Following an anti-racism presentation on Tuesday, students and faculty at American University in Washington, D.C. found 10 Confederate flags, with cotton stalks attached, hanging around campus.
The focus of the presentation was the unveiling of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center by history professor and bestselling author, Ibram X. Kendi. When the building opens, he will head its’ initiatives.
What was supposed to be a celebratory announcement quickly turned sour when students became emotional in reaction to seeing the racially-offensive signs that boasted the words “Huzzah for Dixie” outside of Kendi’s history classroom. To quell some of the angst felt by his AU pupils, the 2016 National Book Award winner took to social media.
“This is the latest attempt on this campus to frighten our community, as groups are trying to frighten other communities around the country,” Kendi wrote in a note shared via his Twitter account. “I want you to know that you are a model of triumph — and when you triumph you become a threat to people who would rather you fail.”
rLast May, American University dealt with racist attacks against the first Black woman to hold the position as president, Taylor Dumpson. The then-college-junior found bananas and nooses littered around the campus. Those responsible for the tasteless act even targeted her sorority house, including the letters of her Black Greek organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
On Wednesday, University President Sylvia Burwell held a campus town hall to address student concerns and provide an update on the search to find the culprit. The @AUPublicSafety Twitter account also posted a short video with footage of the vandal walking the halls of the university.
These campus incidents and many more like them further confirm that United States campuses may very well have a campus race problem.