I am moved to respond to an incident at UVa recently in which a black student is driven into the ground for conflicting address data on his i/d.
<“Young black men as targets”>
Never is it acceptable to mistreat any individual, nor is it my intent to permit this incident to serve as an indication that I was not affected by the treacherous murders of other young black men and children in recent months. Each murder, regardless of details, was personal. In much the same way, I debate what is purported to be an innate longing to bear children. I question whether this is the country in which they should and, ultimately, can be raised.
Mr. Johnson is no doubt a scholar, a fact that is irrefutable. He is in no manner an underachieving, noncontributing member of society. He is, beyond being an honorable black student at UVA, the now scarred face of what remains of the University of Virginia honor system and top ranked sites surrounding the Grounds. The city of Charlottesville, collectively with my university, has succeeded in failing students and alumni around the world in the 2014-2015 school year.
As one privy to the climate on The Corner and the many nooks and crannies both on and off Grounds, I am acutely aware of the disingenuous tactics employed by both the university administration and the Albemarle community to quell
matters of racial inequity.
I wanted more than anything, to embrace, in stride with the advent of spring, the infallible truth that the University of Virginia had the where-with-all to emerge from the ever-growing pile of ashes as the beacon of hope for the restructuring of colleges across America. In my embrace, I am left with ashes, averted eyes and sorrowful faces, drawn neither from shame nor guilt, but ambivalence.
I did not attend and graduate from the University of Virginia so that black undergraduates could spend their formative years being subjected to and bombarded with the same prejudice and hatred that plagued my academic experience. We, as black graduates, have a responsibility to those walking in our footsteps to extend our hands, arms and necks, if need be, in a concerted and effectively-focused effort to cease, disable, and realign all manner of injustice facing our futures.
That is what Martese Johnson and all other black undergraduate students are. Our futures. Standing idly by is in itself remittance for this boldly enduring pervasive prejudice and unfounded fear to dine with our children as they pursue higher education in the coming decades.