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Black Students United Demands for the Beloit Students

Hello Bucs, Beloiters, and “Turtles”, there is no normal to go back to in Fall 2020. Black students will not settle for a community that constantly reaps the benefits of our culture while partaking in behaviors that contribute to and enables the psychological AND physical violence that Black students are forced to endure. Examples include: saying n*gga at parties, speaking over Black students in the class, and telling & retelling stories of Black murder in hopes of sounding “woke” to your peers. This document will include all of the things that you should be doing and will be required to do when we return in the fall, and for the remainder of Beloit’s lifetime. We are no longer asking, these are demands.

1) Educate yourself!

a) Learn what microaggressions and stereotypes are and remove them from your vocabulary and lifestyle.

b) Learn the difference between overt and covert racism and do what is needed to end both of these things in our community.

c) Remove the term Black bodies from your vocabulary (unless you are Black). Do not refer to us as “bodies” we are more than that. Many of you do this, fix it.

d) Don’t refer to Black people as “blacks”, do not refer to Black people as people of color, and especially on this campus, do not assume all Black people are African-Americans.

e) Executive members of other clubs should attend BSU and SIC meetings. If questions on why reach out.

f) At the bottom we have resources, use them.

2) Normalize being held accountable and holding people accountable for anti-blackness.

a) Normalize hearing a different perspective and changing your behavior.

b) Call out anti-blackness when you see it instead of reporting back to your black friend(s)

c) Call out your friends for saying n*gga. Stop being friends with non-black people who say n*gga. d) If they are your true friends they won’t take being called out personally and will do better! If they don’t, you shouldn’t be friends with them.

3) Recognize the space you take up.

a) Don’t cut off your Black classmates. Ever. We made it to Beloit just like you! We pay the same tuition and we belong to be here. What you have to say is not more important than what we are saying. So shut up and listen.

b) Don’t come into Black spaces and try to educate Black people! We know everything that you “discover” about systemic racism in textbooks/on the internet. It is our lived experience.

4) Give credit to your Black classmates.

a) If you get an idea from one of your classmates, say that. If you like their outfit, a quote they discovered, or honestly anything, say where you got it from.

5) Do not stereotype!

a) Don’t call Black women angry. Don’t say Black men are intimidating. Don’t be “surprised” at how smart your Black classmates are. If you witness this, call them out. If you are called out, good.

b) Google other Black stereotypes and make sure you aren’t doing them!

6) Greek life and campus clubs need to conduct race training!

a) Members and potential members say crazy things that make Black students uncomfortable and not want to be in space.

7) Attend SIC white allyship educational sessions.

a) They have weekly meetings specifically for white people to reflect and learn about whiteness and allyship.

8) Reconsider coming to BSU if:

a) You are there for clout. When entering our space, do it because you care and want to do better. Not because you think it looks good. We don’t want performative individuals in our meetings. Given the current global movement towards dismantling white supremacy, why do you feel you need to be in a space made for Black students? Does your voice add important information to the conversation? Do you make us feel safer? Can we trust you?

b) Reflect on the above questions, and if the answer is no, don’t come into our space (meetings, parties, and collaborative events).

9) Continuously include Black people in the Roundtable and WBCR. Although these groups are used to show specific examples, they are not the only groups doing the things mentioned below.

a) The people involved in these organizations only reach out for two instances, Hate Crimes and Black History Month. That is exploitative!

b) These groups rely on the same Black people for everything, branch out, there is an array of us on campus.

c) We want a column in every addition in the Roundtable and our own radio show.

10) This is such an issue that it needs more than a numbered point, see below. To the white queer people of Beloit: you are not exempt. You are not less racist or excluded from racism because your identity is marginalized in some way. We see you placing yourselves above Black people, we continuously feel your anti-blackness, and observe your white parties with your homogenous groups of white friends. You are not the pioneers of queer culture or slang. The way whiteness constantly floods the dominant norms of queer culture at Beloit always comes at our expense. Queer POC do not feel comfortable in your spaces whether it’s explicitly stated or not. It’s time to remove the belief that being queer automatically means you’re anti-racist and inclusive. We see your token Black friends! White queer/trans people notoriously strive for inclusion in their cis-het counterparts world. Being Black and queer is one of the most marginalized communities on this campus and it needs to be addressed. As James Baldwin said, “Feelings of ‘otherness’ were the result of feeling like you [white queer people] had been placed outside a certain safety to which you think you were born. Those of us who are both Black and gay, however, experience life quite differently. The sexual question comes after the question of color. Long before the question of sexuality comes into it, a Black gay person is already menaced and marked because [they are] black.” This is not a race first argument, it is to highlight the reality that Black LGBTQ folks are striving for a world in which we are all treated humanely. However, our white counterparts want mere inclusion, leaving us behind to suffer. Black Lives Matter is a queer issue, a Trans issue, and an abolitionist demand. We don’t want a seat at your table, we want to burn the table. If you expect to live comfortably on campus in the Fall, you will take these next few months to learn, reflect, and change. Being an ally is not an adjective, it is a verb. Read this article to learn how to make being an ally and an accomplice lifestyle. This is our home as well and we deserve to feel safe here. After reading these demands, make a plan to implement them and frequently revisit them. Be safe, be kind, and most importantly be better. We are demanding a change and it is time to adapt.

Sincerely,

Black Students United

TO ACCESS MORE EDUCATION MATERIALS AND RESOURCES PLEASE VISIT THIS LINK.

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