Racial Reconciliation

In February, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship took a student poll on the state of racial reconciliation on OU’s campus. For two days, we had tables set up in the Union and the Bizzell library to catch students for a few minutes and hear their input.

We got rather varied responses. A lot of people felt frustrated with the current situation, or felt that things are getting better. But there were also plenty of students who believed that racial reconciliation is about as good as it gets, and those who have a lot of anger towards the whole situation.

As part of the survey, we asked students to choose from a list of events which they felt has been a high point in our nation’s history of race relations and which has been a low point. The most popular high point was either the Emancipation Proclamation or the Civil Rights Movement. The most popular low point was slavery. Those were predictable. What I didn’t expect, though, was the also very high number of people who chose the Native American Massacres as the lowest low point of race relations. I know that I hardly learned about those in school; when I was doing research for this event, I was shocked to learn how many different massacres there were. But many people here seemed very familiar with them. I wonder if that’s a geographical difference. Virginia has a very low Native American population, but Oklahoma has one of the highest in the States. I think it’s awesome that people here are so educated on that topic; it indicates at least some level of connection of education to the surrounding community.

Overall, the event was a great way to start conversations about race on campus. I talked to several people who had really interesting thoughts on the matter. Racial reconciliation is a very sensitive and difficult topic to discuss, and so this type of forum was a necessity, as it provided students with a more comfortable environment for discussing an extremely important issue. InterVarsity hopes to continue facilitating crucial conversations in this way.

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