Like its predecessors, this Black History Month was yet another cop-out for non-Black Americans to proclaim allyship without action. “Allies” who posted a black square to their social media feeds over the summer seem to be silent now, despite racial injustice continuing to surge.
Black and Asian Americans are more likely to report adverse experiences due to their race or ethnicity since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the Pew Research Center. As the pandemic continues, it would be a failure to not recognize the violent racism hurled at Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals. A national coalition, Stop AAPI Hate, received over 2,000 accounts of anti-Asian hate across the nation between March 19, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.
As a predominately white institution, it is even more important for those with privilege at Ithaca College to take a stand against these issues. Members of the campus community, especially those who are not people of color, must not remain ignorant to the acts of racism that have come about as a result of the pandemic. Students of color at the college have been fighting for racial justice for years. There have been countless instances of racial bias and discrimination at the college, and, many times, students’ voices have been disregarded by other members of the campus community.
The college is not known for its proactive anti-racism. In Fall 2020, it was disappointing to see that it took a public callout from Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts Black, Indigenous and People of Color (ICTA BIPOC) — a group of students and alumni — for the college to address these issues. While it is reassuring to see students take agency, it is frustrating that the burden relies on them to take matters into their own hands.
As allies, the fight for racial justice must be intersectional. The work does not end when social media moves on. Allyship is a constant process of listening, learning and advocating. Allowing hateful rhetoric to justify any kind of violence, verbal or physical, is abusive.