Letter to the Editor: Racial microaggression is serious problem on college campuses

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Imagine this: You get out of bed and step on someone's carelessly placed toys, or maybe the toys were even carefully arranged around your bed. Soon after, you stub your toe on a badly installed bedpost. Then you go to work and someone hands you an item that falls on your foot. Finally, you get on a crowded bus to go home and someone steps on that same foot. You blow up at this last person, and of course they think you're overreacting. But what they haven't seen are all the small things that built up to you reacting in a large way, since you were never able to express how you were bothered by them.

This is an analogy to describe racial microaggression. Credit for it goes to Morewood Housefellow Aaron George, who helped me to understand why black people in America can't seem to stop complaining and can't seem to ever be satisfied. Racial microaggression is what black students and faculty at the University of Missouri (or Mizzou) and other American colleges have to deal with all the time. This goes for black Americans in general as well.

The conversation around microaggression began again on Nov. 11, when a white Mizzou student made death threats toward black students from the pseudo-anonymous app Yik Yak. This was just the beginning of a long list of microaggressions against black students and faculty publicly documented at universities across the United States.

As a black male wrestling with black identity more than the average "African-American" (an essentially meaningless term that needs to be nixed because of its complicated and blanket-statement nature), God's affirmation of the value of my life and black lives has been so critical and so meaningful, as well as the affirmation of fellow Christ-followers and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA (especially through Black Campus Ministries). We feel so loved and appreciated when white- and Asian-dominated spaces demonstrate they are looking out for us. We need them, and they need us.

Theophilus Onime
Information Systems