Sunday, September 30, 2012

How far have we really come?

Today I came across a really interesting article while looking at the New York Times home page. As many families have been dealing with either sending a new freshman away to college or saying goodbye again to a junior or senior in the past couple of weeks, an article titled, “50 Years After Integration Ole Miss Grapples With History” caught my eye. Just the name of the article really interested me, and I wasn’t that surprised when the article did too. The article, written by Campbell Robertson discussed how University of Mississippi is reflecting on its racially segregated past and the new ceremonies and plans for the future.
            Exactly 50 years ago, an African-American student enrolled in classes and marked the end of the racially segregated campus. While ‘Ole Miss’ has been celebrating how far the university has come in that period of time, many people feel like not enough attention is being paid to what is was like before the campus was integrated. Professor Eagles, when addressing the 50th anniversary asked, “whether an institution of higher learning should be acclaiming an event…rather than focusing more intently on the history that preceded it.” It is really interesting to me that the professor brought this up, during a week designated for celebration. Perhaps he just wanted to remind the student body of University of Mississippi that there still is a long way to go in making the campus completely and one hundred percent racially integrated?
The college and university experience in the United States is so very different from countries all over the world. In many countries, the college you chose is the one closet to your house, and you commute to classes everyday. In many other countries, you are lucky if you even get to attend college classes. It seems like only in America do you go live away from home, stay in a dorm and really get the college experience. However, especially in the south at colleges like ‘Ole Miss’, college was not accessible for African-American students because of racial segregation. It seems like the United States has come so far, but this article seems to really question that. I’m also now starting to wonder, how far has the United States really come?  

1 comment:

  1. I think there are many other people just like you who wonder, "how far have we really come" when it comes to being racially integrated. I remember hearing that Ole Miss still has trouble sometimes with being integrated. In the U.S. and especially down south, I think there will always be racism issues. This is just because it was such a big part of our country's history and some people are just raised to dislike people of different races. The United States as a country has come a long way though since the times of Martin Luther King Jr., the KKK, and the freedom riders. Everyday I think we pass new milestones. For example in 2008, we had our first African American president and that was a big deal. With time segregation will fade out with each generation. But in the end, we as a country can never forget the past.