Lyndon State College Talks About Racism

By: Courtney Isom, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, the community of LSC came together to discuss the issues of racism across the campus.

Things that were discussed during the conversation varied from lack of education and awareness of racism in the community to how people can get educated on why certain things are wrong to say. Members of the community strongly expressed that major changes needed to be made at Lyndon and those changes start with the community specifically.

Professors wondered how many times they have done or said something unintentionally in their classes not realizing who it would affect and students shared their experiences on how they’ve not only educated themselves, but also educated their peers.

Many members expressed that they feel a huge solution to this issue is continued education on racism and and how everyone is affected, especially because Vermont is considered one of the most predominantly white states in the country. Members strongly expressed that the solution starts with people confronting one another. Whether people realize it or not, racism affects everyone.

When I first visited Lyndon in the spring of my senior year, it was a huge culture shock to me… one I was not prepared for. With Lyndon being only 2% African American and 3% Hispanic, I wasn’t sure if Lyndon was for me. Attending Brookline High School, I was used to a predominantly white school, but being a part of the METCO Program still gave me that support and community I needed. I knew I was not going to get that at Lyndon, but that was the reality of it.

However, I still made the decision to attend because of my major, Electronic Journalism Arts. Regardless, I knew that I would make the best of my experience. I learned more things about myself in one semester than I’ve known in my entire life.

When I first met the girls that I now call my friends, they used the N word as a term of endearment for one another. Especially because I was the only African American in my friend group, this angered me and made me more than uncomfortable because I felt like they were being ignorant. The first time I was present when they had done it, I immediately spoke up. My speaking up led to a deeper conversation with my friends that I was more than grateful for.

I was lucky to have been blessed with a friend group who were more than happy to be educated about my race, culture, white privilege, police brutality, and why words like the N word were not appropriate.

I realized that it was less about ignorance and more about them not being educated. Everyone that I encountered with at Lyndon was mostly definitely not like that. People would say things to me like, “You don’t sound black,” or “You’re gorgeous for a dark skinned girl,” or even asking if they could touch my hair. People would assume that I would be joining the women’s basketball team because they automatically assume that I’m good at basketball or that I even want to play.

Many people didn’t support my decision to attend Lyndon because of it’s lack of diversity. I am one of a couple black women who attend Lyndon and I was most definitely wasn’t prepared for this as much as I thought I was.

However, my experience at Lyndon is one I am grateful for and I wouldn’t change anything. I don’t regret any of the experiences I’ve had, good or bad, because they’ve only made me a stronger woman. With these experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

People always told me that I didn’t belong here and I would forget who I am and where I come from and that being at Lyndon would hold me back from my self journey. I disagree 110%. Attending Lyndon has not only made me a better student, but a better me, a better Courtney. This is the first time in my life where I feel like I not only understand who I am as Courtney, but most importantly, as a black woman.