Oberlin College’s KKK Scare and Hate Crimes

Rachel Decker
The Paw Print

For some time, Oberlin College has dealt with a significant increase in hate crimes. The line was crossed when students witnessed a person wearing a white hood and robe on the Ohio campus early Monday morning. The student was lingering near the Afrikan Heritage house and representing the Ku Klux Klan, making others on campus feel threatened. Classes were cancelled, and since the incident, members of the school and community have been working hard to put a stop to the rise of hate crimes.

In the past month, the campus has reported more than 15 hate crimes, and it is speculated nearly a dozen more have gone unmentioned. Attacks have included such things as derogatory posters insulting and degrading different races on campus, slang being painted onto walls and windows, and students using homophobic and racial language in demeaning manors.

Meredith Gadsby, chairwoman for the Africana Studies department, is making efforts on campus to end the violence being spread. She helped put together a meeting to get to the bottom of the hate crimes, saying, “I am worried about the students who have been made to feel incredibly unsafe and still feel targeted.”

So far, police have not confirmed the KKK regalia sighted, but they are working hard and fast to obtain reports. They hope that students will come forward and report what they saw, and that they will be able to get to the bottom of this attack. Two students have been taken in under suspicion, but police will not be saying any more at this time.

One of the major issues being brought forward in the racial attacks is white discrimination. In many campuses around the nation, schools are promoting “African pride” and “Latino pride”, but when Caucasian students begin to support “white pride”, it is unacceptable.

“I’m fine with the African American students voicing their pride, but I don’t see why I can’t. If a [black] student is allowed to go around saying things like ‘I love being black’, I don’t see why my opinion should be put away just because I’m Caucasian. It’s unbelievable,” says one student who wishes to remain anonymous.

It is unusual that discrimination of Caucasian students is one of the most targeted racial groups, and many find it hard to believe, let alone understand. It is not unheard of, however, and it can be just as detrimental. Gadsby, along with many others working hard to putting an end to this discrimination, want to focus on the larger picture. The student body and the community want to bring the students together and have them unite to bring down the hate.

“Having the students work together will be really eye-opening, I think,” Gadsby said. “It will show them that despite their backgrounds and appearances, they can work together to put a stop to violence and pain. I think it’s a really great idea that could turn into something really beautiful.”

For now, there is no official word on the status of classes, but it is everyone’s hope to keep this incident from disrupting student campus life any further.


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