Black Graduate Student’s Posting of ‘White Only’ and ‘Black Only’ Signs Generates False Allegations of White Racism

 In News, Race Relations, U.S.

The Spectrum Cartoon Source: The Spectrum

Ashley Powell, a black graduate student in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Buffalo, has confessed to posting racist signs that created anxiety on campus and allegations of racism. Powell explained that her signs were posted as part of an assignment for her “Installation: Urban Space” class. In seeking to justify her outrageous actions, Powell focused on the therapeutic nature of her work and the psychological damage she has experienced as a non-white.
Whites only

I am in pain. My art practice is a remnant of my suffering, but also an antidote that brings about healing. The afflictions I suffer from are self-hate, trauma, pain and an unbearable and deafening indignation. White privilege and compliance only exacerbate my symptoms. Non-white suffering is the greatest psychological detriment that I have ever faced, and one that many individuals undoubtedly face as well. It manifests as a blatant or furtive acknowledgement of inferiority to the dominant group. It results in a trauma that is perhaps more destructive and damaging than any physical, legislative, or societal oppression an individual may ever face. Read her full statement here.

Will Powell get away with this blame everyone, but me, explanation? Her inappropriate actions have harmed her university and her fellow students. Powell’s culpability was not revealed until after the incident had received media attention. Many of the people who heard about the racist incident will never know the final outcome. Should Powell have been admitted to the university in the first place? Could such a lame project fulfill a graduate assignment at a major university? What do you think should be done? Inquiring minds wanna know. I think I would have given her an “F” for the assignment.

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