Updated: Feb 20
Author Lawrence Ross kicked off Black History month and the start of his tour, here at Rutgers University. The author traveled all the way from California to give us a speech about The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s campuses while promoting the release of his new book,Blackballed. Ross is the author of 5 other books, including The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities. He graduated with a B.A of History from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rutgers Greek Life was present in the audience, as Ross, a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated began his speech by getting to know his audience. He then went on to feel the crowd by having the audience make noise when their race is called, starting with the black folks. By the time he came to say the last race, white, the audience was almost silent as if they weren’t proud to represent their race, which was the point he wanted to make. The start of his speech made some of the crowd squirm in their seats.
Ross highlighted the recent incidents with Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) and their racist chant that went viral after it was recorded on a bus at the University Of Oklahoma exploiting their segregationist roots. He talks about how media played a major role in the handling of the situation by explaining that “three izes equals a miss” inferring that when you minimize, trivialize, and sterilize a situation it becomes a dismiss. These are the foundations of campus racism. Most high school students are not thinking about racism in college, instead they see college representing diversity and collectivity yet at American universities, students of color get a rude awakening.
Ross ended his speech by giving Rutgers students his keys on ‘How to Stop Campus Racism:
Get Your Shit Together
Stop Doing Racist Things
Silence is Violence
We do not give a damn about your black best friend
Recognize the white privilege you have, and then do something about it
Humble yourself and empathize