I’m a Scholar, Not a Criminal: The Plight of Black Students at USC


“One USC student struggles as officers force her to the ground.”
Photo by Christopher James

Instead of studying for the last final of my undergraduate career, I am writing this letter in protest of the University of Southern California’s latest atrocity. Last night, students gathered at a house near campus to celebrate their completion of another rigorous school year. Many attendees were graduating seniors. Almost all attendees were minority students: African-American and Latino.

I did not attend last night’s party, but I could hear the helicopter circling from my dorm room over a mile away. When the Facebook posts and photos started appearing on my news feed around 2:30am, I had flashbacks to an era I wasn’t even alive to suffer through. I was too scared to go outside, legitimately fearing that an officer would see me and arrest me for being Black and inquisitive. I can only imagine how my peers felt when they saw over twenty LAPD patrol cars pull up and release 79 officers to end a peaceful, congratulatory party.

It is inexpressibly disheartening to hear fellow students recount horror stories of police brutality two weeks away from being among the first in my family to graduate from a four-year university. To know that my college degree holds no weight in the face of institutional racism and discrimination is sobering. Since the three most recent shootings, all triggered by non-USC affiliated Black males, that occurred on and around USC, there has been an increased presence of LAPD and other security forces around campus. Amid the tense racial climate that followed, I patiently endured the ignorant comments, racist blog posts and suspicious stares, but the intolerance has reached a new high. Six of my friends spent the night in jail.

To be clear, I do not have a problem with increased protection or security. Who’s to say that a shooting won’t occur at the next student party? It could happen, God forbid, and I understand why USC wants to be prepared. My issue lies within the selective surveillance of minority-hosted parties, as if crimes only happen among high concentrations of melanin. Criminal offenses, including sexual harassment, rape and assault happen every Thursday night on Greek Row, an undeniably white establishment. Yet, the culprits of the Department of Public Safety Crime Reports distributed to USC students and faculty, seem to be strictly limited to Black and Latino males (6’2-6’5 in dark hoodies). These reports, together with the newly constructed, other-izing gates around campus, have instilled an unhealthy amount of fear in students, administrators and safety officials. We have been trained to double check for USC logos on the sweatshirts of minority males on and around this campus to make sure that they’re “one of us.” It doesn’t surprise me that LAPD has adopted the same attitude. For them, it has been this way for decades.

If the USC Department of Public Safety feels justified in allowing nearly a hundred police officers to shut down a minority attended party due to the fact that African-Americans were responsible for the recent shootings, we’re in for a bigger battle than most students bargained for when they decided to enroll here. That ideology reeks of racial profiling and associates the behavior of a few criminals with the entire Black student body, a comparison that makes my stomach turn. While LAPD is busy sending all of their manpower to harass the future of America’s leaders, the real trouble lies within my campus’ freshly painted fences.

USC should not be permitted to reap the benefits of diversity without facing its complexities. You can’t help the hood without loving it first. When USC decided to break ground in South Central instead of Malibu, it signed up for a difficult and delicate community partnership that needs to be revisited.

To me, protection means opening our gates even wider for at-risk youth who are in desperate need of positive role models, not locking them out after 9pm. I will feel safe on this campus when I see DPS officers negotiating with LAPD, pleading with them to let students of color party in peace. I will feel welcomed when I see a public statement from President Nikias acknowledging the discrimination and blatant racism that my people have had to endure since we were first admitted into this school. I will become a proud Trojan when the USC community finally grows to reflect and embrace its resilient surroundings.

To my peers, I am sorry that we have to dedicate hours that should be spent studying to defend our freedom of assembly. None of us have the time to write letters, plan meetings and rally against injustice, but we must. The next generation of brilliant Black students is depending on us to guarantee their right to a dignified college experience.

Ways to Act:

Attend the Rally for the 6 students wrongfully arrested: Thursday, May 30th at 8:30AM

Central Arraignment Court 429 Bauchet St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/667833176567127/

Sign the petition to help end racial profiling: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-racial-profiling-at-usc

Learn about the #USChangeMovement at uschangemovement.com

scholars not criminals graphic

121 responses to “I’m a Scholar, Not a Criminal: The Plight of Black Students at USC

      • I like your writing… But I wonder why they were arrested in the first place, and why they were charged with a felony and misdemeanors…

        • The author is trying to convince you that they were wrongfully arrested; otherwise she would’ve written what they did…

          So tell us “makiah-isms”… why were your friends arrested?

