N.C. State Students: Progressing or Forgetting

Amanda McKnight | Staff Writer

On Jan. 30, W.E.S.T (Women Empowering Society Together) sponsored their 3rd Annual Date Auction in Talley Ballroom. 25 percent of proceeds from the event were contributed to Dress for Success Triangle, a charity that helps disadvantaged women transition into employment by providing them with business attire.

The black community on campus was abuzz with discussion about who was going, who was entered into the auction, and how much individuals were willing to spend. There were also discussions about whether having any type of “auction” organized by a black organization was irresponsible.

Is an auction with men and women standing before a crowd to be bet upon a little too close to our history to be okay? WEST’s event has brought up a conversation on campus about what we in the black community are willing to take part in.

On that same afternoon, the NCSU Black Alumni Twitter account began to ask the question of why black students are so apathetic to the issues affecting us. They are wondering why we don’t care as much as they did when they were undergrads. Our generation has been criticized for not caring and being very reactionary rather than proactive to issues that arise. Are we too passive, or are we following the path to a “post racial” America?

As young adults of the late 1980’s and ‘90’s, we are almost two generations out of federal laws mandating segregation. While many of us still encounter bigotry, we do not have the experiences that our parents and grandparents had to endure to motivate activism. No longer are we fighting in the streets and protesting the way that was needed in previous years. It can be argued that our perceived apathy has allowed for people to feel as though they can act any way towards the black community without our outcry. Anyone who has been at N.C. State has encountered bigoted drawings in the Free Expression Tunnel.

This issue is not just concentrated to N.C. State’s campus however. For example, worldwide people were “planking” for fun on the internet. “Planking” is a term that is associated with the North Atlantic Slave Trade specifically, because that is how human cargo was transported in the bottom of slave ships- by lying flat on top of one another. Then all of sudden people were laying down flat on surfaces for a few laughs. Not to mention the arguments that are started about the use of the n**** in music and television.

The question is whether this really matters anymore. Do we all have to really be so hyper aware of things relating to slavery and constantly “black check” ourselves before enjoying something? That is all a matter of opinion, but as students we should be aware of what is really going on our campus. Our Alumni are calling us out for a reason. They know what it was like to be a student at N.C. State; they worked hard for what we seem to take for granted now.

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