I Spoke With English Students About The Racist Messages At Exeter Uni

I Spoke With English Students About The Racist Messages At Exeter Uni

Here are the thoughts of two male university students about the bigoted message chain from the Exeter University law students.
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Recently, publications such as The Guardian, BBC, Independent, and The Telegraph have covered stories about a group of five students at Exeter University in southern England who have been suspended due to a racist chain of messages on WhatsApp. I spoke to two male English university students about their thoughts and opinions on the situation (they would prefer to remain anonymous).

To brief the situation of the Exeter students, they are a group of guys that were involved in a prestigious law society and participated in a Whatsapp group chat they had titled “Dodgy Blokes Soc”. The members in the message group made racist, sexist, and bigoted comments, such as, “this is why we need a race war”, or, “he’s why I’m for racial discrimination”. A fellow law student, Arsalan Motavali, screenshotted the disturbing messages and posted them on Facebook to expose the crude commentating the group made.

These are the responses from the university students I spoke with:

Southampton University student: “Universities all over the country are diverse places, full of people from all over the world, and what's perhaps most shocking is that these comments were made in a group chat which was itself diverse...these attitudes still exist in the youth of today and in the people who will go on to hold high powered jobs in the future. It shows that there is still so much work to be done when it comes to people's attitudes towards racism and that clearly not enough has been done to educate this generation...people make jokes about all sorts of things, and it's definitely not just white people, people of all ethnicities. What's bad about it here though is that the people who did it made the comments, jokes or not, in a group chat with people they weren't friends with and with people who were the targets of the comments.”

Drama student in London: “There is a really fine line between banter between friends and what is perceived as bullying/verbal/cyber attacks. you have to be careful not to jump on the moral high horse and assume you understand and know the context of how it’s being said. From an outsiders point of view of the messages, they were sending seems to be specifically about certain people, this makes it seem more like it’s an attack. because it’s funny to say something that you shouldn’t say... I consider myself to be extremely open, I don’t consciously judge people for who they are or what they look like and so when I say awful things it's coming from a position of knowing that I don’t mean a word of it. But of course, as noted, people outside of myself and the people that know me don’t know that stuff and would condemn me for it.”

Based on both of these men’s responses, they know and believe that the messages were disgraceful. But in my opinion, there is truth to their tellings of things being easily taken out of context, especially in this digital day and age where everything is typed through a screen, which is a good lesson for the future (not saying that the Exeter students were ‘just joking’ by any means). No matter if what you are saying is meant as a joke, there is always a chance that it will not be taken that way, particularly when it relates to racism or sexism, and we must all always be conscious of our audience.


Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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No, A Colored Student Did Not 'Steal Your Spot,' They Worked Hard To Get Here

I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

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Real talk, this whole "they're stealing our resources!" thing has to stop.

It ranges from welfare to acceptance letters into prestigious universities. People (and by people, I'm referring to those who identify as white) have made the assumption that they are having their opportunities stolen by people of color. That's ridiculous.

I love my university. I love the people at my university. However, when I sit in a classroom and look around at my colleagues, the majority of them are white. Of course, there are some classes that are filled with more people of color, but for the most part, they're predominantly white. So, let's say that out of a classroom of 30 students, only 7 identify as people of color.

In what world can somebody make the argument that those 7 students are stealing the spot of a white student? I don't think people realize how hard those 7 students had to work just to be in the same spot as their white counterparts.

Let me use my experience: I am a Latina woman who is attending university on a full-ride scholarship. I don't always tell people about this, because I don't feel like being asked, "wow, what did you do to get that?!" A lot. I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

First off, those "illegal immigrants" you're bashing, don't even qualify for financial aid. They don't qualify for most scholarships, actually. Second, have you considered that maybe, that "illegal immigrant" worked hard in and outside of school to earn their scholarship? I received my full-ride scholarship on the basis of my GPA, but also because I am a lower-class woman of color and was selected because I am disproportionately affected by poverty and access to a quality education.

So, this scholarship was literally created because there is an understanding that minorities don't have the same access to education as our white counterparts. It's not a handout though, I had to work hard to get the money that I have now. When white students get scholarships, it's not a handout but when you're Latina like me, apparently it is.

This way of viewing minorities and their education is damaging, and further discourages these people from receiving a quality education. We didn't steal anybody's spot, we had to work to get where we are, twice as hard as our white colleagues that are not discriminated against on a daily basis.

Instead of tearing down students of color because you didn't get a scholarship, why not criticize the American education system instead? It's not our fault tuition is $40k a year, and we have no reason to apologize for existing in a space that is predominantly white.

To students of color: you worked hard to get where you are, and I am proud of you. To white students: I'm proud of you too. We all worked hard to get to where we are now, let's lift each other up, not put each other down.

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