Two students were expelled in March from the University of Oklahoma after a video was released of them leading their fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, in a racist chant, according to U.S. News.
Shortly after the University of Oklahoma incident, black students at the University of Washington alleged that members of their Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity called African Americans “apes,” made obscene gestures and booed as marchers passed the frat house during a campus Black Lives Matter protest, according to The Seattle Times.
In April, two first-year male students at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, admitted to writing offensive terms on a bulletin board in a residence hall, according to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
The offensive writings included anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic and racial slurs.
These events are the result of prejudice against cultural differences. While these events occurred among fraternities at non-LDS universities, some students at BYU-Idaho face cultural prejudices.
The hosts of the Student Associations’ Cultural Celebration last semester made some rather distasteful comments about some associations prior to their performances.
Before the African Heritage Association stepped on stage, one of the hosts said, “if you know one black person, you know them all.”
To introduce the ASL Association, he told the audience not to bother cheering because the group would not be able to hear them anyway.
Maybe those involved in the performance were not offended by the remarks, but does that make them OK?
Just because one person finds a discriminatory comment humorous does not mean another person won’t find that same comment offensive.
Is it ignorance that makes people believe comments like this are OK? Or do people genuinely not care how their words affect others?
Many people are not aware of the impact their words could have on someone else.
They don’t know who might be listening to them when they’re talking to their friends on campus.
We need to be aware that we attend a multicultural school.
People from all over the world attend this university, and spouting off racial slurs or inappropriate comments regarding another race or culture is not OK.
Not only do we need to be aware of this while we are here at school, but also when we are away from school, during internships and careers.
Employers do not take kindly to prejudice. We hear in the news about people who lose their jobs due to prejudiced things they say.
Most work places have a policy against using discriminatory language.
We don’t know where everyone comes from, what their background is, or how something we say will affect another person.
Culture can be and is often used as a point of conversation.
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging cultural differences.
It’s when we take those differences and start stereotyping people that the issue occurs.
It’s not likely that any BYU-I students will lead a group in a racist chant or holler degrading slurs about other students, but it is likely that friends will get caught up in the moment of poking fun at their international roommate, even if it is only in jest.
People have fun with each other. That is normal, but it is important to be considerate of those around us and know whether or not a joke is going to be appropriate.
Just take the time to think before saying something that could be taken the wrong way.
Approved by an 18-0 vote of the Scroll editorial board.