Mizzou

Today I woke up thinking it would be just another dreaded Monday, a day that came much to quickly from the Friday I seemed to wait forever for.

I did the first thing I always do when I wake up on Monday mornings, check my email for a message from my professors telling me class has been canceled and that I can spend my day in bed. Most Mondays, that email is one that never waits for me in my inbox.

Until today.

As I skimmed through the email that explained the cancelation of class, my giddy, no school today smile began to fade, and was replaced by a look of a lot of confusion, and a little bit of anger. The words in the email began eating me up, as I established the motivation for calling off class.

My classes, among with hundreds of other students’, were cancelled because a black man almost starved himself to death.

It sounds kind of crazy doesn’t it? Well, that’s probably because it is.

Seven says ago, Jonathan Butler, a University of Missouri graduate student, pledged not only to himself, but to an entire collegiate organization, that he would be participating in a hunger strike.

Why? Because he, and those in support of this so-called movement he has started, are trying to end racial discrimination.

I honestly don’t even know what racism really is anymore. The word is thrown around and “fought for” so much these days, but do we even really know what we are fighting for?

Whites vs. blacks?

Black vs. whites?

They say they’re fighting for equality, but what about starving yourself to death so a man loses a job he worked so hard for say about equality?

What does chanting “black power” throughout a campus of more than 30,000 racially diverse students say about equality?

What does protesting, “white silence is violence” say about equality?

You’re doing exactly what you are protesting against by saying all white people who don’t speak up are racists.

Butler, with the support of his followers, made starvation, distraction and protests an incentive to force Tim Wolfe, University of Missouri Systems President, to resign from his job.

Allow me to clarify if I have created some confusion: a black man gave a white man an ultimatum…if you don’t quit your job, you will be the reason I die.

That’s their way of fighting for equality?

Seems a little sketchy to me.

My mind is overwhelmed with thoughts and questions about what I have seen lately, and maybe it’s just me…but there are things I don’t understand, things that I want to question, and things that I need to say.

Dear Jonathan Butler and #ConcernedStudents1950,

You’ve done a lot of big things this past month in the “fight” to end racial discrimination (whatever that may mean to you). Some call your actions brave, while others call it hypocritical.

To me, it’s neither of those things.

To me, it’s just sad.

It’s sad that you chose to deprive your mind and body of things it needs to thrive to try and prove a point.

It’s sad that you believe white silence is violence.

It’s sad that you expect ONE man, ONE human being, to take responsibility for a 50-year-old problem that may never have a solution.

Tim Wolfe grew up here in Columbia.

Tim Wolfe dedicated more than six years of his life working hard to further his education.

Tim Wolfe is a husband and a father.

You protest about fairness, but how is it fair that this man loses his job and reputation all because you all felt offended.

What about the girls who get made fun of for being fat?

What about the skinny blonde who gets called a slut because her skirt is short?

What about the gay guy in the fraternity?

What about the Mormon girl who gets judged because her religion says she can’t wear a two-piece bathing suit?

Everyday people face discrimination and everyday people get offended.

Why do YOU get to chose the importance of the problems we face not only as a university, but as a country?

I have always been in support of movements that spark change regarding discrimination, but only when that change becomes inclusive of all issues we face,

You don’t have the right to prioritize racial discrimination.

You don’t have the right to march and chant through peaceful university establishments/buildings and distract me from my education.

You don’t have the right to tell me what I have to believe or say.

You don’t have the right to label me violent because I choose not to speak up about racial discrimination.

The actions of you and your group, while admirable, were inappropriate and unproductive in your attempt to spark change in regards to racial discrimination.

I only hope that time will soon heal the wounds that have been given to our campuses reputation, our student body reputation, and our program as a whole.

We are a University with so much to be proud of, and that is where change should spark from.

We should use our accomplishments successful leaders, and most importantly, we should use each other as tools to create change.

Let’s start there.

All the best,

A non-racist, non-violent, white college student

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