  1. Very well written, I liked “as if crimes only happen among high concentrations of melanin.” Anyways, thank you for writing this, I agree that minority students of all ethnicities undergo a very different USC experience than is advertised. Hopefully, things will get better.

    • “as if crimes only happen among high concentrations of melanin.”

      It’s true that the don’t “only” happen there, but if you look at statistics around USC I’m pretty sure there would be an incredible skew

      • Thank you, I’ve recently been snrachieg for information about this subject for a long time and yours is the best I have came upon till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the source?|What i don’t realize is actually how you are now not really a lot more smartly-favored than you may be right now. You are so intelligent.

  2. USC’s founders did not break down in south central. There was no “hood” in the 1800’s. In fact, areas such as Compton were primarily white until the white flight.

  3. When I went to USC, it seemed the Minority parties were allowed to rage all night and never got busted while the white/fraternity guys always had their parties busted…I graduated in 12. things must have changed a lot since then.

    • It used to be like that until the recent shootings. Since then, the university is on high alert and targets minorities first. The stark difference from just 2 years time attests to the reality of the university’s approach to minorities.

  4. There is a problem on and off campus with policing minority students. I have been harassed several times by DPS and LAPD bike patrol officers, all while on campus. I have yet to speak out, but I will soon. I have heard of parties getting shut when hosted by minorities and the way in which the powers that be do it. It’s not okay. Many minority students are facing that same sort of discrimination walking to and from campus, and on campus. My voice will be heard soon through different mediums, I have just been procrastinating, and somewhat fearful to do so. It’s hard when people ask me about my years here and the first thing that pops into my head is the stairs from non-minorities on campus, the awkward questions about my activities on campus or they ways in which I have been harassed under the what I think is a lawful way to do so. We should be careful not to compare which parties by whom get shut down more or not and what goes on unreported. There are subcultures at the parties second to enrollment, and as such each subculture has there own accepted behaviors be that right or wrong. The problem is how those problems and those rights to gather are being policed and what reasons they get shut down, and how law enforcement responds. Racial discrimination and brutality are not okay.

    • Please attend the meeting on Tuesday, May 7th at 6pm in Annenberg 204. We will be meeting with DPS Chief Thomas and LAPD Officer Snell.

  5. Bravo, as a minority student at SC too, I feel you. White students are treated differently than minority ones and the Row has crimes on it every single week. But, these are rich white kids so their crimes get hushed up…smh

    • You are such a hypocrite. You are going to be upset at racial discrimination against minorities but are then going to make a blatantly racist comment like “these are rich white kids so their crimes get hushed up.” You are no better than those you complain about sir. Lose your inner racism first.

      • You cant be racist against whites. Seeing that whites are in a position of power and privileged, you “John Smith” cannot experience racism. For minorities, white HAVE the power to exclude them and degrade them, not the other way around. I recommend taking a sociology course. -Cheers from Swarthmore

        • The circumstances of our society don’t change the fact that the ideology is flawed. If you’re racist, you’re racist…regardless of which race is the target.

        • Whites can’t experience racist. Just think about that for a moment. Please apologize for making such an uninformed and false statement. White racism may not be as bad as racism against other groups, but it still exist.

          • Look, in the abstract one can be racist against those in the generally powerful position. Some whites are poor, disabled, or otherwise disempowered, and one could make racist generalizations. But pointing out that being rich and white is an advatgae in the “justice” system is not an example. It is an obvious truth. If you can’t see that people get off for being rich and white, and go to jail for being poor and black – or if you think it “racism” to point this out – you are willfully blind. We have a term for that condition: ‘white priviledge’.

            • Money buys justice. And for those without money, there is no justice because the judicial system is flawed. But thats the nature of our capitalist society. If you hold racism,”a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others,” to be true; then any person can be racist towards any other ethnicity.

            • Wow! What beautiful words! Thank you. I do think we spend too much time cealning things up and making them look nice instead of what it really is. I really think that leads to isolation. And, that’s a shame. You are right, even the ugliest of circumstances contain beauty.Thanks for stopping by! I hope to hear from you again soon.Sara

        • You need a reality check. You’re a blatant racist against whites. Just because they’re a majority doesn’t mean you can “exclude and degrade” them. This makes your statements lose all credibility

      • Agreed. And additionally, you are assuming it was a harmless party without even being present. Your argument is full of flaws.

  6. Your writing is absolutely profound and beautiful.
    As a African-American student at St.Louis University, I share many -all- the same sentiments and experiences. No institution “should not be permitted to reap the benefits of diversity without facing its complexities”. Amazing article.

