a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
by Black Student Union
Last night, after an affirming and productive BSU Board Retreat, our board went off to the dining halls for dinner, only to find that the posters we had recently hung up had been vandalized: two people had seen our posters proudly advocating for the black community at Middlebury, and decided that this advocacy offended them. “RACIST,” they wrote. “Promotes Hate!” The next morning we came back to eat breakfast and saw that others had added to the vandalization with more comments.
When our board saw these posters, we felt angry, violated, and disappointed. This kind of response to black empowerment, solidarity and community-building is not new, at Middlebury or in the nation at large. Accusations of “reverse racism” are common forms of protecting the status quo–that is, white supremacy–and indicate a complete lack of understanding about how racism has operated and continues to operate in this country. Racism is a system of advantage based on race. When only 3% of Middlebury’s student body is black, the BSU is a form of resistance to racism.
More than anything, these comments on our posters are a testament to how much work still needs to be done at Middlebury in support of racial justice education. When students at this school see three raised fists on a poster and decide that this is racism–instead of the microaggressions that happen here every day, or the constant threat black folks face from police throughout the country–we have a problem.
As for us? BSU will continue to do our work in creating and nurturing space for black students at Middlebury. We will keep hanging our posters up in the dining hall. We too are Middlebury students. We are, always have been, and always will be unapologetically black.