Students’ anger over racism, hate speech at MU ‘not just a matter of identity’

MU students are demanding the university take action after their university’s students’ union voted to ban a racist video that mocked Black Lives Matter protesters.

“I am disgusted that this was even brought up,” said senior Deanna Brown, one of more than 100 students who signed a petition opposing the video’s release.

“We’re talking about people that are really struggling with trauma and trauma-related issues, mental health issues, and we want them to be able to feel safe at the University of Memphis.”

“I think we’re being treated like we’re second-class citizens at the moment,” said junior Hannah Jones.

Students say the video, which has since been pulled from YouTube, depicts a Black Lives Matters protester with a face mask who is punched in the face by a masked man.

The video is part of a larger trend of white supremacy on campus, which critics say has become increasingly visible in recent years.

“The idea that someone who identifies as white and a student is going to be treated as second class citizens, it just does not make any sense,” said Brown.

MU President David Boren condemned the video in a letter to students and staff Thursday, saying it “came across as a hate-filled, racist and offensive video.”

“This video was not a joke,” he wrote.

“It was offensive to the many members of the Black community who have faced discrimination and harassment in the past.”

The video has sparked a backlash among Black students.

“People in this community have been dealing with trauma, mental illness and suicide for years,” said Jones.

“This is just another example of the way our community is being marginalized, and it’s very hard to get out of that state.”

The university is trying to find a solution to the situation, said Boren, adding that it will continue to work with the Black Student Alliance to address the issue.

But many of the students who are upset are not convinced the university will find a way to get the video removed from YouTube.

“My opinion is, this is just a business that happens to be owned by the university,” said sophomore Brittany Denton.

“They don’t have any control over it.”

“That’s the way they do business, they just hire people,” added Brown.

“If you want to know why, just look at the video.

If you don’t want to, don’t watch the video.”

Brown said she is not the only Black student upset over the video being shown.

“There’s other Black students who have been very vocal about this, and they’ve been very upset,” she said.

“But we’re not the ones who’re being oppressed here.”