  7. African-Americans are no different than anyone else, but many African Americans were raised in poverty with lower education. Therefore in a location like LA, black and latinos have higher crime rate. These are stats. Look what happened at a black party a couple of months ago. In LA black and Latinos do commit more of the crimes so there is a difference. Just like with security, should tsa do focus as much of their time searching mothers with two children as they should, a single Muslim man? It is ridiculous to say that you are scared to go outside and that this takes you back to an era that you didn’t even live for. If people want racial equality they need to quit comparing and contrasting. By saying Black men are better at this, and Asians are better at that, you are creating a difference and therefore creating difference categories. We should not think of anyone as black, white, Asian or whatever, and just think of them as American. If you are scared to go outside, you are part of the problem. Grow a par and quit complaining. It wasn’t racism, it was statistics. Get over it and go outside.

    • Mr. John Smith,
      While you may have a point superficially, your point becomes invalid. When you look at the stats of Los Angeles, (or any diverse area) statistics between races are very similar. However, because of racial profiling, more minorities are stopped. If the police stopped every “suspicious” white/Asian person their stats would rise as well. The LAPD and the justice department need to focus on other factors than race to determine how dangerous a situation is. The ratios of who is stopped/arrested to those who are actually charged are very much skewed and should be challenged.

      • I understand what your saying, but if racial profile at an event like this could save some lives I’m for it. There are definitely better ways, and in this situation it was unnecessary. But what if like at USC a couple of months ago, several people did have guns. I love all people and hate racism, but if this act saved any lives than I am for it. White racism is often overlooked, as you see with even an article like this. It calls out the row as “White” and says that they get away with more just because they are white. USC in general has a lot of white students, but the row does have diversity and to say that it is white is ignorant. Also the row is closer to campus and has been doing the same thing for years so you know what to expect there.

        • I honestly don’t think that any lives were endangered in the first place. No one had a gun or any weapons, except for LAPD of course. Ha.

        • If this was an isolated incident, no one would mind. However, these acts happen often and nationally. At some point, there must be some acknowledgement that there is a dangerous pattern. Regardless of the “goodwill” the LAPD may have acted on, its foundation is tainted with white privilege and racism.

    • African-Americans are no different? are these categories not there already? you can’t shun out what has happened to African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Mexican-Americans in this country. We won’t be identified as just Americans, African-American is our identity. It says so much more to be an African-American than just an American. The way to reach equality in anything is by comparing and contrasting find the differences and similarities match them and make them equal. The problem here is the way we are treated, by law enforcement, by the education system, by people who feel we don’t belong. I’m not sure if you ever walked in to a place full of people that are another race and was questioned why you were there as if you were lost. Have you been stripped of you culture and identity and given another one and the whole world thinks of you that way because that it how the media portrays you? there is so much to say on this topic you haven’t broke the surface of it. You won’t ever win this because you don’t understand and you won’t understand if you’re not black and if you’er not conscious.

      • I want to start off by saying that yes slavery was a terrible thing, but not a race thing. Every race has been enslaved. History has shown us that slavery is economic. There were large amounts of Chinese and Indian slaves, the Moors enslaved Christians. People of all races have suffered slavery. Second, the Irish slaves in the 1600’s had worse conditions in america than black slaves because of the low cost of Irish slaves. So, yes slavery is a terrible thing, but it not a black thing as it is portrayed in American. Next, if your identity as a person is based off of the color of your skin or experiences that your ancestors had, I’m sorry to offend you shallow sense of self. I know you are a much deeper person than that, so why not let the your identity be based on you as a person and not as a race. I personally believe that we should all think of ourselves as American and nothing else. By saying I’m black your white, categories occur and then racism. If we all thought of everyone here as American and not by where are ancestors originated from, there would be less problems. Unfortunately, there is always going to be racism. I feel if more people shared this view there would be less racism.

