Column: New council committee could be a great thing for MU

Establishing a race relations committee here at MU is a definitive step toward achieving on-campus equality.

It looks like some of my prayers have been answered. For the first time in the school’s history, a race relations committee has been established at MU. This Faculty Council committee will help with some of the race issues on campus and hopefully make our home away from home a more inclusive environment.

Now, I’m not saying that MU is a place where racists and racism problems run rampant, but at this point in history with so many incidents and tragedies dealing with race, I think the committee is needed.

After the shooting of Michael Brown and the other, less-publicized deaths of many victims around the world caused by police officers, our country is in a sensitive place. Protesters have started what might be seen as a revolution and it’s not without a reason. Race has been a problem for centuries and it’s not something that we can continue to ignore and downplay.

It is true that police kill more blacks than other races even when they are not committing crimes at higher rates. It is true that black people, especially men, have to send in more resumes than their white counterparts if they want a job, even when they have the same degree or experience. It is true that news stories about poverty use mostly blacks as examples and sources even though blacks don’t make up most of the impoverished population in this country.

We know that there are unfair advantages for some people in our country and it is time to talk about it and act on it like our school is trying to do. The new committee, established just two weeks ago, is a perfect example of the progress we need to make. With this committee, we can start fighting back some of the oppressors and educating ourselves on the seriousness of racial issues today.

A huge college campus like MU is the perfect place to start exercising new ways to eliminate racial tensions and change ways of thinking about race. We are a diverse population and it should be used to our advantage. Racism exists beyond just whites and blacks and we should target it. Ideologies and stereotypes that hinder us as a student body can be brought forth and corrected.

There shouldn’t be threats and Internet bullying towards students who choose to protest for what they believe in. A level of respect and common courtesy should be in place when dealing with people and their opinions and beliefs. These are things we can use this new committee to achieve. The forum discussion held in December that focused on the Ferguson case and campus racial issues was a nice start, but now is the time to really keep moving forward.

With so many open minds and people who are willing to put in work to help our campus grow, I see nothing but great things happening for us. We have a great chancellor and faculty members who are willing to take time to look into a problem that affects us all in some way or another and we should be thankful.

Students, faculty and staff are going to have to work together to bring our solutions to fruition and now is the best time. Students should be included in the conversation and programming of the committee 100 percent of the time if they want real change to be made. Students know the culture here at MU. They know what goes on and can use their knowledge to inform faculty in the committee so things can be tended to and change can be made. Inclusivity is key if we want our campus to be one where everyone feels like they belong.

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