A Reply To Racism


Augustana has a problem. A problem with minority groups. If you think about it, you could say Augustana has always had this problem – a small town and Lutheran roots don’t exactly foster diversity. But that isn’t all of it. The real issue is that it’s been a 100 years and we’re still acting like we’re in 1910 and Augustana is still a tiny, Christian, mostly white college.
This year, Augustana has seen its largest percentage of international students ever – a whopping 15%. But just last week, there was an incident involving ResLife and the cafeteria that very much echoed a black face incident that occurred on campus not too long ago.
The lack of tact and disrespect that led up to this incident (which involved a series of racist posters distributed across the cafeteria – posters that evoked centuries of colonizing sentiments about people of colour being compared to animals) was astounding. And bizarre. One has to wonder why a 15% international student population was not enough to make the parties responsible think twice about going through with it.
The posters weren’t necessarily done in bad faith, but impacts are always bigger than intentions. To many students, it felt like a stab at their very existence on campus; as if their school was mocking them; as if it were a crime for them to be dissatisfied with the food they paid to eat.
The fallout from this incident went well beyond the walls of the cafeteria. Students began to gather, they began to share stories of their mistreatment and discrimination, most of it from Augustana staff – the very people they’d expected respect and protection from. The one thing these students had in common? They were all minority groups.
The events that transpired eventually led to a healing circle and an official apology from the university. But while all of this went on, many students began to realise something. Something people like us have known for a long time. Something that I, too, have been forced to acknowledge: you can only find solidarity from people like yourself.
These students banded together to demand change. They organised and attended meeting after meeting of the Diversity Working Group, and came together to support and heal one another in a way that no one else would. They did their part. Now we have to ask ourselves: when is Augustana going to take care of its problem?

How Racist Will Your Halloween Not Be?


Some people don’t understand cultural appropriation exists and once someone who is a minority explains it, suddenly they’re not friends with you. These cultural appropriators don’t understand that it’s not our fault they like to steal other cultures and expect us to understand and be okay with a whole becoming a joke to them. Now that Halloween’s coming up, we have these cultural appropriators coming to steal the spirit of Halloween once again. I mean if you can pretend to be a part of a minority group for a day, clearly you can have the acting skills to be fake woke too.

To those of you who are acting fake woke, this is for you:

First of all, to those thinking that a costume being online already means people of that group approved of it need to be stopped. Just because you can buy a kidney online, you don’t see the Canadian National Medical Association saying it’s morally acceptable. Cultural appropriation can be confirmed in three steps:

1. Do you know the meaning behind the article of clothing you are wearing?

2. Did you buy it from the group in question?

3. Are you wearing it to act as or mimic a group for a holiday meant for scary or ridiculous attire?

So now, for all you cultural appropriators out there who say they just love *insert culture here* so much, what is your criteria for how you pick and choose what part of the culture you appreciate? Why are you here for the stereotypes and imitations, but not when *ahem* racist stereotypes play out *ahem* discussions of slavery offend you, or (my favourite) when reverse racism is an issue. I mean if something offends you, we are willing to listen, but are you will to do the same? Especially when it comes to My Whole Culture? Your feelings may be hurt, but my ancestry and life is being impacted by your intention to celebrate a holiday meant for us all. I mean, if you’re really inclusive let’s celebrate together, not offend each other.  

We know you don’t wake up to be that asshole, but let’s face it, your intent to have fun doesn’t equate to the impact of minorities not having fun. So for this Halloween we got some quick tips for your next costume. You could go as a Kitkat because your friends deserve a break; maybe that moth meme so you can find the light; or even as a playstation so you can keep playing those games.

So the next time you are stacking cups in the cafeteria and you hear someone say something like “I might dress up like I’m going to a lua out for halloween”, you can use your handy three-step tips we gave and not only educate, but pop off if necessary. Now go forth, and pop off with purpose, ‘cause everyone deserves an ally during these trying times of cultural appropriation.