Racially insensitive memes shouldn’t be associated with UI

In the movie “The Dark Knight,” Alfred declares to Batman, in reference to The Joker, that “some men just want to watch the world burn.” This sentiment is shared by some individuals who follow the University of Illinois’ Memes Facebook group about me. Subsequently, this quote has been plastered over a photo of my face and published in the group.

This comes in the midst of a heated debate between students who believe that the group continues to publish racially insensitive images and comments under the University of Illinois’ name and “those who wish to protect these images”:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2012/02/not_every_joke_is_going_to_fly_with_everyone. However, I am proud to have written a resolution that stands on the right side of history — a resolution that reiterates diversity, cultural competence and acceptance among peers.

The Illinois Student Senate voted on Wednesday night to pass the resolution entitled Statement to Encourage the “University of Illinois’ Memes” Facebook Group to Disassociate from the University of Illinois with a vote of 23 in favor, three opposed and three abstentions.

A number of students showed up to the meeting to express their discontent with the Facebook group and their voices were heard by the senate. This was the largest group and most number of speakers the Eight Assembly has ever seen.

The only action that the resolution calls for is to “ … encourage the creator and followers of the ‘University of Illinois’ Memes’ Facebook group to avoid using the University of Illinois’ name in conjunction with racially insensitive material.”

Furthermore, it reiterates one of our University’s stances on diversity and states that the Facebook group is neither reflective nor supported by our diverse student body.

I stood on the floor of the Assembly and pledged to work with any individual who wants to move forward in creating diversity training for all incoming University students and that offer still stands.

I also presented a scholarship resolution on diversity and the tone of the room sadly shifted back to what we are used to seeing.

Therefore, if that is “wanting to watch the world burn,” then let it burn. Let racial hate burn. Let racial intolerance burn. Let injustice burn. Let cultural incompetence burn. Let it all burn down to ashes and allow me to be the first to light a match.

In that very moment when we no longer live in a world where these things are thriving and real, let peace, tolerance, understanding and love grow anew from the heart of the world. And then again, I’ll be there to nurture it and see it through.

Damani Bolden,

senator, College of ACES