We’ve all heard the stories about the dangerous frat parties. We know that one in five college women will experience sexual assault by the time she graduates. We’ve seen the stories about party rape and the use of alcohol in sexual assault. We’ve tried to make bystander intervention a part of the college culture, tried giving courses on sexual assault to fraternities, and tried teaching women how to avoid situations that make sexual assault more likely.
As you find your seat in Scott Stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon, you’re drawn to the shifting sights and sounds: the bright advertisements on Hoo Vision, the shouting fans, the acrobatics of the cheerleaders and dance team, as well as the rowdy student section. Suddenly, a cheer begins to ripple through the crowd, as a line of students carrying drums of different sizes emerges on the bright green field. Behind the drumline, tuba players stand at the ready.
When neo-Nazis marched at UVA on August 11th, they didn’t come in the KKK head-to-toe white garb that history textbooks showcase in black and white. They didn’t come with cloaked heads and hidden identities. They came as themselves, wearing costumes of “normalcy,” which made them all the more frightening.
Why was anyone surprised?
Our university: adorned with shrines to the Confederacy, built on top of graves where slaves were buried after their backs were broken building its white columns. Where our president and deans speak of incredible diversity as they stand in front of the Confederate plaques at the Rotunda. Where we black students try to push back that little voice in our heads asking:
“Do they really mean it?”
“Why is OAAA confined to former slave houses on Dawson's Row?”
“Why is the Multicultural Student Center hidden away in a basement?”
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