Students at the University of Michigan are igniting a dynamic dialogue about race and specifically what it means to be black at a predominantly white university.
After Theta Xi, a fraternity at University Of Michigan thought it was a good idea to throw a “Hood Ratchet Thursday” party invoking cultural stereotypes, black students were inspired to take action.
The hashtag #BBUM was launched at 11 a.m. on Tuesday by the Black Student Union asking students to share their “unique experiences of being black at Michigan.” On social media, students were encouraged to post both positive and negative experiences, although a majority of the posts shared are negative.
"The hope is to make the university more aware of what black students go through,” said University of Michigan student and BSU speaker Tyrell Collier.
The hashtag has taken off, trending on twitter and receiving national attention.
“I don’t think this is a problem specific to the university, I think it’s an experience that black students at predominantly white universities across the nation are facing,” Collier said to the Michigan Daily in an article about the campaign.
Conversations like this are not isolated to the University of Michigan. A video from students at UCLA recently went viral, and sparked national interest and conversation about diversity on college campuses after shining light on the fact that the school has more championships than black male freshmen.
Meanwhile, the conversation about race, and diversity and what it means to be black at the University of Michigan is ongoing. The black student union is also inviting students to share their experiences in written form on a posting wall on campus covered in black paper.
Although a formal response from the university hasn’t been issued yet, the school tweeted that they are listening:
Check out some examples of #BBUM posts:
#BBUM being the only black person in class, and having other races look at you to be the spokesperson whenever black history is brought up.
— Terra (@_myPrivateJET) November 19, 2013