• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 8 comments on Updated: BU Will Host Day of Collective Engagement June 24 to Reflect on American Racism

  1. What is this orchestrated event supposed to accomplish?

    If it’s purpose is to mask the systemic racism practiced at BU then I am all for it, but BU should not project its problems to the entire country. After all, the US is the only country in the western world which has elected a black president and elected him twice. Now, thanks to media spotlight, many here at BU are now “woke” and are accusing the entire US of centuries of systemic racism.

    BU is far from being a leader in diversity. Please look how many of BU’s leaders have roots in Boston’s black community. BU leadership should repent first before dragging the rest of us into the mess they supported and cultivated for decades.

    Instead, why don’t we focus on what we have in common and not on what divides us – hobbies, sports, religion, and our dreams of better world.

    Organized mass-scale exercises ala Mao Tse Tung do not work and only serves the economic power elites who maintain their grip on society because of ethnic, racial, and economic divides.

    We are better than this.

    1. The point of this event is to educate people on history and teach them about past /present issues this country has. It’s not that BU is a pillar of righteousness, but it is about improving.

      Also, don’t use Obama as America’s one black friend. Racism did not end in 2008.

      Clearly this event is meant to educate people like you.

  2. My direct experience is rooted in the time between our involvement in the demise of Patrice Lumumba and our withdrawal from Vietnam. As you can imagine, such an enormous amount of turmoil, happening with overlapping lead to wide disparities in the focus of various demonstrations and movements. Often even the focus of individual demonstrations, on a single campus, were characterized by people chanting slogans, the meaning of which were way beyond their grasp. It came then as no surprise, when little or nothing came of them, beyond a boisterous moment and some nervousness on the part of school administrations, that wanted to avoid becoming their own Kent State moments.
    A program like this has the potential to clarify to the point that fruitful debate can take place.

  3. The article said there’s a place to register, but I didn’t see one on the website the link took me to. Do we have to register? If so, where do we do it? Thanks.

    1. There is no registration required for the event. This was a mistake and I think has now been corrected. Please follow the links above for additional instructions regarding participating in the day.

  4. Supporting Lewis’ comment.

    BU has the resources to be better than this cookie-cutter response. Throughout my years at the university, I experienced and witnessed many incidents of racial discrimination, bias, and the informed inaction by supposed leaders across campus. Students were consistently treated differently by university employees/faculty/visitors based on their appearance; often black students (and staff) were treated as outsiders by questioning their merit and qualifications for their presence on campus. Complaints were filed with three different entities with no response from BU.

    Empower your students to create stronger communities of support. Enable your faculty and staff to facilitate critical discussions and provide actual leadership.

    BU senior admins are in serious denial of its own community issues on campus.

  5. Agreeing with Sara’s comment. Come on BU, do better.

    Having a “Day” of collective engagement? How about having a year, decade, an ALWAYS of collective engagement. We don’t need to TALK about “how to dismantle systemic racism” – we need to actually DO it.

    BU senior admin has the ability to make fundamental changes now. How to dismantle systemic racism is KNOWN information. Continued failure to DO it is the problem.

    Organizing one event where we sit comfortably at our laptops, hear panel presentations, and go through the motions of discussing systemic racism — nothing is going to come of that. CHANGE the curriculum, FIRE people for racist behaviors, make classes on systemic oppression MANDATORY for all students and staff, cut ties/contracts with the Boston Police — these are ACTUAL steps that you can and should be taking right now.

    Having a “day,” in 2020, to “discuss” systemic racism, and calling that “a step towards dismantling oppression” is sorta like if doctors, in 2020, had a “day” to “discuss” cancer, where all they do is describe how cancer is really bad and deadly, and then call that “a step towards curing cancer.” It’s not curing anything. It’s doing more of the same.

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