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As I watch this chapter in America’s racial history unfold, I am saddened beyond comprehension.
Saddened by the loss of lives -- people and families whose lives are intertwined with my own.
As president of an organization committed to increasing college access and success, reflecting on racism in the broader society has made me acutely aware of the manifestations of racism on college and university campuses.
While racial diversity in higher education has improved, instances of overt racism still exist and hurt students of color directly but also affect everyone on campus, white students included.
Our failure, for example, to really talk about race manifests in a growing trend among higher education professionals and advocates, like myself, to use the more mainstream term of “equity.” While race is often implicit in these conversations, “equity” is quickly becoming a catchall phrase that could easily, once again, marginalize the issue of race.
Equity does prompt attention to a range of marginalized populations based on markers such as socioeconomic status, gender, etc.
Because of this racist act, a cloud of sadness and grief now hangs over both of these institutions.
Other overt acts, such as the incidents at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Mississippi, also elicit a collective disdain that transcends the color line.
Many people remain unaware of this definition and how their speech and behavior may sometimes reflect it.
This fact may be an inconvenient truth for some, but for millions of Americans it is an ever-present, inescapable aspect of their reality.