Monday, July 30, 2007

New FIST Chapter Fights Bigotry

By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Feb 4, 2007 9:42 PM
Baldwin-Wallace College, a small liberal arts school near Cleveland, has recently been the site of major racist attacks. Two Black students living in an all-girl dormitory opened their door one afternoon to find the N-word scribbled on it. As a result, the college held a “forum” and publicly denounced the action.

The very next day, the same epithet, followed by the word “lover,” was scrawled on the door of the resident assistant, who reported the attack. The term has long been used by racists to characterize white people who defend people of color.

The college again publicly denounced the act with statements, but the attacks went on. They dropped the racial language but repeated verbal abuse of the resident assistant, using a word insulting women and telling her to “Get out.”

A few of the young women living in the dorm transferred to other colleges out of a desire not to be forced to tolerate this kind of bigotry.

The Black Student Alliance, a strong organization at Baldwin-Wallace, took action. Members of the alliance called the media. Soon local television crews were interviewing the leaders of the BSA, who called for justice.

The BSA at Baldwin-Wallace College has a strong history of defiance. In years past, it won a cultural center and additional funding for students of color on campus after a sit-in at the president’s office.

The recent attacks provoked loads of outrage around the campus, but it soon simmered down. However, the attacks against the resident assistant continued.

The college administration repeatedly promised to put in video cameras to catch the perpetrators, a promise that never materialized.

This is not an isolated incident at Baldwin-Wallace. Students organizing for the World Can’t Wait campaign often found their literature and postings crumpled up or defaced with phrases like “Go Bush!” or “Bomb the —-!”—using a racist term for Muslims.

Recently a dorm where many members of the LGBT community lived had homophobic words painted on the wall.

In light of all this, several students at Baldwin-Wallace have decided to start a chapter of Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST).

Explaining their goal, they say, “We hope to bring together the struggles of people of color and the LGBT community, as well as the many other students from the working class on campus. We hope to show that unity is key to defeating racism, sexism, homophobia and classism. We hope to show the students that their real enemies are not people with a different skin color, nationality or sexual identity, but rather those who inhabit Wall Street and Washington, D.C.”

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