        • Again as i said you would not understand if you are not black. See the make up of the identity is of the past is of my ancestors my identity includes my parents my grandparents my great-grandparents and so forth. My identity isn’t solely my skin color but it is a large part. When you look at a chart and you see 1 black male out of 300 hundred…you know what its not worth explaining you’re blind you think you know but you don’t until you can experience it for yourself until you can put yourself in someone else skin… your view is only good if all the things that occurred did not occur

          • I don’t know what its like to be you just like you have no idea what its like to be me. As for cultural identity, my family has as long of a history as any other family, but my individual character is based more off of how I have been raised. I love all people and race does not matter to me. Some of my best friends are black. I feel like in a way this article blamed white people. There are many white people that happen to be racist, but I am not one of them, so you can see how it might be offensive when someone makes generalizations about whites being racist. My ancestors were not even in America until after slavery was abolished, so really I have no connection whatsoever with slavery in the US. I’m very sorry if I offended anyone, I just wanted to share my opinion on race. I hope you can sort of understand where I’m coming from. My final thought is that I do not believe that the color of your skin or what people ancestors have gone through should be someone’s identity. The experiences that one faces because of race should play a part in who someone is, but not simply because of the color of the skin they were born with. I have known many black who grew up in a so called “white lifestyle” meaning that they were wealthy, educated etc. and still cling on to the fact that they are black. I think everyone should be proud of who they are on the inside. Their personality, habits, etc. not what they look like on the outside. People are much deeper than the color of their skin, and I hope that you can understand that. Being black can shape who you are, but should not be who you are. Black, white, asian, latino, we are all human beings and the dispute should end. Again, I’m sorry if I offended anyone, I promise I am not racist, just have the balls to have an unpopular opinion. I hope we can all go on living in peace as human beings.

            • So must know how the author feels when people generalize black people as ghetto, wild, reckless, violent? To be honest I think it hard for black people to think white people aren’t racist but clearly not all of them are, there is no need to personalize this if you don’t fit the description of being a racist. Things about identity: It is made up of your experiences, Blacks have more than 1 identity. The shaping of the identity starts when we are young and this is where the past plays a role in shaping the identity. See when a Black kid goes to school they don’t learn much about the successes of black people all they see is white faces they never learn the history of their people other than slavery and post slavery. They don’t get the chance as children to know about the revolts that took place. They don’t learn about Africa or African people. Its wrong to say i am just an American after i learned the history of African Americans. When i go out into the world I can’t be “black”, meaning i can’t act “black”. In my niche, my home, my community i can be as “black” as i want to be. in all other cases i have to act “white” i call it educated… sir i would love to sit down and talk with you.

              • “There is no need to personalize this if you don’t fit the description.” That’s a HUGE contradiction. That’s like saying to a group of minority citizens, “You tend to be criminals. Obviously some of you aren’t though, so if you’re not, don’t worry about it.”

                Which obviously would also be wrong. And as far as having to act “white” – by supposedly assuming the role you think people want to you play, you’re promoting your own loss of identity.

          • I as a white person have walked into a prodominantly African-American party and have felt excluded, and shunned. So it does go both ways. Don’t act like nobody can ever experience the feelings you have if they’re not black. Its just ignorant.

        • Many of the people you mentioned were not enslaved in the US, so I don’t find it germane to the history of racism in America. Although some Irish people may have been enslaved, their inferior status was not enshrined in the Constitution nor practiced as extensively as it was for Black people. Irish slavery also did not create the conditions for one of the most horrific wars fought on our soil. And eventually, the Irish were allowed to be treated as white. Black people STILL don’t seem to have that privilege.

          I might not mind giving up a Black identity if I was treated the same. I grew up in a segregated neighborhood where I was constantly stopped by the police. The only reason I interacted with white people was my attendance at a court desegregated magnet school. Unequal treatment, like the recent incident, deepens a sense of ethnic identity. You can’t favor racial profiling and then expect the profiled individuals to ONLY think of themselves as American. Hardly logical.

          • I guess my point is that i don’t like categorizing anyone into a race. I have known tons of African Americans. Many of them grew up in fine households and are producing the same results as any other student. The difference is in many areas of there are a lot of minorities. Where there is poverty there are more crimes committed. The crimes are not committed because someone was born with a darker skin tone, but because of the environment they were brought up in. By saying you don’t understand because you not black draws a difference. Time heals all wounds. Black have had civil rights for about 50 years and look at how much better things have gotten. Yes, there is a long way to go, but calling out white people is not the answer. My ancestors moved here in the early 1900’s from Italy. Therefore, my family play No part in slavery. Yet, at times I am made to feel bad because of what white people did in early America.

          • To be fair, the constitution mentions nothing of slavery. The founding fathers knew it was a problem and decided that it was a hung problem that would divide the states. They therefore avoided it in the constitution completely.

