Racism is unacceptable behavior, has no place at SDSU

Issue: Racist graffiti directed at Native Americans has ignited conversation about racism in our community.


The graffiti written on the bathroom wall of Brown Hall Sept. 28 represents one of the more shameful moments in SDSU’s recent history. It was hurtful, it was wrong and it goes to show that even in the 21st century we have some ignorant cowards on our campus.

According to 2011 Board of Regents data, SDSU’s Native American students made up 2 percent of the overall student population. That means 98 percent of the student body likely doesn’t understand what it means to be Native American. It would be like going to a tribal college and being one of about 20 white students in a school of 1,000. Even then, it’s hard to understand what it would be like to come to a school like SDSU in that position.

This is one of the few reported incidents but it’s hardly isolated. Incidents of racism toward Native American students — or any other minority on our campus, for that matter — are more common than we’d like to admit. They put up with racial epithets all the time. This incident represents the perfect time for this university community to say openly and vocally that it rejects racism in any form. As a campus community, if we don’t stand up to racism, who will?

Ignorant cowards like those who wrote these remarks on a bathroom wall, anonymously in the middle of the night, have no place at this university.

Few schools celebrate the traditions of Native Americans like we do. Our Native American community and its heritage are something to be proud of.

The university has not been upfront about what was written on that bathroom stall outside of calling it a matter of “racial harassment and intimidation.” Their response has been quick and they should be commended for it but the story goes much further than that. We ran the racist remarks in full this week because the situation should be out in the open and discussed honestly. (The word is blacked out on the front cover photo because we wouldn’t want a young child to recognize the word.)

Much like other recent debates about discourse and inclusion on this campus, conversations about racism against Native Americans or any minority group must be had. Those conversations must be honest, they must be open and above all they cannot shy away from the reality of the situation. If it makes you uncomfortable, it should. Fear can only be overcome by being faced head on.


Stance: Racism is unacceptable on this or any university campus. The time is now for us as students to openly reject racism.