Racial Incidents

Since the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, there has been a reported increase in bias related incidents and hate crimes on college campuses. Hate crimes and other criminal acts can be dealt with accordingly by law enforcement. But what happens to the bias related incidents that do not break any laws? What consequences are there?

I advise a group of young men in a fraternity on Virginia Tech’s campus. As a result, I am “friends” with most of them on social media. Recently, I observed a post from one of them (who is also a member of the Corps of Cadets) which depicted him and several other members of the Corps of Cadets dressed as cholos for Halloween. If you are not familiar with the term cholo, let me define it for you.In sociological literature, it is one of the castas (or hierarchical system of race classification created by Spanish elites (espaƱoles) in Hispanic America during the eighteenth century) and currently refers to Mexican American gangsters (pandilleros). I immediately sent the image to individuals in leadership positions within the Corps of Cadets, the Latin American student organization, and individuals involved in cultural engagement at Virginia Tech. I was thanked for standing up for this injustice and called courageous. I understand how they felt about what I did but I personally did it because it was the correct thing to do and not for personal gain or pride. I was later told that these students were involved in restorative facilitation regarding their choices to dress in a culturally insensitive manner.