s the apathy of the faculty, law enforcement, and general population of Purdue, West Lafayette, and Lafayette that hurts the most and it why something has to be done. This is par for the course for most of my black friends who went/go to Purdue, but I wonder how many of my non-Black friends are even aware this stuff goes on.” -Nico Caldwell

Story 47

Graduate Student

College of Liberal Arts

Latino, Mexican

“I was teaching a class that dealt heavily with concepts of culture. I assigned my students a paper in which they had to discuss a cultural issue by pulling from several factors, including historical components. One of my students (a white male) expressed interest in writing about the shooting of Michael Brown and the events in Ferguson. Seeing how motivated he was, I encouraged it and he even came to office hours to discuss his paper. I offered him sources when he asked for them and made him aware about some of the assumptions he was making about this case. For instance, he could not understand why the protesters were looting and I sat down with him and I remember we looked through a few articles, some written by a few of the activists in Ferguson, where outrage was expressed at individuals who took advantage of the situation to loot. Basically, I was trying to get him to realize that he was making an assumption about this case that was incorrect. I wanted him to take a step back and examine factual information. Despite providing him with what I thought were credible sources and multiple opportunities to sit down and talk, the student turned in a paper in which he discussed that he didn’t understand all the uproar over Michael Brown’s shooting. He talked about how Brown was at fault for having stolen cigarettes. I don’t even understand what he did with the references and discussions we had.
This was one of a few incidents. I have also received racist responses in exams and other written assignments from other students. The most frustrating part was when the students don’t understand why their responses were offensive.”

Story 46

Alumnae and Former Employee

College of Liberal Arts

Black

“After working at the University for several years with dreadlocks. My hair was always, no matter what the style. I cut my hair and then had an afro. I cut my hair very very short and that is when the comments in my office started.

1. Are trying to reach out to your heritage?
2. Its about time you got a more professional look. Its less aggressive.
3. So are you going to grow it back straight this time?
and so and so forth.

That’s just the comments about my hair. When I was expecting my youngest child, an announcement was made in my office. I was married at the time, not that it should matter. An older, white male colleague came into my office and said “Don’t you know folks know where babies come from yet?”

These comments were made while working at Purdue. A countless number of other microaggressions transpired as student. A male friend of mine who was an international student from a country where English is the main language repeatedly gets asked where he is from, and then comments about how well he speaks English. I could go on and on, but I’m writing during my short work break.

I will say this…Purdue called recently to ask me to donate as an Alum. I informed them that I cannot in good faith give to a university that does not see a point in creating a accepting environment for people like me.”

Story 45

Graduate Student

College of Health and Human Sciences

Asian, Korean-American

“My sophomore year I was walking alone by some restaurants, and a car full of college-aged boys yelled, “Kon’nichiwa!” I was minding my own business. The fact that I experienced the incident alone just added to the seclusion I was already feeling. There were so many times I used to wish I was white so I would stop standing out.

I read another experience posted on a Facebook page. An Indian student was walking past a fraternity when they yelled, “It smells like curry!” while a group of girls behind the student started laughing.

These were incidents when the person(s) displaying racism barely said anything at all, but the few words they did say were full of ignorance, hate, and fear. It just isn’t humane to make others feel inferior because the way their eyes look or the color of their skin.

It’s unfortunate, but often times minitorities need someone from the majority to help speak for them. Someone that others who look like him/her will look to for leadership. Mitch, we’re the minority and we’re hurting. Please do something.”

Story 44

Graduate Student

College of Pharmacy

Asian, Chinese

“I went out to the bars on a Friday night with friends. While waiting in line at Harry’s, the people behind me start doing the slanted eye gesture at me. I’m the only Asian in line so it was obviously directed at me. I ignore it as this happens quite often. We make our way into Harry’s and it’s clearly packed. I’m trying to squeeze through to buy a drink and I hear “ching chong ching chong” from a couple white guys to my right. Once again, I’m the only Asian around so I know it’s directed at me. I ignore it and move on. After the night ended, I’m walking home and more racist remarks are yelled my way from a couple white guys driving a pickup truck. They yelled “eggroll” and “go back to your country”. This makes it 3 isolated events on this particular night. I’ve never felt so foreign and disrespected in any place I’ve lived or traveled to. This is coming from an Asian male who was born in New York and raised in Detroit. Being at Purdue has desensitized me to racism. At one point I had plans of staying in Indiana to practice as a pharmacist. My experience at Purdue has changed my mind. I had some interviews this year and was very excited to take the first offer sending me out of Indiana.”

Story 43

Second Year

Krannert School of Management

Black

“It was my first summer at Purdue and I was taking 11 credit hours of classes as part of the Business Opportunity Program. One random Saturday afternoon, I was walking down State Street from Harrison on my way to Hicks Undergraduate Library to get research done for whatever project I needed to complete that weekend. I had my headphones in as I walked down the street. A pickup truck full of white guys was driving in my direction. A couple of the guys in the car motioned for me to remove my headphones while the car slowed to a crawl. The moment I did, I heard of chorus of “Nigger,” “You don’t belong here,” and “You’re ugly,” etc. The moment I stopped walking, the car sped away. I had done absolutely nothing to warrant this treatment except walk to the library. Thanks Purdue, Boiler Up.”

 

HowManyMoreFiresBook

Read the Book that was delivered to President Mitch Daniels at Purdue University. Over 100 pages of documented racism, discrimination, harassment, and hatred.

Story 42

Fourth Year

College of Engineering

Black, Haitain

“I have been experiencing racism at Purdue since my freshman year. My first year, as I walking back home one night, a white man rolled down his window as he was driving  to scream at me ” what’s up n_gga”. In addition, my freshman year in  my communication class, we were practicing our speech delivery by answering questions that would encourage us to be creative. One of the questions was ” if you could pick a color for the world, what would it be? “. somebody answered that question by saying that he would make the world white because he is racist.I believe he was trying to be funny so he quickly corrected himself by saying that he was joking. In a classroom where I was the only student of color, that made me very uncomfortable.The rest of the class died of laughter and the professor did not do anything about it.Some of my classmates gave me an awkward look when I caught them laughing earlier. I could have said something but I was so shocked that i spent the rest of the class trying to process was happened.Another experience that impacted me was when there was the Black lives matter Protests last year, more specifically the die-in. I have heard comments being made about  the protesters looking  like speed bumps on the streets. My team mates were expressing their frustration because they said that they had to go to class and “these people” were blocking the streets for their stupid protest .Obviously,raising awareness against the violence and injustices towards African American or marching for the people who have lost their lives because of police brutality is a “stupid protest”. The talk is is all about diversity;but Is it really about inclusion ?”

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