We find ourselves in an incredibly charged climate. I get that. I also get that there are a few actual racists running around, so it’s not like there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to be worried.
However, a report at Campus Reform proves that things have gone way, way too far:
A Greek Life retreat at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) was promptly cancelled this weekend after a banana peel was found hanging in a tree.
“To be clear, many members of our community were hurt, frightened, and upset by what occurred at IMPACT,” Interim Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Alexa Lee Arndt remarked in an email between Greek leaders, according to The Daily Mississippian. “Because of the underlying reality many students of color endure on a daily basis, the conversation manifested into a larger conversation about race relations today at the University of Mississippi.”
Apparently, student Ryan Swanson admitted to discarding the banana peel in a tree after he was unable to locate a garbage can, and it was later spotted by Alpha Kappa Alpha President Makala McNeil, who leads one of the campuses historically black sororities.
“The overall tone was heavy. I mean, we were talking about race in Mississippi and in the Greek community so there’s a lot involved,” McNeil recalled, later adding that she and her friend were “all just sort of paranoid for a second” after spotting the banana.
After word of the banana spread throughout the retreat, leaders decided to end the event early. Arndt explained that she “felt it was imperative to provide space immediately to students affected by this incident.”
I love how this extreme paranoia is justified as an “underlying reality many students of color endure on a daily basis.” Please. I live in the Deep South, and you know what I see when I run into black people? We say hello, hold the doors open for each other. We greet each other with smiles.
And this is in Southwest Georgia.
While racism is something that exists, only the truly stupid or the truly paranoid can buy into the idea that every minority is under constant threat anywhere in the country from the scourge of racists.
And none of that addresses the fact that it Was. A. Banana. Peel.
Schools aren’t doing these students any favors. Someone should have told McNeil to think like an adult and to stop being so awful to others with her suspicions.