Fifty years. The world of 2014 is nothing like the world of 1964. Unfortunately, some people seem to be stuck in the past.

In 1964, the United States passed the Civil Rights Act, making discrimination based on race illegal, but on Sunday night, there was a racist incident in Gonzaga Hall. A number of males were outside of a female’s dorm room saying, “What’s up, n-word” and “Go home, you dumb n-word.” When she opened her door, she saw the suspects running down the hall.

As a nation, we are past this, but as a Jesuit university that prides itself on the motto “men and women for others,” it appears that we are not quite there yet. This should not be happening today.

Not only does this impinge on this female’s inherent rights, but it also calls attention to the safety of students and the ignorance of our peers. This female student should not be treated differently by anyone, just like any other human being. She should not be afraid to walk around campus with her head held high, whether she is white, black, brown or blue. She should know that she is in a safe environment with people who respect her as a person and as their peer. Two male students stripped her of this confidence and were then too afraid to look her in the face.

This incident actually says much more about the suspects than the victim. While they were bold enough to make such bias statements, they are too afraid to back them up. By frantically running away, these suspects proved that they knew they were in the wrong.

Everyone deserves respect at all times, from the CEO of Google to the homeless man on the corner. No one has the right to claim that they are better than others, which is exactly what the two suspects did. They used a hateful word to assert their power over someone who is just as equal as they are.

Our generation has led the movement for another kind of acceptance – of LGBTQ people. We are in the position to learn from our ancestors’ mistakes – including many people’s racist mindsets. Yet, this campus seems to be divided between acceptance and indifference. This incident proves that racism is still happening today right in front of us. It happens behind closed doors, in our dorms, on our campus, and in our country. And it needs to stop.

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