When Are Students Of Color Allowed To Be Angry?


Winta Tekle, Sahuaro News Editor

My reaction to injustice is often times anger.

Anger, I feel, is an appropriate reaction to inadequate bathroom conditions, racist rhetoric spoken by fellow peers, or a lackluster administration. It is as valid as any other reaction.

So, why is it that students of color are expected to calmly listen to violent rhetoric from their peers? Why are we often times used as pawns for educating white students? Classrooms discussing “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” always end with eyes trained on black students when the n-word is read outloud, usually in the name of “preserving” classic literature. Are black people too sensitive when our discomfort is used to educate white peers? Is it political correctness gone too far? Why aren’t we given the proper support and services to cope with the culture of these classrooms? The true beneficiaries from diversity metrics are white students because they learn the most and it’s at the expense from students of color.

Of course, I know why I can’t be angry. People who live similar lives as I know it as clear as day. Our anger is viewed as irrational and unregulated, which then makes the oppression we experience seem like a rational outcome of our behavior. My anger is weaponized against me, even in situations where racism has left me as a victim. Through all the overt and covert racism I’ve seen on Sahuaro’s campus, I’ve found ways to circumvent race-based insults and obstacles. But I often think about how normalized it has become for students of color to accept and deal with it instead of being proactive about it. Distrust in administration and the belief that bigoted students will never change is, more often than not, the driving factor as to why incidents of racism aren’t reported. It’s a shame that students of color develop strategies to reduce racial stressors, because they shouldn’t exist in the first place. But here I am, and many other students of color, finding success in spite of barriers.

There’s power in anger. Be angry at injustice on your campus and all the contributing factors, regardless of the pitchforks that could unsheathe in response.