Photo and story by Teasia Cook / Contributing Writer
On Monday night, members of the MTSU African Student Organization and the Caribbean Student Organization expressed their thoughts and feelings on various aspects of their cultures in a friendly debate in the Business and Aerospace Building. Other students from different cultures also participated in this debate, expressing their views.
Claudius Sasraku, a member of the Caribbean Student Organization, opened the discussion by playing rapper Joyner Lucas’ “I’m Not Racist” video. The video features Joyner rapping from the perspective of a white man, who wears a “Make America Great Again” hat, and the perspective of a black man.
“With all due respect, I don’t have pity for you black n——. That’s the way I feel,” the white man says. “Screaming, ‘Black lives matter,’ all the black guys rather be dead-beats than pay your bills.
Three minutes and 17 seconds into the video, the black man speaks from his perspective
“With all disrespect, I don’t really like you white people,” the black man says in the video. “That’s just where I’m at. Screaming, ‘All lives matter,’ is a protest to my protest. What kind of sh– is that?”
After the video ended, the students were asked how it made them feel.
Sasruku mentioned that the white man in the video said much more than the black man.
“Did they get to anybody?” Sasruku asked.
The founder of the African Student Association, Emmanuel Lamptey, said the “n-word” does not affect him.
“I never say that I’m African-American. I just say that I’m African,” Lamptey said. “So when people use the n-word, that doesn’t really get to me.”
Nia Allen, an MTSU sophomore who attended the debate, was angry when she first viewed the video. However, she said that she had a better understanding of it when watching the video in its entirety.
“I think it’s kind of meant to draw your attention that way,” Allen said
Sasraku said the video does not affect him because of how he was raised. He stated that he does not care what others think of him.
“Here is my personal take on the video,” Sasruku said. “I see this white man saying n—– a lot … Personally, I don’t care, and here is why… I wasn’t raised to listen to nobody … I don’t know why I should wake up in the morning, get dressed, go about my day and let one person’s words affect my whole life.”
Benjamin Cane, an MTSU sophomore, added to the conversation by defining racism and the impact it can have on black people.
“Racism is a factor where you can develop a whole system in order to prohibit somebody,” Cane said. “… Black people can be prejudice. We are prejudice amongst each other where we have colorism, which is light skin versus dark skin … and we have (sexism).”
President of the Caribbean Student Organization Daynah Charlow expressed her thoughts on racism and said she has experienced racism more in America than in the Bahamas. Charlow said racism can be especially prevalent in her workplace due to her accent and appearance.
“I’m always conflicted,” Charlow said. “I was raised in the Bahamas, but because I’ve lived here so long, I feel like I felt a lot of the racism that I would have never felt at home. This summer, I was in a leadership position, and that was the most amount of racism that I ever experienced. This summer really showed me what it really means to be black in America. I feel like a lot of Caribbeans don’t acknowledge what black Americans have to go through.”
MTSU NAACP President Curtis Johnson said there is not enough support from the black community, despite more black people moving to America.
“We have all these issues, but we haven’t found a solution,” Johnson said. “The black rate increased, but the support is still the same.”
MTSU junior Chimnecherem Oguoma said that just because you may be at a disadvantage, you don’t have to accept it and stay there. She encouraged everyone to make a way for themselves.
“Only difference between me and that person is that … that person’s white,” Oguoma said. “There is nothing you can do about it … It’s just the way society is … Eventually, you will get a break.”
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