For everyone who asserts that racism is not an issue in society anymore, there is an example to contradict that insistence. Recently, graffiti with horrifically offensive racial slurs was discovered in a men’s bathroom on campus. The graffiti scribblings has brought the issue of race to the Keene State campus, reminding students that even the tiny, isolated campus is not immune to tensions frequently found elsewhere. Along the same vein, jokes can often be heard around campus, identifying both Keene State College and N.H. itself as lacking in diversity. These jokes range from the harmless to the downright offensive, impacting many students on a daily basis. There is hardly a student who is innocent of making such comments, as they are so prevalent.
According to www.collegeboard.com, 1% of Keene State students identify themselves as African-American or Black while 81% of students identify as white. While these numbers may seem inconsequential, students of different races and ethnicities have long had an impact on the Keene State campus. Efforts to celebrate the diversity on Keene State campus have resulted in important developments such as the Diversity and Multiculturalism Office. Celebrating diversity is an important step in trying to stamp out instances of racism and intolerance on the campus.
These efforts highlight the conviction held by Keene State and its student body. Instances of racism should not be and are not tolerated. Even something as harmless as an offhand comment could generate the wrong idea for those listening. Acting or speaking in a manner that could be construed as racist not only reflects poorly on the individual acting that way, but it also reflects poorly on Keene State College. No one should be proud to hold outdated and shameful opinions of people of different races.
The college has taken many steps to quell the notion that it is a “mostly white” school; its student body should take the initiative and do the same. Only when the instances of offensive comments and racist graffiti scribblings can be ended can we say that Keene State does not have a race problem. We are now well into the twenty-first century, as the up-and-coming generation, we should let go of these antiquated beliefs and move on past these types of behaviors.