We attended another intense basketball game this past Sunday — the Oregon State University women versus the University of Southern California. it had to have been a very disappointing road trip for the USC women: losing to us in a close game after a double overtime loss to Oregon on Friday.
On a week where we witnessed an OSU student representative being voted out because of his white supremacist actions (our welcoming yard signs were also defaced by this person’s decals) and where we were reminded that three of Oregon State’s buildings will be renamed based upon evidence of the namesakes’ racism, it was extremely disheartening to read about the racist comments directed toward the USC women’s basketball team as they were leaving the court on Sunday. Sporting events are too often the venue where white people are emboldened to direct racial epithets towards African-Americans.
So who are we, really, Corvallis? Do we have the best fans in the Pac-12, or is that simply a hollow, catchy marketing phrase? We claim to be a community that celebrates diversity, yet our overwhelming whiteness still allows for an atmosphere of intimidation for people of color. Did people next to those who used racial slurs openly challenge those comments at the time they were made?
It is not always easy or comfortable to stand up for something we know is the right thing to do, but that is when courage is most required from each of us.
John and Ann Poling Hawkins
Corvallis (Feb. 19)