Racism on Campus

In light of recent protests on campus and around the country, The State News spoke to five black students to discuss racism on campus and the challenges they face. Below are just highlights of the multiple stories they had to share.

We encourage other students to share their stories as well, by posting to our Facebook page.

Alexis Adams
Humanities-pre-law junior

Humanities-pre-law junior Alexis Adams said she was sitting in class when someone approached her and said the unthinkable.

Adams said a girl in her class told her she is the reason that her friend didn’t get into MSU.

“I turned back around to her and told her affirmative action isn’t even legal in the state of Michigan so, if your friend didn’t get in, it’s not because of me,” Adams said.

Adams said the girl betted she had a lower GPA and test scores.

“I was, once again, really surprised because this is so blatantly ignorant and rude because she doesn’t know anything about me,” Adams said.

Joey Hemingway
Neuroscience senior

Neuroscience senior Joey Hemingway was leaving a probate when he experienced racism.

“I was going with some friends, three of them actually, three young ladies,” Hemingway said. “The thing is, the probate occurred in Kedzie. We didn’t even get a chance to turn off of Farm Lane to turn onto Shaw Lane because the officer stopped us immediately.”

The police officer retrieved every individual’s identification whom was in the car.

Hemingway said the police officer expressed that he was just checking on them to make sure they were not intoxicated because they had just left an event with mainly African-Americans in attendance.

“We all felt like we were dealt some type of injustice because we hadn’t done anything wrong,” Hemingway said.

Hemingway recognized this incident as covert racism.

“Covert racism is someone not being, just hinging you off, making racist remarks that aren’t necessarily, ‘Hey, you’re black,’” Hemingway said. “I would rather someone do that just because I know what to expect.”

Tia Thames
Advertising junior

Advertising junior Tia Thames worked in the cafeteria when she experienced racism.

“It was this group of white boys that would come in every Thursday and they would call me ‘Shaquonda’ and laugh,” Thames said. “They thought it was the funniest thing. They would change up the name sometimes and it would be like those stereotypical, black, ghetto names.”

Thames said she felt like she was in a compromising position because she was serving food, but never said anything because she didn’t want to seem like she couldn’t take a joke.

“It was a humiliating experience and I felt really uncomfortable and I hated working that shift,” Thames said. “They think it is being funny and it is really affecting someone to the point (when) it is two years later and I still think about it. It kind of makes me upset because, why did I have to go through that?”

Amber Rasberry
Journalism junior

“I was driving in my car and there was a police officer right next to me,” journalism junior Amber Rasberry said.

Rasberry said she noticed the police officer staring at her and driving at the same speed as her.

“Why is she staring at me? What am I doing wrong?” Rasberry said in response to the officer’s behavior.

Rasberry tried to ignore the officer.

“I get to a red light, she’s next to me and the car who’s in front of me, who was a white male, drove past and ran the red light,” Rasberry said. “But she was staring at me, so she didn’t even notice that he ran the red light.”

Once she was pulled over, Rasberry said she was not issued a ticket.

“(She) just wanted to basically bother me for nothing, when she could have had someone who actually ran a red light," Rasberry said. "It was just, ‘Wow, what I am doing so wrong, why am I being targeted?’”

Jovan Pillow-Harmon
Political theory & constitutional democracy senior

Political theory and constitutional democracy senior Jovan Pillow-Harmon has experienced racism frequently at sporting and social events.

“I was leaving a football game and we were tailgating and what not and some people just screamed ‘n-----’ out the window, like a hard ‘r,'” Pillow-Harmon said.

Pillow-Harmon said he thinks of ignorance when he reflects on the incident.

“His friends apologized for him, but he never apologized,” Pillow-Harmon said. “That’s actually happened to me more than once.”

He said when he goes to social events with a larger crowd of his black friends, people give a certain look.

"Black people may have a lot of negative stigmas about us, where we're going to go somewhere and raise hell and tear your house up," Pillow-Harmon said.