Swamy is not for Black Lives

“Dignity & respect,” “Hate Has No Home,” “Be Revolutionary,” and all other phrases don’t mean ANYTHING unless you back them up.


Pointless emails without any real teeth behind them. That is what I’ve come to expect from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, especially after hate crimes or other attacks happen. This problem isn’t limited to this institution, it’s a national issue. However, I’d like to focus on UMass for this piece. Last night, the Vice Chancellor of Equity & Inclusion, Dr. Nefertiti Walker, released an email in response to a vile, racist email sent out by the UMass Coalition for a Better Society, which seems to be a white supremacist organization that revealed itself with said email. 


What does it mean for someone like me, that has a major in which I hope to make changes with, to see year after year the countless ways in which white people with such hate in their hearts get away with things like this? Year after year since I’ve been here there have been incidents of racism and the way the university has responded has been poor, lackluster, disappointing, yet unsurprising every time. Each year it feels as though I do not matter on this campus, that my Blackness is something to be minimized, destroyed, feared, disgusted. I chose African-American Studies because I want to do what I can to change the world and make it better than how I found it. It is difficult work but I believe in it, and I aspire to this so that others don’t have to struggle. 


The email released by Dr. Walker laid out what happened with the email, but also highlighted other incidents that students weren’t aware of: “In addition, there have been other acts of anti-Black hate imposed on our community through the “Contact Us” online forms of registered student organizations, as well as an incident involving the offender driving by and yelling an anti-Black racist epithet at a group of Black students”. It’s interesting to me that there have been multiple incidents on this campus, AGAIN, and yet the student body was not notified until after an op-ed was published.


“All of these anti-Black racist acts run in stark contrast to who we strive to be, which is a campus where all students are welcomed and feel a strong sense of belonging. We condemn all acts of anti-Black racism and will work to diminish their intent to cause harm to Black students on campus.” Yet the opposite is true because this institution has consistently proven time & again they do not care about Black lives, never have, and never will. If they did, they would’ve investigated harder after Melville and the countless other hate crimes since, and way before as well. This school only cares about how much money it can take in and the ratings to which it can aspire to reach. My life does not matter on this campus, and to be quite honest I don’t think it ever has. However, I know I matter, I know my life is worth something, and no amount of hate can take that from me. 


Since the days that students & faculty had to fight for the W.E.B. DuBois Department of African-American Studies, Black people on this campus have had to fight every day of our lives to have any kind of a say on this campus. We take up space wherever we are, we dominate, and the white people that subscribe to this level of hate seem to be afraid of that. Y’all know we’re the shit and so you try to demean and belittle us to mask your lack of self-confidence & self-worth. Take a look in the mirror and you’ll realize that you’re talking about yourselves when you say what you do. You are insecure, vile, disgusting cowards that don’t deserve to be on a college campus or in society. Go crawl back into the hole you came out of, I don’t want you around me. You are a threat to my education, and I want you gone.


My issue here is not with Walker but with the Chancellor, in that he could not find the time to make a statement himself so he passed the buck. The man does not care about Black people or marginalized communities as a whole, never has, never will. He has only ever cared about that which can get him more money & more power. In his response to the sexual assault allegations stemming from Theta Chi, he chose to focus on the acts of violence that occurred rather than being there for survivors. It’s like Kanye said after Katrina, “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people”. The same can be said about Chancellor Subbaswamy and those that allow for this behavior to continue. If things go unchecked, they could potentially get worse. UMass Amherst must find the perpetrators and get them expelled from the institution immediately, and to make it unequivocally clear that racists do not belong on this campus. The RJC list of demands that was sent out to them in the summer of 2020 needs to be implemented IMMEDIATELY. How much more needs to happen before something is done?


UMass admin, Chancellor Subbaswamy: do better. Be better. “Dignity & respect”, “Hate Has No Home”, “Be Revolutionary”, and all other phrases don’t mean ANYTHING unless you back them up.




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