MSU- My University?
I’ve tried to write this letter many times, and each time I closed my word processor in disgust at the atrocities being leveled towards me.
I told myself to ignore it, not to bother myself with the ignorance of others and to rise above it, but I can no longer do so in good conscience.
In 2009 I left my small island home to come to Wichita Falls soley for the purpose of attending Midwestern State University. Before I left I was warned that Texas was a red state, full of rednecks, cowboys and racism.
However, I chalked it all up to stereotyping and ignored it. To my pleasure I had never been confronted with any open issues of racism on MSU’s campus or in Wichita Falls for that matter.
That was until the summer of 2012. What started as just another day of idle chatter on Twitter gave me a glimpse of exactly how some students at MSU view their international student population.
There’s an account on Twitter dubbed @MWSUproblems for students to vent their frustrations about the school and college life in general.
The initial concept intrigued me so I followed the account, but my enthusiasm quickly faded.
Amid issues about parking and the police officers’ new vehicles, some students seem to be quite perturbed by their Caribbean population or ‘the Caribs’ as we’re so fondly called.
It started with an offhand, albeit offensive comment about one particular student’s penchant for dressing up like a cowboy and spiraled into complaints about undeserved grades and other charges. The topic even spurned its own hashtag, #blametheCaribs.
Apparently, some of the people I share a classroom with as intellectual equals think my fellow Caribbean students and I need to be ‘put in our place.’ (something @Marty_Party465 claims to have done.)
And according to @NathanDubose, even the admissions department has grown tired of our presence. Is this what administrators think of its Caribbean population?
Would they prefer not to have international students at all, or just not ones from the Caribbean?
This incident also speaks to a wider issue of ignorance on campus. Ignorance of other cultures, and an unwillingness to learn.
I always thought that education was about broadening one’s horizons and learning about a world outside of your own, as opposed to merely getting a degree.
But I suppose that must be a Caribbean thing. I for one, would be interested to know what our administrators think of @mwsuproblems and whether or not the account was sanctioned to use the school’s acronym and a picture of Hardin tower.
Perhaps the Office of Student Development would be interested in holding a panel discussion on the way Americans view other cultures, modern-day racism, or ethnocentrism on a whole.
Raisa S.N. Charles
PROUD Caribbean Student