Fifth Year Senior

College of Liberal Arts


“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