            • I would love to work for a Neonatologist. I think it would be an extremely fuliflling job! Helping infants who may be critically ill and being a part of resolving their health issues sounds like a challenging yet comforting job. The fact that infants are helpless and completely dependent on us to survive means that much more. I could truly see myself loving every part of helping. I know some cases could be hard to understand how such a small being could be so ill or premature. In the end I am sure looking at how strong they are and how they fight for life from the second they are conceived, it really sounds rewarding. Then being able to send them home with their family to be surrounded in love, a true healing in itself.I could never see myself working for a Podiatrist. Simply put, I don’t like feet. Even though I am aware their job involves much more than just feet, I know given an option it’s not one I would ever veer toward. I can imagine this job could be rewarding as well and am sure those who choose it have their reasons. Not for me I am sure.

        • Indeed, slavery was experienced by many different cultures and races, however in America Slavery also dealt with race. In America, a slave was considered 3/5 of a person. In America the institution of slavery was broken, but Racism grew through the law in the Jim Crow South. In America, racism was institutionalized and still lived well after slavery no longer existed. The difference between American slavery and most other forms of slavery was that the structure wasn’t just limited to slave and master, but inferiority and superiority.
          Side note, this is not to undermine other cultures that have been enslaved throughout time. As a matter of fact many of them still face injustice today. Pointing out that others have experienced injustice does not make injustice acceptable.

    • I hope that $64,000 a year would at least earn students the label of “educated” regardless of their race. These were all USC students at the party as ids were checked. The halloween shooter wasn’t even a USC student so that whole argument is invalid. Also, LAPD clearly did nothing to stop the other “American” party across the street, so there had to be a reason why they chose the party they did.

        • Well there were two security guards at the gate checking ids letting in only students with USC ids so, coming from someone who actually attended the party (and is not black by the way) I’d say there were only USC students there.

          • Define security guard. Was it just another student? or an actual Hired security guard?

      • By the way, people at the party were throwing things at the police before the police called for back up.

        • Honestly, I don’t know if people were throwing things. But even if they were, the response by LAPD was over the top and unnecessary. You don’t need 79 police officers and a helicopter loudly circling for a half hour just to come shut down a party because someone threw something at a police officer.

          • My roommate was at the party, and my friends were at the party across the street. The party across the street cooperated and shut down the party while this people at this party threw bottles at the cops.

    • John Smith,
      You are the one that needs to grow. You do have quite a lofty skill of making assumptions and using confirmation bias to support your own points, but I must tell you there are several flaws in your argument (I suggest you go the writing center to get them worked out, THH 2nd floor; I’m sure they’d help you with your love for sweeping statements). This event shows on a larger scale what many minority students silently face on this campus consistently. I slightly applaud you for taking a few minutes out of your day to think and write reply about something it seems you’ve never experienced, but do understand that you really have a shallow understanding of all that happens with minorities in LA, at USC and what seems to be America as a whole.

      P.S: for starters on America’s racial problems you might want to look at my history, just saying.


      • You are missing my point completely. Let me sum it up shortly. This article attacks the “whites” for being racists. The police captain is black and many of the LAPD officers were black. Is there still racism that Black face everyday. Yes. I would never deny that. But the second someone says that they are scared to leave their apartment near USC because they are black they are losing all validity. People are over-reacting to this situation as if someone had been lynched. Also, People are acting as if they know that this event occurred due to racial prejudice when they have no fucking clue.
        P.S. Pocahontas, thanks for saving my life

    • Ever heard of the school-to-prison pipeline? When holding socioeconomic status and gender constant you still get biases against races.

  8. Please join us for a forum on Tuesday, May 7th at 6pm in Annenberg 204. We will be meeting with DPS Chief Thomas and LAPD Officer Snell.

  9. There was one very important point that this point didn’t address that highlights the problem of racial profiling in and around USC: there were two parties that night, right across the street from each other, but only one was targeted by the police. I was at the party across the street, which was predominantly white, and while we could see and hear the helicopter overhead and heard grumblings that police were outside, the police never tried to break up this party. It’s sickening that not only did LAPD blatantly target the predominantly black party–even though the same exact thing was happening essentially next door–but they did so with a ridiculous amount of force. My friends and I counted fifteen cop cars, FIFTEEN, a block away from where the party had taken place.

  10. You do not know me, but I feel like I know you through this story. I was turned on to your blog by Ms. Constance Iloh. I went to Wake Forest for undergrad and for a Masters in Management. While at Wake I never experienced the police insanity but I know what it feels like to always feel like you are a threat. Like if you stepped out of line the system would criminalize or ostracize you. It is because diversity as a concept is just that…purely a concept–that is easily manipulated and divorced from the consequences except when politically expedient. I will encourage you to not be afraid of being intellectually and socially bold. There need to be voices in the wilderness calling out the bulls*** in the system and know that you are not alone. I also pray that your fire and passion is paired with wisdom…we can’t go around being martyrs all the time. Be encouraged my little sister.


