UMass: Cut the BS

As a young black man in America, racism is nothing new to me. I’ve dealt with it for a long time, and I will continue to deal with it and challenge the system that allows it to continue for as long as possible. It’s so ingrained in the culture of this country that to go against it means one is “un-American.” There will always be those that want things to go back to how things were when Black people and other marginalized communities were first fighting for the right to be recognized as human beings. I refuse to let that happen, I refuse to go backwards.


With that in mind, I bring to you all quotes from an email sent out to Black student organizations at UMass Amherst sometime between Sept. 8 and 9. First, a trigger warning due to the racist language, the vitriol, mentions of sterilization, anti-Black racism, and race baiting. Some of the language includes, “We look down upon you, we instantly know in all manners from your language which most of you still speak in some broken form of Ebonics or to ghetto-speak to where your from (third-world sewers in America bought and paid for by the us taxpayer) to how you live (like hoodrats) to how you appear (fro hair, big lips, black skin) you are different.” Cowards, spineless, disgusting cowards hiding behind an anonymous email that they think can protect them. It is infuriating, frustrating, disgusting, disheartening, makes me angry, somewhat fearful, and filled with regret.


That regret stems from not transferring sooner. Were it not for the classes I’ve taken thus far, the majors I’m in, the friends I’ve made, and more, I would have been gone as soon as possible. The hate, the vitriol, the anger, the sense of entitlement. None of it surprises me. I don’t expect the university to do much beyond give a generic statement like they usually do when things like this happen, put out resources and implore people to come forward with information. With something like this, though, people most likely won’t come forward willingly. Who would openly admit to being friends/acquaintances with white supremacists? Why would they? Another part reads “You should consider undergoing a surgical procedure to remove your gonads, thereby sparing human race exposure to your DNA.” 


Now I would love for someone to tell me that something such as that can’t lead to violence. That there aren’t people at this university (looking at you, straight white men) that could actually do something like this and get away with it. Writing this causes me pain, anguish, makes me fearful, and so much more. Speaking out here helps to alleviate some of those feelings. UMass must do better, things such as this cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Find out who did it, get them off this campus, implement the demands the Racial Justice Coalition sent to you all, and go from there. The university has an obligation to do right by it’s students, all of us, or the words Diversity, Equity & Inclusion don’t mean anything.


UMass: do better. For shame that you call yourselves “the flagship” because what that really means is that you act that way for white people and white people only. Say that. Own it. Or do something about it. White people: do better. Wasn’t it enough to have slavery, genocide, Jim Crow segregation, War on Poverty, War on Drugs, mass incarceration, police brutality? How much more do you want? I am tired. I am tired. I AM TIRED. I won’t stop fighting for what’s right, though. Ever.


Email Zach at [email protected].




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