“Like a sleeping giant,” Activate “rears its head,” reads the student group’s first Facebook post of the school year on Oct. 27 after almost six months of silence. In this post, Activate showed a female APU student’s Instagram picture of herself and four other women dressed up as Juan Direction.
Activate stated in its post, “This is not merely an issue of ‘diversity’ or ‘racial insensitivity’ this is RACISM.”
The post was seen by many APU students, and people both for and against the post had something to say.
Racial insensitivity is real, Activate, but it is not always intentional.
Racism is intentional—but racial insensitivity is not.
This type of insensitivity should definitely be dealt with, but not like this. Whether you see it as such or not, this post was an attack on these young women’s character.
This was cyber bullying.
Internet activism is the latest thing, and although social media is a good platform to get your message across, that does not give you or anyone else the right to demean another human being by publicly chastising them on social media.
Fighting against racism and stereotypes is always a worthy cause, but not at the cost of doing damage to others.
These outfits may have caused offense, but that does not mean that the women in costume were being blatantly racist. These women were not trying to say that Mexicans were less human than white people.
As a Mexican American woman, it is my right not to be offended and it is others’ right to be offended, but no amount of offense justifies the measures taken here. No one is taking racial insensitivity seriously, because people are now sensitive about anything and everything. No one can address it properly, because they are attempting to address everything instead of picking their battles.
“I think Activate should be disbanded,” junior vocal performance major Mekela Tyler said. “Activate is nothing more than a group of overly sensitive individuals looking to make an issue out of nothing.”
In its post, Activate said it “rears its head,” but where are its members’ faces? People fighting against racism have always put their names behind their cause. If you are unwilling to put your name to what you believe, then the cause loses its meaning.
There shouldn’t be an intentional effort to keep hidden, because in order to win the war, someone needs to show up.
APU Assistant Art and Design Professor Brent Everett Dickinson disagreed with the mode of the Activate response.
“While these students actions do seem to suggest a cultural insensitivity, it seems to me that Activate should utilize a more responsible platform to mount their protest,” Dickinson said.
On Activate’s post, Mahala Hughes said, “It’s time that students of color on APU’s campus are alleviated of the burden of always being the educators about racism. Students of color have repeatedly carried the weight of educating white students on APU’s campus.”
However, if not us, then who?
Racism stems from ignorance, and one can’t expect people who don’t know about an issue to fix it. Educating about racism is not a burden, it is a reality. It is a reality that people like Martin Luther King Jr. have been fighting against for years.
They didn’t make all the progress they did by bringing white America down, but by educating and loving through nonviolence.
Above all, they were heard and they were firm, but they did not bully, and they did not hide behind a computer screen.
It is not our job to throw around the racist label to those who don’t understand what it is like to live in the absence of privilege.
It is our job to overcome that privilege and make a better way, not just for ourselves, but for future generations. Martin Luther King, Jr. only dreamed about the world we live in; he never got to see it the way we’re seeing it, but that doesn’t make his struggle and his fight any less valid. If anything, it makes him even more of a hero because he fought for the future.
Dear Activate, let’s fight for the future. Let’s pick our battles and let’s continue to be educators, because, I ask again, if not us, then who?
Show this campus your faces so that we can truly start to make a change, because the longer you hide, the longer you’ll have to wait.