UI students speak out about racism in the community

In the wake of Nazi graffiti being found on campus, students share their thoughts on racism at UI

Often at the University of Iowa we believe we are marooned on an island of equality. We live in one of the most culturally balanced cities in Iowa, and everyday we brush shoulders with races from all over the world. Yet time and time again we see the perpetrators of racism communicated by vandals within campus borders.

On the morning of Sunday March 15th, phones buzzed across Iowa City alerting students that Nazi graffiti was found, defacing the campus unity mural, in the Pedestrian tunnel on the West side of campus.

Last fall on August 19th, 2017 swastikas were found in both Catlett and Hillcrest residence halls. Police investigations are still underway in both reports.

Vandalism like this communicates ideals of hatred to the University of Iowa's large demographic diverse students, faculty and staff. So why do we still confront this issue in today's diverse and modern world? I asked some of my fellow Hawkeyes what their thoughts on the issue were.

Lyric Harris, 21, a senior at the University of Iowa, is from Galesburg, Illinois. As a black woman, Lyric feels that white supremacists are threatened by the confidence within minority groups and seek to silence them.

"I think the rise of confidence in minorities is what is presenting the rise in white supremacist groups, they feel the need to be overly aggressive in vocalizing their opinions to bring down minorities. The fact that our community is so supportive of minorities is what's causing this conflict," Lyric said.

"There's good people and there's bad people. We have an issue with diversity, and we need to bring different minority groups here, but also, we need to make them feel comfortable here.

"What the University of Iowa needs to think about, is not just giving resources to minority groups to advance in their own identity, but providing resources focused on mending their own knowledge base on the majority group, and educating the majority on the minority group, on ways we can work together."

Jose Lopez, 21, is of Urbandale, Iowa. Jose is also a senior at UI this year, and identifies as a Mexican gay male.

"Me being a minority myself, I'm offended and shocked there are people like that here in our own community," Jose said.

"There is a wealth of diversity here, so to have people that carry such deep rooted hatred towards people, and the fact that there are so many that could be potentially targeted… it's scary."

Kyle Anderson, 22, feels that racist vandalism on campus becomes more alarming when the ideals are aimed at YOU. Kyle is a native of Mason City, Iowa.

"It all takes on a deeper meaning when you're a target," Kyle, who identifies as a White gay male, said.

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