Month: November 2017


Residential Community of the Month

School: Miami University Region: CAACURH
Nominee: Heritage Commons Community Leadership Team Nominator: Hoa Bui, Resident Director

On-Campus Population: 8100 Chapter Size: 80

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

The Community Leadership Team of Heritage Commons has exhibited exceptional leadership quality through their statement against the N-word to the whole Heritage Commons community. At Miami University, in October, there have been a few instances of White students using the N-word on social media platforms referring to Black students. One case went viral and caused the university administrators to respond. Heritage Commons CLT heard of this incident and talked about it in their weekly meeting. All members expressed outrage toward the use of the n-word and felt as though the administration's response was not sufficient. Therefore, the CLT decided that they will write a statement to address their expectations to the community and their actions to combat racism.

The statement is below:

What’s in a Word? For some, it is pain. Heritage Commons Community Leadership Team’s Statement on the Use of the N-word

Dear all Heritage Commons Residents,

We are the Community Leadership Team in the Heritage Commons community of 400 students. Our team--the 8 of us-- consist of students living in all 6 buildings of Heritage, and we come from very different backgrounds and countries. Some of you know us from our Art Explosion event in September and our invitation to a community conversation on sexual assault and interpersonal violence in October.

Today, in this statement, we would like to state our stance on the use of the N-word (regardless of the a-ending or the hard er- ending), especially in the context of referring to Black students in a derogatory way and especially by students from privileged social identities. At the end of this statement, you will see a list of actions that we as a group of leaders committed to in order to make Heritage Commons a more welcoming space for all.

All students at Miami deserve to feel safe. The N-word, with all histories of slavery, oppression, segregation, and covert and overt discrimination in everyday interaction and within our political/economic system, make many community members feel that they don’t belong.

Uttered to invoke inferiority, the N-word was used as a tool of oppression toward African American community throughout history of the US. Similarly, many words/names whose original intention is to hurt and discriminate still exist in our language that are reserved for many other underprivileged identities, and many underprivileged communities have been reclaiming some of them. And it is exactly that, the community that was hurt or discriminated against by a word reserve the special right to reclaim that word. The N-word belongs to the Black community to reclaim.

Even if you think it’s a double standard, it’s not asking too much to request that you not say this one word. There are many other words you could use to address your friends - dude, bro, pal, y’all, guy, buddy… at no time in your life will you ever NEED to use the word. All you have to do is not say one word and you’ll save tons of people from feeling unsafe. Doesn’t even matter if you think it’s “just a word…” Words don’t mean anything without context, and the context is racism. Refraining from using one word is not going to kill you.

As CLT in Heritage Commons, we are committed to: Publicly speaking against the use of the N-word by those with privileged identities. Every other week, starting Spring semester, reserve part of our meeting to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion. We will have free food in these meetings as incentive for you all to join us. We hope that you will join us in making this Heritage Commons community better to everyone!

Word Count: 600

Date of entry into database: 2017-11-21 10:44:00

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