As a black woman in a predominantly white university, I have faced my fair share of micro-aggressions and discriminatory presumptions.
The white girls in my service organization using their “black girl accent” to joke about the homeless women that they serve.
The people at an off-campus party who urged that my friends and I teach them how to twerk.
The public safety officer letting the group of sorority girls in to the back gates but confronting my significant other and I as we try to enter back into the university.
The Yik Yak posts dehumanizing black students and threatening to kill us.
And perhaps even more insidiously, the black men referring to black dark-skinned women as manly, unattractive, and undesirable.
#thishappenshere Through individualized racism like the internalized horizontal kind that divides my community, or the white kids categorizing me into limited tropes.
But #thishappenshere also refers to the institutionalized racism; the fact that we only have 5.6% Black population, the fact that we have no Ethnic Studies/American Diversity requirement, the fact that our institutionalized support consists of one man, far too busy to attend to all of our complex needs.
Students at University of Missouri who are enduring racist trauma, are utilizing hashtags as tools to spread information about their circumstances.
Stephen Crockett describes the impact of the hashtag for inspiring collective action at campuses nationwide in his article, Everything we Know about the University of Mo. Football Boycott for The Root. While the article mostly focuses on the impact that the football and economic boycott had on getting the president to resign, it also speaks on the origins of the #concernedstudent1950 hashtag. Students have utilized the hashtag #Concernedstudent1950, which refers to the students who organize for equitable learning environments for black students at the University of Missouri, and “the year that black students were first admitted to the 176-year-old university.” (Crockett).
In order to show love and solidarity for the black students at University of Missouri, college students nationwide and internationally have expressed messages of support via social media. Lily Workneh writes in College Students Across the Country Stand in Solidarity with Mizzou for HuffPost Black voices that, “Universities and colleges across the country shared their support for University of Missouri student activists Thursday by sharing a message of solidarity on social media.” Facebook is being utilized as a tool to vocalize one’s supposed “ally-ship” with those in Missouri.