Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Missouri Students Learning From Ferguson and Baltimore

It took a number of tactics to get the administrative body to see that there was a race issue on the campus of Missouri's flagship university.  Let's see...there were complaints, there were protests, there was even a hunger strike; however no action was more vital than the university's football team's refusal to be a part of scheduled athletic activities. It was simply a method of hitting them where it hurts; and the place where it always hurts the most is in the wallet.

During the past number of months at the University of Missouri, black students had been exposed to maltreatment ranging from being called nigger to visuals of feces-decorated swastikas on campus walls. However, all matters that were reported to the school's administration was taken as lightly as a 3rd grade Valentine's Day exchange.  It's been a year since the incident involving Michael Brown in which the unarmed teenager was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police.  In similar fashion, the university's approach was just as insensitive. 

Somehow, the young men on the University of Missouri's football team knew that the movement would be even more effective if they made a statement themselves.  The decision to boycott the sport (which pays the athletes' tuition) proved to be a deciding factor in effort to get the university to understand that a problem does exist on campus.  It's estimated that the school would have lost nearly $2 million dollars had the team refused to play their game on Saturday versus BYU.  One million dollars of that amount would have gone directly to the opposing school. 

It was also only months ago when people were questioning the validity of several protests in Baltimore regarding the brutal death of Freddie Brown at the hands of the city's police.  The questioning ceased  only days after the protests when the city's administration charged the officers involved with manslaughter and other serious crimes.  All it took was the mere thought that the city's own people would be hindering Baltimore's ability to make money from visitors, in addition to the money already lost trying to protect its Downtown and neighboring area.  Quite similarly, $2 million dollars and a solid reputation was simply too much to lose for Missouri's chief university.

Will the racial tension in Missouri cease to exist?  Perhaps not.  Will the university's administration be more attentive to the needs and demands of it's minority students?  Well, as long as the majority of its football team is black. One thing is for certain, however; every Missouri student has now completed an unexpected non-degree seeking course in both business and sociology.  Apparently, when it comes to race relations, the two subjects go hand in hand.

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