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So Much for that “Post-Racial” Society

Last week a student was arrested in the reg. So clearly if a person is arrested in this beautiful post-racial, progressive, and inclusive society, then it must be some just cause. Right? Witnesses say that this 5’6 black senior at University of Chicago was “wrestled to the ground and put in a headlock.” This must mean that he was threatening someone’s life or at least doing something minutely illegal. Right?

Wrong.

The student walked into the library and was told he was too loud and if he didn’t quiet down, then the police would be called.  The Chicago Maroon reported that the student was arrested in the basement of the library—where usually everyone is loud. He was charged and spent a night in jail because he refused to show officers his identification or leave the library for unruly behavior, witnesses deny that police asked the student for ID or that the student was causing a disturbance. They also said the arresting officer was inappropriately aggressive.

Here is a comment that one of the ignoramus students at University of Chicago left on the Maroon Website.

“There is justice in the world! That guy is extraordinarily loud and obnoxious. We can only hope that this sets a new precedent for the treatment of people who routinely disrupt the academic sanctuary of the library, rendering it veritably uninhabitable for the likes of the studious and the civilized.”

I didn’t realize being loud and obnoxious was a means to arrest someone. This situation is about more than one student in the library. This brings to light and surfaces the stories I heard as a prospective student, the experiences I had as a first year student, and what I continue to hear from others now as a second year. This outrage is about how the police treat students of color on this campus. It is a symbol of why police-black and white- slow down when they see a black or brown male walking down a street in Hyde Park. It is a representation of what needs to change at the University of Chicago. Last year I was just walking down the street (in front of my dorm, Max) and I got stopped by the UCPD and they asked to see my I.D. Some say this is protocol, but my question is if I was a white student doing nothing else but walking down the 56th street would I have been stopped then?

Tonight I attended the community forum, which was held by the University in the name of talking with administration about what was being done about the situation.

There was a new police chief who didn’t realize situations “like this” happened, a scapegoat assistant director of the library (the director apparently had “previous engagements”), and the staff member of student campus life. Between the three all I really heard was how unfortunate the situation was, how they are going to do some investigating, and how they are going to look at all the “facts” and decide what to do. In other words, no solution was made. Some students were talking about protesting in front of the library, but I personally think action needs to be demanded on an administrative level.

Well, so much for that post-racial society people were all excited about.


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