The Voice of a Black Student Against Racism After UMass Amherst Scandal


I’ve never wanted to cry more over a social media post than just recently, when I saw a triggering Instagram story. 

A Boston University student posted pictures of an email that a student from University of Massachusetts at Amherst received. The user (amarri.rose) explains in her caption that she reposted the email because “it need[ed] more attention.” She also urges everyone who sees her post to “repost this, share it on your story, do whatever you can.”

Either a group of students or a single student decided to send an email addressed to the “Black Students of our campus.” This email contains hateful statements, such as “We look down upon you” and “You people should seriously consider doing the human race a favor and getting sterilized.”

It is posts like these that make me want to cry, scream and hide at the same time. I want to cry because this is the pain and fear that I face and feel every day while in school. I am scared because there are instances in which I fear that many people I encounter on a day-to-day basis may feel this way. 

I want to scream because I feel the pain and struggle that those black UMass Amherst students must feel. I imagine myself getting that email, and I think that I would leave immediately. If I was in their situation, I would want to do what I could to escape that pain and struggle. 

I feel like I want to hide because there are moments of fear that I cannot escape when I read posts like this. This message was a four paragraph essay filled with hatred. This makes me scared of those who could hate me based on something that I cannot control.

When I read that post, I immediately called my best friend who attends a historically black college and university (HBCU). After sending him the post, we talked about it, and I was surprised by our very different reactions to something that we both could relate to. 

My friend grew up in Washington, D.C., an area not far from me. We had different high school experiences; he attended a private school with a majority black student body , and I attended an all girls’, predominantly white school. Our experiences have always been different, but we’ve been able to connect with and relate to many similar situations. 

Since we have had such different school experiences, we both had very different reactions. He was more concerned with the fact that it did not affect him in any way. However, I felt like I was personally attacked in an email that wasn’t even sent to me. 

I think about my experiences at school, and then I read “you simply did not get here on merit,” and I find myself wanting to hide. I doubt myself because someone is saying that they do not think that black people even belong in higher education institutions. The email goes on to say, “students are not the only [ones] who think this and know this (it is a common fact that a black person can score hundreds of points lower on the SAT) but also professors and TAs.”

These thoughts and struggles are not felt by me alone, and I know now that I have people who feel the same way I do. 

Throughout high school, I felt alone in a class where no one looked like me, and I sometimes felt like people did not want me there, just like the email said: “Not only do you lack intellectual chops you never truly fit in with campus culture or any clique on campus and the only reason we engage with you is out of fear of being called racist…”

I know Fordham is not UMass Amherst, but it is not very far from it. During my three years here, I know where I stand within the Fordham community, and I hope that the freshmen now are able to realize that they are not alone. We have people who will support us and are willing to take a stance against injustices like these that we see happening across the country.