Members of the Ohio University activist group Black Lives Action Coalition (BLAC) want to see compulsory “cultural competency” courses established for the spring of 2017.
BLAC’s Olivia Busby said that she had been “mulling over the idea for [cultural competency] classes for a year and a half,” but an incident at a campus “graffiti wall” led to the need for “immediate action.”
The group had held an “emergency meeting” right before winter break to ponder action following the “defacing” of a Black Lives Matter message on the (graffiti) wall.
“It’s always like something happens, we react to it, we get mad, we come together to discuss and that’s it,” Busby said. “There’s never any action put in place. It’s like we forget that the racism on campus doesn’t exist when it’s not making us mad or upset.”
Busby said she wants to make the class mandatory for students of all majors.
Brittany Mitchell, co-creator of the class and member of BLAC, said both she and Busby hope to have the application completed in order for the class to be considered for next school year.
The classes will be different compared to most classes because it will not be a “typical, hetero-normative class,” rather the professor will be used as a moderator to keep the dialogue constant between the students, student teachers and teaching assistants, Busby said.
“Right now, we don’t have to discuss … any of the specific learning outcomes, but we have to do an overview and list the details such as what days the class will be taught, what tier will it be under and things like that,” Mitchell, a junior studying political science and global studies, said. “We want to have it being a space where we talk about current issues regarding identity based conflicts and a forum where people can talk themselves out of their own prejudices.”
I’m sure you can imagine how those “talk themselves out of their own prejudices” scenes will go.
After all, both Mitchell and Busby had issues with what was ultimately painted over the defaced graffiti wall: A large “Love Matters” message.
“Saying ‘love matters’ is just a coded language for saying all lives matter,” Mitchell said. “That definitely did not address any of the issues students of color were dealing with at the time.”