Section: Opinion

In wake of election results, Kenyon needs to protect students of color

Regardless of who wins the election, there could be anger and violence as a result. Along these lines, people have warned on Instagram to prepare mentally and physically for the outcome of this election. The warning to brace yourself for the future is not empty or far-fetched. Kenyon’s administration needs to prepare to protect students of color from the possible dangerous outcomes of the elections.  

President Trump has been instructing his supporters to “watch the polls” in a clear attempt at voter suppression and has spread the false belief that an increase of absentee ballots will lead to fraud on behalf of the Democratic Party. He has already suggested that if he does not win the election, he will not commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Many of his remarks are also blatantly racist, empowering people to be openly bigoted and violently flaunt their racist beliefs.  

Trump’s comments throughout his presidency  have reawakened the confidence of hate groups to act openly upon their beliefs, and this is a danger in Kenyon’s own backyard. We saw this fear come to life as there was a rumor on Monday night that Trump supporters from Mount Vernon were going to riot on Kenyon’s campus following the increase of threats from white supremacists around the country. The response of Kenyon’s administration was minimal, offering the false comfort of Campus Safety’s presence. For years, we had a Knox County sheriff’s deputy who took out his racist urges on Black students. We are lucky to have the amazing President Decatur who worked with BSU to limit police presence to only daytime hours, but the College has no plan to deal with the impending danger of the outcome of this election, leaving people of color on campus vulnerable. 

During the first presidential debate, Trump would not condemn white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, implying that he may support such groups and empowering them to continue their terrorism. This is  despite the Department of Homeland Security labeling white supremacists as “the deadliest domestic terror threat to the United States.” 

My peers and I see Confederate flags on cars at Walmart, and in people’s front yards throughout Knox County. The threat of racism is only heightened by the fact that 22 out of 31 hate groups in Ohio are anti-Black, anti-LGBTQIA*, anti-Muslim or classified as general hate. General hate is defined as groups who have a variety of unique hateful doctrines and beliefs that cannot be easily categorized. The other nine are Black separatist groups (which do not include the original Black Panther Party, Black Lives Matter or all pro-Black groups), which still pose a threat to LGBTQIA* people regardless of race. Black separatists are also against integration, so Black people who are against segregation or are in an interracial relationship, like me, are still at risk. 

The most terrifying part of this state is that it has open carry laws, meaning that civilians can openly have guns on their person. As a Black person, Kenyon is a scary place to be about 50% of the time, but I am privileged to be light-skinned, and female. I cannot imagine how it feels to be a person of color who is dark-skinned or identifies male or queer. Who will protect them? 

Kenyon needs to take action against this threat. I do not have the answers, but it is terrifying to see little evidence that the administration is even thinking about any safety protocols to address this very real threat. Students of color and queer students need to band together and figure out how we will protect ourselves and each other. Allies, we need you to check in on us, alert us if needed and, most importantly, help protect us.  

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