Recently some students at the University of Missouri said several African American were victims of racism. Students claimed that someone drew a Nazi symbol on the wall of a dormitory in feces, as well as other acts of racism, and that the administration did nothing to combat these issues.
With 7 percent of the student body at the University of Missouri being African American, some students took matters into their own hands and started to protest the lack of action from the administration. They called for the president and the chancellor of the university to step down. Some students even went to extreme measures by going on a hunger strike. All of this was to no avail: no one listened. Neither students’ protests nor their own health mattered.
The administration did not listen until the Missouri University football team refused to take the field during their next game if nothing changed. Within 24 hours, the president and Chancellor of the university put in their slips for resignation. That abrupt change caused people to ask why it was that angry protesters and hunger strikers got no attention at the university, but the football team did.
I have to assume that the answer is money. College football is a major source of income for such major universities. They generate billions of dollars each year. So when you hit them in the pockets, you get their attention. Many college football teams are under contracts with television networks and have endorsements from various companies.
During the civil rights movements, African Americans boycotted buses and all white-owned stores to get the attention of the people who were treating them unfairly. African Americans showed discipline and unity, and from that came a change. The University of Missouri football team and student body may be on to something. Minorities are big consumers in this country, and also those who are most oppressed and discriminated against. I could say African Americans should go back and take a page from the Civil Rights movement and hit the oppressor in the pocket. Let’s let history repeat itself.
This post is published as part of the Prison Op/Ed Project, an occasional series authored by CCRI sociology students who are incarcerated at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute.