The Power of Word


Christina Genovese

The University of New Haven’s Black Student Union, with other members of the student body, gathered to have a discussion addressing racism. This was an important and serious conversation, especially the day after Election Day, as members shared their thoughts on the future of racism in America.

This open discussion was held in the Alumni Lounge on November 9 at 8:30 p.m. It definitely fell ito place as being held at the right time to unite together following such a divide in our nation. Students communicated about topics like economic inequality, common prejudices, white privilege, and opinions on the election outcome.

All discussion topics centered on racism and why it happens. Members agreed that many Americans think it is okay to say and do whatever they want in complete disregard to anyone’s feelings. Awareness needs to be brought to stop this oppression before it worsens immensely.

The group discussed Obama being elected versus now, and shared what had changed in the nation because of Obama. For example, any African American knowing that they can achieve the highest position of whatever it is they wanted to achieve. Now, many feel that the results of the election will cause America to take steps backwards from equality. Prejudices were brought up, which led into a discussion on how generational racism played a part in voting.

Briana Young, member of BSU, shared, “There will NEVER be a leveled playing field.”

There was a video presented on how “Anybody Can Be Racist,” which showed an experiment about how all different races can be racist toward each other. The follow up discussion was on why this happens, and how it can be prevented if people just decided to think differently. People need to have a different basis for their decisions instead of having discrimination toward a different race.

Another video was shown, where an experimenter held up a Black Lives Matter sign and an All Lives Matter sign in different neighborhoods to see reactions. Students then shared reactions to the pretty flawed experiment and how the research could have been conducted in a different way.

BSU member Sierrah Nicole Smalls, shared, “I hope people realize that when they say All Lives Matter that they are really oppressing those of us who have lost family members and friends to police brutality.”

Mackenzie Upshaw, BSU President, shared, “The ‘R’” word discussion was something planned back in the summer; however, I feel it could not have come at a better time following the Election. I feel this was a time to unite the campus after such a divide in our country. Students were able to add input on the elections while also learning about other cultures and the derogatory terms used towards them and what stereotypes are attached. Students were open to both listening and speaking which is the prime goal for any organization hosting an event.”

BSU holds discussions like this throughout the semester that are open to the student body. Anyone can be a part of these discussions, and it is important that more people start having conversations like this and becoming aware of those oppressed around them.