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academic institutions continue to abuse black students

January 27, 2020
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It’s no secret, surprise, or revelation that Black Americans face micro and macro racist aggressions throughout most aspects of their lives. Whether it’s in the form of housing discrimination, over-policing, the school-to-prison pipeline, or advancement limitation in the workplace, these forms of racism and discrimination are not new, but they are always worth calling out. At schools across the county, Black students, at universities and in high schools, are being harassed and punished by administrators and faculty meant to facilitate safer learning environments for all students. And the racial implications behind these interactions should not be ignored.

At Ball State University a white professor named Shaheen Borna chose to call the police on a Black student after they refused to change seats in the class. This, in addition to just being absurd, demonstrates the disproportionate lengths in which white people are willing to go to control and punish Black people. University officials have reportedly implanted a corrective plan of action to prevent something like this from happening again. “This choice was a gross error of judgment, and it was simply an unwarranted overreaction,” said Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns in an open letter on Thursday. “The classroom is a special place. It is a place of invigorated learning, and it should always be a welcoming environment for all of our students. In the incident this week, we did not meet that important standard.”

At Texas Christian University, a Black student identified as Jane Doe No. 1 alleges that she suffered “emotional distress” and even contemplated suicide following a trip to Washington, D.C., with the university’s honors college last year. The joint lawsuit, TCU’s John v. Roach Honors College, also contains allegations from two other Black students who claim their invitation to attend the D.C. trip was used to “tokenize” them for the benefit of the university’s “diverse” image.

The Atlanta Black Star reports, that Doe, an Oklahoma native who transferred to TCU with a 4.0 GPA in 2018, goes on to allege that she was the victim of racist comments and racial harassment from school staff. In the lawsuit, she names Diane Snow, dean of the honors college, as someone who assaulted Doe and mistreated her on several occasions. The list of allegations go on and demonstrate what the lawsuit claims are a culture of marginalizing Black students in “segregated and dehumanized” conditions.

So, I suppose it’s not a huge surprise that high school students in Texas are likewise being discriminated against based on their race and ethnicity. Last week, we reported on high school senior DeAndre Arnold who is being blocked from walking at his graduation unless he cuts his hair. This week, DeAndre’s 16-year-old cousin Kaden Bradford, a sophomore at Barbers Hill School has been on an at-home suspension since last week for the same reason. Their school is purposefully preventing students from learning and participating in academic celebrations they earned with their hard work. In other words, another way of dehumanizing these your Black students.