In the wake of a recent incident between a young Black woman and young White man, San Francisco State has received unprecedented attention. The incident, which is being investigated by the University, was partially captured on video, a video that has gathered over a million views on YouTube. Local, national, and international media has covered the incident solely based on the counts of the video; this has led to an appalling level of backlash in which the ugliest part of our society has reared its head. The video only shows a portion of the incident, criminalizing one individual, while victimizing the other when in fact the incident is not so clear-cut. What is clear-cut in this situation is the amount of hate speech that has surfaced.
We the Black Student Union do not support the mass publication of videos, articles, and any other statements which misrepresent this incident. This misrepresentation has led to racial, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs being directed at members of our organization. In addition, the publication of a young woman’s personal information, such as home address, and cell phone number, is a despicable attack on her personal privacy and safety. We are appalled, by supposed allies that have taken this opportunity not to address the issues at hand, but rather to attack this young lady’s sense of safety and identity. The Black Student Union does not condone any act of harassment, physical or verbal, thus we will not stand by while one of our members is attacked by the media and portrayed as the aggressor in a situation in which she was verbally assaulted. The video leaves out key components of the incident such as their initial interaction; additionally the video was edited to present a portion of their conversation. The personal motivation of the White male who released this video is suspect: it does not work towards justice, nor does it work towards a righteous cause. The sad result has been to instigate antiBlack attacks, rooted in our nation since its conception.
Furthermore, we cannot ignore the environment in which this incident occurred, nor the identities of the individuals. There is a history of attacking and vilifying Black women in America. We must ask ourselves why the media was so quick to cover this incident. Why this incident has gathered over a million views in under 24 hours? Why this disagreement between two individuals has become an incident in which the Black community must answer for? This incident stemmed from two individuals, but has shown the systemic constructs in place to perpetuate the image of the angry Black woman, and the idea that stories such as this are one dimensional. The reaction of the media, and the attacks on the young woman’s safety were not warranted, but expected from a system that perpetuates hate. We firmly believe that this time should be used, not to attack individuals, but rather to redirect our energy on educating each other on the historical context of cultural appropriation, the ways in which we engage each other, and the danger of miseducation.
Our ultimate goal is to educate, liberate, and advance the progression of our people and all peoples. We would like the university to ensure that the young woman is treated fairly, and the full context of the incident be accounted for in any investigation. Lastly, we want the university to ensure that she is safe on this campus given the threats declared against her.