A Critique of an Alarmist View of College Campuses

In School Daze by Spike Lee,  the main character Dap leads a campaign against the South African Apartheid regime. The Apartheid regime sought to preserve white minority control through racist legal practices that segregated the races to repress Black and nonwhite majority movements from overtaking the government. To impose this practice, violence and imprisonment of opposition leaders became a defining feature of the apartheid regime. The Afrikaans term, defined as separation, refers to the numerous legal and spatial divisions created by the government that allows for the repression of populations. This is why apartheid has often been invoked when discussing the history of racist policies in America (Jim Crow, Segregation, Native reservations), or the current Israeli occupation of Palestine.

My initial plan was to examine college-based initiatives against regimes that apartheid has become a feature of, but then I found the article “The New American Apartheid” which outlines the gestations of safe spaces on college campuses. Author Tom Lindsay blames American institutions for teaching students that the only way to celebrate diversity is through the spatial separation of different identity groups.  He equates Black Lives Matter to White Student Groups and says that their unintentional promotion of American apartheid is not their fault, but the fault of American educational institutions.

The problem with this is that he seems to take a highly reductive view of Black Lives Matter in order to argue their equivalence to White Student Unions. Black Lives Matter arose out of news reports and videos depicting multiple, unjustified murders of Black lives. This group therefore operates to achieve reform in America’s institutions (educational, police, media, etc.) by raising awareness about the problems faced by Black people. Mr. Lindsay cannot say that this group advocates for racial separation. If anything, seeking to decrease the disproportionate violence against Black bodies is in the spirit of opposing apartheid, not a promotion of it.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomlindsay/2016/03/28/american-apartheid-identity-politics-on-college-campuses/2/#6e42fe656bef

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1 thought on “A Critique of an Alarmist View of College Campuses”

  1. You chose to write this post through a very interesting scope of the movie. I was wondering if you thought Daps wake up call had anything to so with black unification for black liberation? If not, then what did you think about the ending sequences and Daps wake up call in relation to your post?

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