From Mizzou to Miami

Racism evident on Yik Yak, students clash

By Emily Tate, Managing Editor

In light of this week’s events at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) — a hunger strike, an NCAA football team boycotting its games and two administrative resignations — colleges across the country have aligned with Mizzou and endorsed its efforts.

Miami students made clear yesterday that they are ready and willing to talk about racism, too  — but, according to posts on the anonymous social media app Yik Yak, the resounding message was not one of unity.

Many nameless, faceless “Yakkers” responded to the demonstration in Armstrong Student Center yesterday, which was intended to bring Miami students together in solidarity with Mizzou.

“This is retarded. This school is not oppressing anyone. Neither is Mizzou. The whole thing is ridiculous.”

“Last time I checked we go to school in Oxford, OH not Missouri”

“These people in Armstrong remind me of a toddler kicking and screaming over nothing. The only response is, ‘are you done yet?’”

“They have all 5 of the black kids here at this school up there”

Others commented on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, the situation at Mizzou or race relations altogether. Many students denied that any racial divide exists in the United States today.

“Concerned Student 1950 and BLM has created more racism than they have stopped.”

“What all these black lives matter morons don’t realize is that they’re making race an issue more than it ever was. I never used to care but now I find myself hating these people more and more”

“Honest Opinion: if Black People spent half the time working hard that they spend complaining about oppression they would probably be a lot better off.”

“The south will rise again. God bless the Confederate States”

In response to this last Yak, another user commented, “Seriously let’s start lynching.”

Miami’s Yik Yak feed yesterday was steeped in racial tension. In quantity, most posts included racist remarks or undermined the movements igniting across the nation. But those Yaks were often met with dozens of comments condemning the post.

For example, one said, “Honestly all of the protests and [politically correct] stuff is actually causing me to and [sic] look down on the minorities. I’m not intentional but the more I see the more I become aggrivated [sic] and resentful.”

Among the many responses in defense of the black movements were:

“We honestly don’t care. We don’t want people like you with your negative energy around us.”

And:

“…so because people are trying to express their frustration with the way they’re being treated you hate them? Seriously??”

But while negative comments rolled in each minute, the “hottest,” or most popular, Yaks of yesterday were those standing with and supporting black students, black movements and black lives.

At the time of publication, the following Yak was No. 1 in the Miami and Oxford areas with 98 “upvotes,” a mark of approval, similar to a “like” on Facebook:

“As a white student, I am so tired of this racist and apathetic campus. No, I am not targeted by racism because I happened to be born into a privileged group but it is my duty to stand [with] Mizzou and BLM”

At 61 votes, another positive post was popular:

“Fellow white students: Let’s stop treating people of color like second class citizens. They work as hard, pay as much, and are just as human. STOP.”

These, too, were met with critical comments that dismantled the authors’ opinions, leaving Yik Yak in an impassioned stalemate — at least for a few hours.

At the demonstration in Armstrong yesterday, junior Chelsea Appiah addressed the racism circulating on the app.

“If you don’t think what is going on at Mizzou doesn’t affect us, here is what your fellow student body has to say via Yik Yak,” she said to a crowd of hundreds of students and faculty.

Beside her, three other students — two black and one white — took turns reading a series of Yik Yak posts directed toward black students.

Moments later, they had the crowd, representative of many races and many ages, chanting with them.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

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