Image by Rachal Marquez
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in a special section on race in the Graphic.
This past year, Pepperdine students have publicly considered what the ideals of equality and diversity mean to this community. Racist Yik Yak comments and a Blackface image posted on social media have ignited important and difficult conversations for students, faculty and administrators.
Both events were completely unacceptable. But these are only the events that made the front page. Likely, there are many other cases of less-public acts of racism that have occurred but have not been brought to the attention of the entire campus.
In November, a group of students known as Waves Against Ignorance took a public stand against all forms of racism and led a peaceful protest on campus that was accompanied by a list of demands of the University. The list included mandatory “cultural sensitivity and diversity training” and removal of both the Christopher Columbus statue above the Amphitheater and the wood-carved mural in the Caf.
The Graphic covered, and continues to cover, these events. But simply covering them as they happen is not enough. We at PGM knew the story is much deeper than the headlines, so we asked for personal stories from the Pepperdine community regarding equality and racial problems and you responded.
In the pages preceding this staff editorial is a personal discussion of race. Each and every one of the voices, professors’ and students’, have contributed a unique perspective. This collection of testimonies and discussions is not meant to solve the problem. It is simply meant as a way to continue the discussion of a dream of inclusivity and equality for Pepperdine and beyond. And we don’t want the conversation to stop here.
PGM staff is inviting those who are a part of the Pepperdine community to engage with us. Submit an application to join the staff as a writer or editor. Offer a Letter to the Editor. Share social media posts that are important. We invite people to contribute to history, as PGM is a physical archive of events.
As seen in this issue, Pepperdine Graphic Media (at that time, only the Graphic) has long been a part of covering historical racial tensions, such as those from 1965 to 1971. And we still continue to cover these issies today. With articles published online, your words will be a part of the greater Pepperdine history itself.
Our aim is to provide a forum for members of our community who often don’t feel like they have a voice. Everyone — no matter what religion, race, gender or sexuality — should work together to make equality possible. For the dream of equality should be a collective one. It should be a dream in which all voices should be allowed to be expressed and heard.
What happens to a dream deferred? Poet Langston Hughes posed this question more than 50 years ago, and it is still relevant today. We all have dreams. Yet, somehow, they can go unfulfilled everyday as a result of complex issues such as racism, inequality and oppression.
But does that mean these dreams aren’t important? No. Dreams can be a multitude of things. But they all ultimately fade away and are replaced by one dream. Equality.
Don’t get us wrong. We aren’t naive. Not every person wants to see gay and straight, male and female, atheist and religious, or Black and White people standing side-by-side in harmony. There are those who want terror to reign, walls to be put up, families to be torn apart. There are those who want separation and chaos and misunderstanding to plague people. They want their own personal agendas to become the collective agenda. But if we work together for change, we can move toward a future that is more hopeful than the wants of these people.
We all have to stand up for what is right. It doesn’t mean that things will change overnight. But the reality is that equality will happen. And so, this dream is not deferred. It is not over. It is simply to be continued.
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