The opinions reflected in this OpEd are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, faculty and students of The King's College.
“I love America, but it doesn’t love me back. I love it’s red, white, and blue. It doesn’t love my black.”
I love King’s, but it doesn’t love me back. I love it’s passion for learning, the house system, and it’s fervor for God. It doesn’t love my black.
My experience has been mixed in my time at King’s. On one hand, my time with my house and the basketball team has been beyond great. The camaraderie that I’ve built in these two subsets of King’s have greatly changed me and made me a better friend and a better overall person. Likewise, my time with The Table has reaffirmed to me that my skin color is not a curse and I have people standing beside me that look like me that want the best for me. On the other hand I have struggled greatly. I came into King’s not knowing who Aristotle or Socrates was. I endured jokes from my peers that attributed my lack of knowledge of the two philosophers to the fact that I “went to school in the ghetto.” I listened to professors, rather in the classroom or on a panel, convey political ideologies that are frankly in contrast to the call of Christ in that it discredits the existence of minorities down to mere statistics . Don’t get me wrong; I have Democratic, Republican, and so many other type of friends. Political affiliation is not a problem to me. The problem lies when your political ideologies are rooted in the oppression of my existence.
So what is it like being a minority student at King’s? To be frank it means you question your worth everyday. You try to understand how your friends support policies that directly inflict harm on you and people who look like you. You try to comprehend how is a house namesake worth more than you. It means you consider transferring day in and day out. The question may be posed then why don’t we? I can’t answer for everyone, but here is my truth.
If MLK and Malcom X had simply ‘went back to Africa’ then what would have been accomplished? If you were confused about the answer it is nothing. Nothing would have happened. Legal segregation would rampage the south and much of America still. I’m not saying that I’m Malcom X or MLK. I am not half the leader they were, but I won’t leave because they didn’t. They stayed and fought for freedom, justice, and equality for all in a much harsher environment than King’s.
“This institution will never be perfect. But we should strive to be as close to perfect as we can humanly get.”
Malcom X once said, “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong no matter who says it.” I can’t be so blind with my love for this strategic institution that I negate to address the statements by faculty and students alike that harm people that look like me. It would be a dishonor to those who have come before me and a disservice to those who come after me to simply be quiet in the face of oppressive narratives.
It’s no secret that King’s is going through a pivotal time. From the racist memes during Interregnum to Reagan’s “new found” racism, what does this all mean for King’s? Even more specifically, what does this mean for the minority student at King’s? Trivette Knowles previously wrote a beautiful piece that embodied much of what I feel and what I go through at King’s on the daily as a minority student, but I think it’s important to share my thoughts so that the people that write off Trivette’s story as a one time situation can see it’s more of a systemic issue.
We learn about ‘the Fall’ from the first day we walk into King’s; if not before. Professors teach about how as a result of Adam and Eve’s iniquities we have and always will fall short of the glory of the Most High. We will never be perfect. This institution will never be perfect. But we should strive to be as close to perfect as we can humanly get.
Some people may say I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I know that plenty of people think this struggle is simply about ‘political correctness.’ I have a newsflash for them: calling out the racism and prejudices that plague a supposedly Christian institution is not being politically correct. It’s doing exactly what Jesus did. Once again, I’m not Jesus, but in following the teachings and directions of the Savior I know this is not a fight in which I can keep quiet. Malcom X in speaking about his civil rights fight said that “if you’re not willing to die for it then take the word freedom out of your vocabulary.” So bring out the firing squad because this is a hill I’m prepared to die on.