Letter: A response to Bernel Bayliss and racism

Amanda Hefner, Staff Writer

I have spent the last week feeling deeply disappointed and disgusted in light of the recent, racially charged events that have happened at UND.

I am currently a senior. I have called this school home for three years and I refuse to accept racism on campus as being “no surprise” and let something like this identify my university or myself.

Now, I need to make it very clear and say that I will never know what it feels like to face oppression, hatefully charged bullying or social inequality.

I have never walked in those shoes and I won’t even try to pretend that I have any notion of what it is like.

I can only speak for myself — and I, quite personally, am repulsed and I refuse to turn a blind, ignorant eye when incidents like this happen.

I am incredibly upset that this nauseating incident made national and global news, since many people who have never heard of the University of North Dakota are now going to associate our identity with one of ignorance and hatred.

I think all students should be deeply bothered that this is where our current reputation is heading.

In the previous letter to the editor, Bernel Bayliss suggests that North Dakota is the “Alabama of the north” and mentions that nobody at UND should be surprised that these acts of racism happened on campus.

So my question is this. Why aren’t people more shocked and surprised?

Why aren’t people more upset about this?

We absolutely cannot accept this as being normal.

When an act of bullying or hatred happens to another student, regardless or color, we need to stand up for them and figure out the reason behind it.

Additionally, after the photo sharing that happened last week, we need to acknowledge the fact that racism is an obvious issue in our society.

It isn’t something that just happens in major cities far away from us, it is an issue that is happening right here on our campus and is unfortunately, for lack of a better term, being tolerated as “normal.”

So let me say this to my fellow classmates.

We are in college. This is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. But apparently, not all of us are capable in conducting ourselves in an educated manner.

So, I am calling upon all UND students to inform yourselves. Rise to the challenge and end the stigma. Act with love, positivity, understanding and kindness.

We need to take the time to listen and discuss why these issues of     racism still exist rather than keep pretending that they don’t.

Regardless of major, gender, class, race or where we come from, we have a responsibility to be educated, kind, decent human beings.

We have a responsibility to represent not only ourselves, but also our university.

We have a responsibility to bring our fellow classmates and peers up.

We have a responsibility as human beings to be compassionate.

We have a responsibility to call out acts like this when they (regrettably) do happen.

We have the opportunity to make ourselves and our campus better — so let’s start working on it.