I remember the first time I came to the University of Missouri. Pride could best describe the emotion I felt. I was the second one out of my five siblings to attend a major accredited university, and I was so proud to become a tiger.
I also remember the first time I was singled out for being a minority. I was simply standing on campus talking to a friend. It was a racist slur that I will never forget, and an experience shared by numerous other minorities on campus.
For years, the University of Missouri has prided itself on its vow to offer all students and staff a rich and inclusive learning environment. However, due to recent events, many people may question if true diversity lives here.
According to MU statistics, the total University enrollment by race and ethnicity for 2014 was 77 percent white non-Hispanics, compared to 23 percent minorities.
I came to Mizzou with a vision of greatness. Mizzou is one of the most well-known universities in the Midwest, and a much beloved destination for students who aspire to participate in one of its top programs.
Many students, just like me, enroll with the intention to come here and learn, grow and prepare for our futures. Instead we are faced with the cold reality that not everyone at Mizzou welcomes diversity.
The University of Missouri is known to be home of the legendary tigers. Like true tigers, the students are unique and display their own diverse sets of stripes. So why is it that recently so many people are punished for being diverse?
Being a minority (not just black) has never been easy. I feel that we will always have something to prove.
This year alone, many minority students have been faced with numerous outbursts of racist statements from their peers on campus.
Darrius Thurston, the activities chair for the Legion of Black Collegians, was one of the victims of the recent racial slurs hurled at the Legions of Black Collegians homecoming court. He argues that MU’s commitment to make each student feel as if they are true tigers is far from being accomplished.
“Racism and racial discrimination is very much alive, and it stems from the backgrounds of the students and the minds of those that are closed minded and unwilling to be curious or care about another culture or race,” Thurston said.
I believe that we are in a day and age where it is acceptable to be above racism or discrimination. We have all come to this institution to better ourselves and we all have the right to feel comfortable as a “True Tiger.”
“I know a lot of people constantly say we as minority students are said to have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves, because along with proving ourselves and our identities we are constantly having to teach people about our presence and why we feel as if we are important,” Thurston said.
Since the recent racial tensions occurring on campus, the University is making an effort to take a stand against injustices.
I understand that equality for the masses is not something that will happen overnight, but as of now, Mizzou is truly segregated. I understand many people are set in their ways and have the background and mindset to believe what they believe. I just merely hope for the day where diversity is simply people and people are simply diverse.