  12. Not to mention that the party had security and every single person in there had to show their school ID. Everyone was a college student and unarmed, but still “Black and dangerous”. Shameful. Thanks for this Makiah.

  13. Hey, great post. You should hit up Professor Jody David Armour in the USC law school. He’s one of our few black professors. You should be able to look him up and get his email. I think he would love to hear about this incident and the general racism surrounding the school, as his son is an undergrad here.

  14. thank you so much for writing this. I am a South LA native who grew up three blocks from USC since I was two. I’m currently a student at UC Berkeley and it’s fucking ridiculous to see how much worse it has gotten over the years. The institution needs to stop racializing our damn communities or get the hell out of South Central. The fact that they attacked their own students is reflective of a larger structural flaw that SC isn’t realizing. Again, thank you for publicizing this!

    In solidarity,

  15. I am a little confused as why some people in these comments seem to be saying that “USC” was the entity that came down on this party in such an extreme way, when I read that it was actually the LAPD. I support the idea of the article as written generally, but do be careful not to ruin your focus and ideas- by blogging against USC as a whole…when it seems that the major problem here is law enforcement practices.

    • The problem is with USC and the administration because the party was in an area that is within USC’s Department of Safety’s jurisdiction. However, DPS, as always, wanted the LAPD to respond. They send the LAPD to respond to incidents with students of color. The administration must acknowledge the racism and racial profiling that many of their students face on a day-to-day basis. The administration must recognize that incidents of racial profiling and racism occur both on and off-campus.

      • Thats untrue. Almost every party I have been to around Menlo has been shut down by LAPD

    • USC’s campus police…has the authority to call LAPD. Our CPolice called the LAPD….speak when you know ALL of the facts….ijs

      • I think her question was a valid one, and she did explain that she was confused and was asking for someone to fill her in. Anon answered her very effectively, so there’s no reason to try to humiliate people who are genuinely trying to learn… ijs

      • Every call to DPS is on the same radio as LAPD. Perhaps LAPD was just closer to the area since it was so far on the outskirts of DPS territory.

    • The type of physician I would like to work for is a Pediatrician. Pediatrician’s spteialcy is to work with children. I have been working with children for a long time mainly because I work at a daycare facility. I’ve got to a point where I feel like I can handle anything that will come my way with them. It would also leave me feeling good at the end of the day to know that I have helped in some way to make a child feel better.The type of physician I would not care to work for is a Epidemiologist. Epidemiologist’s specialize in epidemics caused by infections agents and also work with sexually transmitted diseases. I feel if I were to work in this type of spteialcy I would be putting my self at risk of exposure to these infectious agents. Also I would be focusing a lot of my time on trying to not get infected instead of having a steady mind on what I was actually supposed to be doing.

  16. The same things happen at any institution where people of color are the minority and want to find avenues to release stress from studying so hard. When I was freshman (now I’m a sophomore), it didn’t take long to realize than any gathering of blacks and latinos would end prematurely in contrast to celebrations that our fellow white students would host. Not only has this tainted my social experience at college here in DC, it really shows that these institutions don’t value the academic and social experiences of their minority students.

  17. The crime reports are nearly always involving incidents involving non students. They’re typically Latino because that’s the primary majority surrounding demographic. It’s interesting you claim to be victim of stereotypes yet hurl accusations of ” hundreds of cases” of rape at fraternities(some of which are truly diverse btw). That’s an interesting stat. Honestly, cut the racial crap. If you have a party off campus with hundreds of attendees LAPD is gonna go crazy on your ass regardless if your black, white, or purple. Considering the spike of outrageous violence recently that’s just the new norm

  18. Pingback: Weekly Feminist Reader·

  19. At least your complaints of racism get taken seriously. Asians aren’t even considered a minority under affirmative action, and we’re the only group who get penalized for our race under that institutionalized liberal racist system. Source: The Opportunity Cost of Admission
    Preferences at Elite Universities by Thomas Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung of Princeton University.

