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How fake racism changed Salisbury University forever
The problem is not systemic racism, it's systemic deception.
In November of 2019, vile graffiti was scrawled onto the interior walls of Salisbury University’s Fulton Hall. The graffiti was sexually explicit, racially inflammatory, and referenced the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School from back in 2012, reading in part:
“Big white dicks rule”
“I get it your dick is small and it’s not white”
“Just because we have big white dicks don’t hate”
“Big white cocks in black girls”
“Sandy Hook comes to SU kill [racial slur]”
The Salisbury University Chapter of the NAACP captured a video of the graffiti and posted it to Instagram:
The SU NAACP appears to attribute the blame for the graffiti to SU’s white students, as the individual capturing and narrating the video can be heard verbally saying “really white people, really” and the description text published alongside the video reads: "Salisbury University student(s) have vandalized the Fulton School of Liberal Arts".
Well that Instagram post quickly circulated throughout campus, and as it did, commenters flooded in demanding that SU “address racism on the campus IMMEDIATELY” and “DO SOMETHING ABOUT RACISM”. [a]
Soon after, The Washington Post caught wind of the incident and activated coverage of the story. They connected with student Jamil C. who, speaking presumably for all of SU’s people of color, said “we don’t feel safe” at SU. Fellow student Yayé S. similarly said she feels like “I’m not safe”, and that, as a black muslim student, she should feel as comfortable as white students. Moving forward to that end, Yayé said the student body planned to “force administrators to listen and make immediate changes”. [b]
And listen and make immediate changes is exactly what those administrators would do.
SU President Charles Wight reacted to the graffiti in an email to campus where he was “outraged” and declared that, as a university SU has a responsibility to address “systemic issues of racism”. The next night, Wight held a “community conversation” in Assembly Hall where over 800 students and staff attended dressed in all black. [c] [d]
After the gathering, Wight published a written statement to the university website, Wight wanted everyone to know that he had “listened” during the conversation, and that he and his administration would be taking “immediate steps” to address “racism” and related issues. [e]
So what immediate steps would Wight and his administration take?
For starters, mandatory diversity and sensitivity training for the entire faculty and staff: [e]
"We are gathering information about the completion of required diversity and sensitivity training with the goal of achieving 100% faculty and staff compliance"
Next, revisions to the curriculum: [e]
"I heard many of the suggestions students had about revising curriculum to become more attentive to the growing diversity of our student population. I will work with faculty and the Faculty Senate to implement changes in the coming months"
Then, alterations to the physical appearance of the campus: [d]
"University Staff are working to update imagery in SU buildings to better reflect the campus’ current population"
And lastly, to find and hire a Chief Diversity Officer, someone who will: [f]
"Provide executive leadership, oversight and vision in the administration of services, programs, policies and procedures related to advancing SU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion”
So in direct response to this depraved if not particularly articulate graffiti, Salisbury University, an institution founded in 1925, would be undergoing foundational change as part of a “commitment to inclusion”. [f]
Well some time passed and the fervor of the day died down. The individual responsible for the graffiti was never identified, but regardless students resumed goofing and studying, and administrators resumed meeting and paperworking. The rest of the Fall semester and the year 2019 came and went.
But then a couple months later, suddenly, more racist graffiti appeared. This time in Henson Hall, reading: “its hang a [n-word] month”. [g]
Reporting on this latest incident, local news outlet WMDT wrote that the ongoing graffiti was “promoting racist ideas”. Student Stephen M. remarked to WMDT that “It’s just a continuous hate speech and hate crimes on this campus that seems to go almost unnoticed”.
Student Savannah J. felt uneasy not knowing who was responsible for the graffiti: “The scary thing is they hide in the shadows, you could be walking next to them, sitting next to them in the commons, and you don’t even know”. [h]
President Wight responded by declaring that “campus is under attack” as he reiterated that “hate and discrimination will not be tolerated” at SU. He even revealed that the FBI had been assisting SU with the investigation since the previous Fall. [i] [j]
So to take stock of all the events so far, here we have: a racist lurking in the shadows, students fearing for their safety, outraged administrators, mandatory sensitivity trainings for faculty and staff, edits to school curriculum, alterations to campus appearance, an incoming Chief Diversity Officer, local and national news coverage, open investigations from law enforcement, and even involvement from the FBI!
Who the hell caused all of this? Who was the individual responsible for the graffiti and all the uproar that came with it?
Could it have been, God forbid, a truly deranged and racially motivated individual with a heinous fantasy to act out? Or perhaps, some lonely white male student who overindulged in Jordan Peterson content on Youtube? If not, then probably some MAGA hat wearing, light beer drinking, white fraternity brother right?
