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Don’t just aspire. Be anti-racist.

This op-ed was penned collectively by Hannah Flanders, Carly Sutherland and Lily Serio for CRIS 165 Sex and Power. 

This semester’s CRIS 165 Sex and Power course is hosting events in response to Beloit College’s anti-racism clause. We, authors of this article, students in 165 Sex and Power, as well as organizers of the aforementioned events, hope to not only brief you on what to expect of our “Don’t Just Aspire. Be Anti-Racist” campaign— but to inspire the students, administration/faculty and staff to help Beloit College live up to anti-racist values.

As Beloit College students, we want to be educated in a space that encourages anti-racism and rejects white supremacy.” Beloit claims to be an educational institution of acceptance, yet actions against students of color and the College’s allowance of speakers such as Erik Prince, whose past actions and ideals are threatening, have suggested that the administration needs to be able to follow the anti-racism clause more respectfully in the future.” 

As a class, we were inspired by Macy Tran’17’s “Final Reflection Paper” for the Local Colonialism class in Critical Identity Studies in how she carefully considers the silent racism behind the term “Beloiter.” Beloiter is a term coined by (mostly) white administrators which reflects ideals that many Beloit students feel they must embody. Beloit wants us to create a certain “Beloiter” community and fill a mold of a student personifying neoliberal civility and Beloit mascot-like school spirit and passion.

However, the problem lies within itself. Administration wishes for us to be what they deem admirable but fails to recognize the variety of thoughts and backgrounds students at Beloit College possess. Beloit forces this burden upon marginalized and minority students; especially students of color, to change themselves. “Beloiter,” a concept all of us became familiar with as soon as we were accepted into the institution, has shown itself to be a restrictive term less than accepting of all students.

165 Sex and Power, a class environment of students who have expressed feeling unable to identify with “Beloiters,” aims to point out flaws in Beloit’s “aspiration” to be anti-racist by examining the segregation of students that occurred before we even stepped foot on campus as admitted students.

The focus of our projects will include examples of recent incidents of racism on campus to remind people that Beloit College has avoided taking action in terms of its movement to be an anti-racist campus. The events include an image campaign, an anti-racist pledge for students/faculty/staff to sign, banners and signs hung in the Science Center, Commons, and DK’s, a podcast featuring alumna Macy Tran and an art gallery held in C-Haus at a time to be announced on Saturday, May 4. This gallery will feature artwork centered around anti-racism/racism created by students. To us, these events needed to not only be eye-catching and inclusive for those whose voices are hushed in the college community, but they needed to make our stance on issues Beloit students have recently been faced with clearly: to “aspire” to be an anti-racist campus isn’t enough. We must be anti-racist.

Keep an eye out for the student created podcast, art gallery, image campaign, anti-racist pledge signing, and banners hung around campus coming at the beginning of May!

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