    • If asians were considered a minority under affirmative action you guys would be supremely screwed. Asains are about 2% of the US population. This year USC accepted 30% asian students. Under affirmative action that would have gone down 28%…

  20. First of all, congratulations on being the first person in your family to graduate from a university. That is a huge accomplishment and as a fellow Trojan I am proud of you. I am also sorry for any experiences that may have made you feel less than equal at USC.

    However, I spent four years as a member of the Greek system and I have a huge issue with the following sentence: “Hundreds of criminal offenses, including sexual harassment, rape and assault happen every Thursday night on Greek Row, a undeniably white establishment.” Underage drinking and drug use? Yes, but that happens all over campus. But sexual harassment, rape, and assault? I have never once experienced any of those things. When a fraternity member commits one of those offenses it is a BIG deal and they are often kicked out of their house and prosecuted. I won’t debate you on the injustices you have experienced because I am sure that you are more informed on your own story. Similarly, I am more informed on my own story so please don’t try to typify my community at USC. The Greek Row is often depicted as able to get away with anything but in reality we are heavily policed: every house has a risk management plan, standards chairs, and meetings with members that are not behaving in ways the rest of the house wants to be portrayed.

    • Hi J,
      I’m just wondering when you graduated, I don’t know if sexual harassment wasn’t always a big issue on the row but it has been boldly problematic this year especially. Higher officials have even talked about shutting down the row because there have been too many transports and victims of sexual harassment. Maybe it wasn’t always out in the open, maybe people don’t talk about it, or maybe it didn’t happen when you were around, but it is relevant to the discussion now and it has to be said. As a sophomore I know approximately 2-3 girls who have been raped on the row this semester alone, we can’t just say it’s not an issue based off of your experiences. Investigate the matter deeply and see what happens in terms of sexual harassment cases on the row.

  21. Makiah, I am in no way racist, nor do I intend to treat people unfairly based on their race. But it’s ridiculous to say you’ve had “flashbacks.” But since you brought up the Civil Rights Movement, let’s talk about it. It ended with at least some degree of success, did it not? Obviously, there is not equality, but blacks are treated MUCH more fairly than they were before the movement. And how did the supporters go about achieving this success? They had to sacrifice. Many were jailed, beaten, and otherwise mistreated. They organized sit-ins in “white” establishments, explicitly to get arrested. And it worked.

    I do NOT believe that those are the measures one, or a group, should have to take in pursuit of equality. But unfortunately, I’m not every officer of the LAPD. If I were, this would not have happened.

    But my point is this: by complaining (again, it’s completely justified, but won’t get you anywhere) online and asking for a wave of support, the problem won’t get fixed. Here’s why: if LAPD were willing to treat blacks fairly, this incident wouldn’t have happened. Since it happened, it’s reasonable to assume that at least some part of the LAPD thinks of blacks as more of a threat. So, a wave of black support WON’T help, because, in the eyes of those officers, it would be a bunch of criminals telling them to let other criminals go free. Thus, the only support that will help solve the problem is non-black support. You’re asking for non-blacks (I say this because the word “white” would be assuming that all non-blacks must be white, which is not the case) to tell the police not to arrest people that those same police see as criminals. Which means that the people protesting those arrests would be a threat, or at the very least an impedance, to the police, and would also get arrested. Now, there are plenty of people willing to do that, but signing a petition or getting mad on FB, Twitter, etc. WILL NOT HELP. It requires these non-black supporters to BE AT THE SCENE, physically stopping the police.

    I support the push for equality, but you’re going about it wrong.

    • Reading what I just posted, “ended” was not the correct word to use, as the movement never really “ended”. It is still alive, and I did not intend to imply that it’s over. I meant that it has caused–and continues to cause–some degree of improvement.

    • I’ll take the hatred that follows this, but unless you were an athlete at USC (author, not who im replying to), most times you probably come from a sheltered, well off community.

      If this is so, again i say, welcome to being black, brotha.

  22. Beautifully written piece for the most part but I would love some clarification on this: “To know that my college degree holds no weight in the face of institutional racism and discrimination is sobering.” To me this somehow implies that discrimination (regardless of ethnicity being targeted, gender etc.) is more acceptable if you don’t hold a college degree… Gives the impression that the author is discriminating against those who aren’t students really.

  23. Discrimination has to stop! If any of you were arrested and/or felt discriminated against as a result of this incident or any others, feel free to contact me, Antonio K. Kizzie, Esq. @ 2134890028. My firm, Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt, is the largest and most successful black-owned firm in California. We’d be happy to discuss your situation and enforce your rights.

  24. Sue the police department!!!! Seriously, you guys need to. No protests… Those are not goin to work. You need to take this to court.

