Letter to the Editor: Why does CMU not care about black people?

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A great man of action once said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” That great man of action was El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, formally and most commonly known to the world as Malcolm X. I want to be able to travel to that future that Shabazz talks about, but how can I prepare for it if I am unsure whether or not the institution that is facilitating my “education” cares about me?

There has been much attention brought to the many racial issues that still exist on college campuses around the country by many members of the CMU community. However, no one seems willing to acknowledge the many racial issues that still exist at Carnegie Mellon that are affecting black students. We, CMU in general, as a community have never really heard from the administration whether or not the well-being and success of black students on campus is a priority for the school.

Black students in America have been systematically oppressed by the educational system. Those who are fortunate enough to be accepted into CMU slowly realize that systemic oppression is still affecting them.

Many of the black students at CMU, including myself, come from inner city schools. These inner city schools have a history of providing sub-par education and have the nerve to say that their “graduates” are prepared for college. For a good portion of these inner city students, going to college means escaping institutional racism stemming from slavery, that corners them into the never ending cycle of poverty and struggle. However, even at a school as progressive as Carnegie Mellon, why are my fellow black brothers and sisters and I still experiencing the same racism and indifference from students, faculty and staff that our inner city schools taught us was over after the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s?

Many incidents occur at CMU that just get swept under the rug by CMU’s amazing PR team or by students too afraid to speak up. Racism, sexual assault, gender harassment, alcohol abuse, drug abuse are just a few of the issues that continue to affect many students on campus yet the Carnegie Mellon administration never really comes out and explicitly admits that there are problems and that they are going to solve it or at least try to make it better. Instead the administration is very quick to protect its image at the expense of the students by making general statements about “diversity and inclusion” without ever explaining what “diversity and inclusion” really means.

Why am I writing all of this? I am writing this because there are so many issues at Carnegie Mellon and I do not feel that the administration truly cares and I feel that many within the campus community are ignorant to these issues. I encourage CMU students that the next time you see a black student on campus, ask them if they have experience some form of racism on campus. I assure you that you will be surprised by their answers. Hopefully by more students becoming aware of one issue, it will lead to awareness of other issues affecting students.

So I ask the administration this, Do you care about the black students at CMU? Many of us are curious to know. And I am sure students of other communities are curious if you care about them as well.

I will leave you with another quote from Mr. Shabazz, “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about change.” Believe me when I say this, if you carefully press your ear against the wall, you will hear many starting to get angry.

Randy Garcia
A Black CMU Student Bringing About Change