Nay. None of these generalizations describe who the perpetrator actually was.
The perpetrator actually was: a silly 54 year old black man from Princess Anne’s county with virtually no connection to SU named Jerome Jackson. [k]
And yes Jackson is a silly man. He wanders onto college campuses. He writes synonyms for penis onto plain white walls. He contemplates the size and color of the penis. And one out of every handful of words he writes is a racial slur.
But, no hidden-in-plain-sight diabolical racist to be found here. Closer to a combination of Dave Chapelle’s Clayton Bigsby, a blind racist klan leader who is unaware that he himself is black, and Johah Hill’s character in Superbad, who grew up obsessed with drawing thick veiny dicks.
As far as the public record is concerned, Jackson’s motive may never be revealed, he chose not to speak publicly in court. But his lawyer speculated that his client’s intentions were noble, to: “start a conversation about race at SU”. [l]
For the SU students and administration though, the news that Jackson, a black man, was responsible for the graffiti should be a relief right? Like the threat of there being a legitimate anti-black racist operative on campus turned out to be non-existent in this case.
Well, not exactly.
In a comment to WMDT, student Abiodun A. grew concerned that Jackson’s being black may diminish black people’s ability to criticize white people in matters of race the next time an incident arises: [m]
"I don’t want people to get this idea that since that man wrote that and he was a black person, well anything that happens now you African American people can’t criticize white people about race"
And President Wight considered the entire series of events just one more step on our collective pilgrimage towards finally confronting systemic racism: [n]
“This is just one step toward helping us confront the larger issues of systemic racism that were made so painfully obvious during the last several weeks. We have a lot of work to do – as a campus, as a community and as a nation.”
Now let us together acknowledge the obvious but incendiary thing: there is no racism here, none at all. Not of the individual sort and not of the systemic sort, Jackson being black nullifies that completely. Outside of an extreme edge case, the thought of an individual black person perpetrating anti-black racism is generally absurd, that is exactly what makes Chapelle’s Bigsby skit so hilarious.
As for Wight chalking this whole thing up to systemic racism, you can imagine the hyper-woke argument that it was systemic racism in the first place that drove Jackson into a life station so destitute that he can’t possibly be responsible for his own actions. But of course as reality would validate, it is not a society that writes dicks and n-words on walls, it is an individual in possession of his own brain and his own hands.
No the story here before us nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with: an immature derelict, his hoax, and an invertebrate administration knee-jerk reacting to a situation with wholly incomplete information and then later deceptively invoking this faux-racist hoax as justification to continue reorganizing the university in the name of woke antiracism, none of which gets reported on by news organizations that have abdicated the necessary function of holding powerful decision makers accountable.
The problem is not systemic racism, it’s systemic deception.
If you can believe it, four years prior to the events covered in this story so far, there was another incident of racially inflammatory graffiti at SU. This time a stick figure being hung accompanied by the text #whitepower was discovered on a whiteboard in Blackwell Library. Then President Janet Dudley-Eshbach reacted by calling it an “act of intolerance” and reassured everyone that “diversity is a core value at SU”. [o]
Two weeks later it was revealed that a group of black students were responsible for the graffiti, which a writer from DelmarvaNow news considered a “painful conclusion to SU’s racist drawing mystery” before reminding everyone that, even though a group of black students were responsible, the problem is still racism: [p]
“It doesn’t matter who writes hate speech, and who it targets. It is still hate speech. It is still a racial epithet. It is still a problem”
You know if you look close enough, almost visible is one single connective thread, weaving together the faux-racist hoaxes, to the overzealous outrage, to the rewording of the reality on the ground, to the endless repetition of the racism narrative, to the public record barely resembling reality, all culminating in absolute institutional reform in accordance with the woke orthodoxy.
All of which is based on that same fundamental deceit: that black individuals perpetrating faux-racist hoaxes is evidence of racism writ large. It’s not.
If you were to drop a human from another planet onto the campus of SU, you could understand why they would be gulled into thinking the university is plagued by racism. And that deception appears to be exactly the intended outcome of this distributed system of administrators, media members, students, and activists.
And in case you somehow manage to forget, President Wight is here to remind you whenever a divisive event flashes before us: Wight called the death of George Floyd the “scourge of systemic racism” and later he denounced the Capitol rioters who wanted to “return to a less equitable time in American history” because, you know, white supremacy and racism. [q] [r]
At SU, it seems racism is the default assumption. As for pointing out when that plainly is not the case, well, what are you some kind of racist?
Preview image photo credit to Maryland GovPics at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdgovpics/40755664935