    • Seconded. You want to be taken seriously? Forget the protests and any ‘healing dialogue’ nonsense. Americans don’t take anything seriously unless it costs them something.
      Band together and sue the department.

    • while i’m not against your sentiment, you’re extremely naive.

      nothing will come of it except a complaint on the police officers involved. if you’re lucky.

    • very nice story about your name.I used to be in forums and such under my real name, but busaece of my outspoken political ramblings which offend some people in the right wing. They were calling my old military unit and sending very rude emails and screaming rants to my former commander. So I changed my monikor to CV (for combat veteran) and made myself as anonymous as possible.

  25. lapd has been CORRUPT and that will not change until a whole new force is in place after the current ones retire or die off! Same for CORRUPT police everywhere!

  26. “as if crimes only happen among high concentrations of melanin.”

    They happen at an increasingly disproportionate rate, particularly in and around the USC campus.

    “When USC decided to break ground in South Central instead of Malibu, it signed up for a difficult and delicate community partnership that needs to be revisited.”

    This has been pointed out by other commenters, but when USC was founded the demographics were not the same as they are today. If anything, the ghetto black (and now Latino) population signed up for a difficult and delicate community partnership with the university that was already there.

    Anyway, good to see the LAPD doing its job.

  27. Much props and keep up the good fight from the S and W sides of Chicago where the 1st, 4th and 8th Amendments don’t apply, Brown v. Board of Education has been reversed and the mayor is trying to close down 54 schools in black and Latino neighborhoods at a net loss to the city.

    Keep fighting and don’t let the WMsplaining in the comments get you down. You have no obligation to educate every aversive racist yourself. Let them spin their wheels and organize to win on your campus.

    Much love.

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  29. “To know that my college degree holds no weight in the face of institutional racism and discrimination is sobering. ”

    i find this amusing. Have you been in the real world?

  30. I heard about this incident in Australia. I was so distressed about the story, I googled it and came across your beautifully written article.

    Advocacy likes yours raises awareness and jolts the community into not accepting the norm. It helps us distinguish between what is acceptable and what is not.

    Well done and thank you for drawing a line.

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  32. You are an embarrassment.

    Tasing and beating innocent people is not okay.
    Breaking and entering into people’s houses is not ok.
    Terrorizing innocents based on their race is not ok.
    Polluting the environment is not ok.
    Shooting family pets for amusement is not ok.
    Murdering innocent people is not ok.
    Hitting people with cars at excessively high speeds is not ok.
    Raping people is not ok.
    Omitting and destroying evidence is not ok.

    These are the crimes Los Angeles police officers commit on a daily basis.

    These corrupt officers must be not only replaced but also imprisoned.

    Don’t settle for and defend a pathetic, corrupt, discriminatory institution.

    Demand a better institution.

  33. None of those things have to do with the party being shut down last… Friday, was it? If your problem is with the LAPD, then this so called “SChange movement” needs to reflect that this so-called incident was really just an opportunity to air all your grievances with the LAPD.

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  35. Actually several of those have to do with what happened early Saturday morning between 2 and 3am. Figure out which ones. The solution begins with accountability. The LAPD is notorious for racial profiling and harassing the communities that fund it. Human rights are at stake. What are you even defending? Cause it sounds regressive.

  36. My point is this:
    1) The LAPD was called in to protect USC students. The very same students who became belligerent and cried wolf because they were being asked to go home at a reasonable hour. The LAPD knows you’re not criminals. They handcuffed those few students who wouldn’t comply with their demands to demonstrate the fact that they were serious and to get others to leave.
    2) Most people see the reaction of the LAPD as reasonable. Especially those who have reviewed the “evidence” of their “discriminatory” actions. Most people see intoxicated college kids too riled up to just go home and accept the fact that their party was over.
    3) Even IF the LAPD was acting in a discriminatory manner, and almost nobody agrees that they were, the most effective way to address racism is by support of the non-target group. There is hardly any support in this instance from non-target groups because they see the whole situation as stupid and not worth the fuss. To be redundant, almost nobody else believes that these practices were discriminatory in anyway, and almost nobody believes that the LAPD intended to unfairly target blacks. Most people see the LAPD as being reasonable and acting in the best interests of students, only to be bothered by those students. Those offending students were then handcuffed and placed in custody so that they could realize that when a cop says leave, you leave and don’t start a fight about it. And two, the sight of their handcuffed classmates was sure to encourage other wily students to get a move on.

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