This is a place where K-State students and faculty can share their personal stories of racism or alienation on campus. Our intention is not to cast blame but rather reveal current issues surrounding inequality on campus. Here is a space where people can share their experiences from their time at Kansas State University, past or present, without judgement. The hope is to raise awareness and correct societal norms that negatively impact others in order to work towards fulfilling our goal of an inclusive K-State family. To share your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When reading the description of the gunman said to me on the Kansas state campus — ‘A light skinned black male with a dirty white shirt and shorts’ – my immediate reaction was to check the pile of clothes that I had worn the day before. The second thing I did was try to remember the exact time I was walking home that night as if I had done something wrong. After making sure that my shirt could not have been mistaken for dirty, I then began to check on my friends and family (most of whom fit the vague description). When the all clear was given I did not feel well enough to come to campus simply because I fit the description of someone who was on campus with a gun. One might say, ‘If you haven’t done anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about,’ but with the possibility of being detained by police until someone proves that you indeed didn’t do anything wrong, weighing on me, I figured I should just stay at home. Just the thought of that made me take my hands out of my pockets so an officer could see I had no wrong-intent as I walked to past him the next day. Another person might say, ‘Well why do you hang out with people who might have a gun?’ None of my friends carry firearms, but many of them fit the description of the suspect, myself included, and most of us stayed away from campus that day. This incident made me feel like a fugitive, because I knew as soon as I left my house I could be accused of anything. Being watched on campus the next day made me feel like more of an outcast than I already am (a black male studying computer science). Around that same time I had heard another classmate say ‘You don’t want to be the black kid,’ as I sat down to prepare for class, after the entire group looked to see my reaction. Racial Inequality is a real problem but after dealing with it for my entire life I have become accustomed to ‘being the black kid.'”
“Why can’t I be described like everyone else? Like the one with the glasses, or the one with the squeaky voice, or the one who always wears a scarf – but no, I’m the black one.” -Just another K-State student
“After a night out with friends in Aggieville, I was on my way home when a group of white males were about to pass me. As I walked past them, one of them yelled, “Go back to China!” I was saddened and upset. It totally got me going. I attempted to call them back, “Hey bro! Let’s talk.” His girlfriend had to stop him from fighting me. He never came back. It sticks with you. It doesn’t change his mindset. It’ll just take time and us putting in our own work.”
“I loved being a cheerleader for Kansas State University, but being one of the only black cheerleaders at Kansas State University, I didn’t always feel that I was a part of the group or fully accepted. As a team we all have to look the same including our hair. At times I was not able to do all of the same hair styles that my teammates would want to do for games. So we would have to pick a different hair style and some of my teammates would say rude comments or give me looks that made me feel unwelcome or like I was hindering the team. Even small things such as what hair style to have for a game can affect you in large way.”
“Often times I find myself walking into class with all eyes on me. Just once I want to know what it means to be a part of the family here. It leads to becoming a challenge being judged for how you look and not how you perform academically.”
“Before my time at K-state, I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household. At the beginning of my freshman year I told a few people this. By the end of the year everyone from my dorm floor was coming to me for help with their Spanish homework. I thought that would be the end of it. Instead, throughout my college career I have been looked upon multiple times to offer the Hispanic viewpoint on many current events. It is frustrating knowing that people look at my skin tone to offer my opinion on topics.”
“Growing up as a dual citizen, I have seen multiple instances of racial inequality – from a growing society that places high value on equality and inclusion of Sweden, to a smaller, more reserved, Midwestern, under-populated community in Kansas. Overall as a University I feel like there needs to be multiple steps that need to be taken for us to catch up to other places I have traveled in the world. The main problem that seems to be occurring is that students aren’t willing to immerse themselves in other peer groups or minorities. For instance, right now Kansas isn’t accepting Syrians into the state while Sweden has taken action and accepted around 30,000 Syrian refugees. I don’t have a solution to this situation – I’m asking for an open dialogue to be encouraged throughout campus.”