University of Delaware Incident Highlights Racial Tension

By Emma Way


Racial tensions reached their boiling point in my hometown of Newark, Del. after three noose-like objects were found in a tree on the University of Delaware’s campus on Sept. 22 in the same location a Black Lives Matter protest occurred just the day before.

What many students and community members originally saw as a hate crime was instead discovered by a police investigation to be the remnants of several paper lanterns. Once word was released that this incident was not a hate crime, the critics came out of the woodwork chastising protesters, students, and even UD’s Interim President Nancy Targett for jumping to conclusions.

I was one of those people who “jumped to conclusions,” and I’m proud of it. What if it had been a hate crime? It still seems oddly coincidental that objects that resemble nooses were found in the exact spot of a Black Lives Matter protest held just one day prior. I’d rather support those who feel threatened and rebuke those who think intolerance is okay than stay silent and ignore the obvious racial tensions in my hometown and across the country.

Now that the incident has been investigated, which major props to the Newark Police Department for investigating so swiftly, there has been the ever present All Lives Matter backhanded comment and critiques that people are becoming overly sensitive to where everything looks like a hate crime.

University of Delaware became the latest center for controversy for the Black Lives Matter movement. Despite police explanation for the supposed hate crime, students remain adament that the university needs to discuss race.
University of Delaware became the latest center for controversy for the Black Lives Matter movement. Despite police explanation for the supposed hate crime, students remain adament that the university needs to discuss race.

Then there’s the fellow I spoke to on the radio on Sept. 23, who was utterly clueless about the situation but decided to share his ignorance and occasional racism with the state of Delaware anyway. I had never called in to a radio show before, but when I was scanning through the stations and heard the word “noose” I paused to listen on 101.7.

All this gentleman kept saying was, “why?” Why would anyone think these things were nooses? Why would people overreact this much? Why claim this was a hate crime?

The answer could have been easily found if this radio personality had done his homework instead of just shooting out some baseless opinions. Instead of letting his ignorance continue to permeate the minds of Delaware, I called in to share the facts of the case and why the UD community could have been especially sensitive to such an incident.

On Sept. 22, there was a Black Lives Matter protest, as I mentioned before, but it wasn’t just for kicks. It was because the new campus group Students for the Second Amendment brought Fox News pundit Katie Pavlich to campus for a lecture on gun rights. Seems pretty unrelated, but buried under Pavlich’s pro-gun beliefs she also loves to share her disapproval of the Black Lives Matter movement. She has called them a “violent hate group” among other things, thus spurring the necessity for a silent protest outside of her lecture.

About 80 students gathered, holding signs and wearing black, to show their solidarity against racist comments like those said by Pavlich. Then, one day later, there were noose-like objects in trees. So that’s why, Mr. Radio Man.

After I ranted for about two minutes on air about why it is important to do one’s research and be sensitive to issues like this one as so many people felt very threatened and unsafe on their own campus after this incident, I hung up. In response, he said, “Well there’s minority privilege in action.”

Although, it has been nearly two weeks since I heard this nauseating sentence, I still remember every single word of his slur. First of all, I am white, but not like it really matters. Second of all, his comment insinuated that only people who are a minority themselves stand up for other minorities, which is just so far off the mark. If you believe so deeply in All Lives Matter then shouldn’t anyone, regardless of race, stand up for anyone and everyone?

I said before that I’m proud I jumped to conclusions. Ignoring the problem makes you part of the problem. Not recognizing that we have deeply rooted racial tensions all across the country and even criticizing those who protest for racial equality in movements like Black Lives Matter, means your ignorance is holding back America.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *