Black students have less than positive views on freedom of expression on college campuses versus whites.
According to a recent poll, Black college students were more likely to report that they would like to see intentionally offensive speech banned on campus. Women and Democrats reported they were also more likely to encourage a ban on “offensive or biased” speech.
The Gallup poll revealed that whites, men and Republicans did not want such a ban. Instead, they favored an environment that encourages an open dialogue about personal feelings, whether the speech was offensive or not. However, 69 percent of all college students surveyed said they believe there should be a ban on “using slurs and other language on campus that is intentionally offensive to certain groups.” The tide seems to be turning when it comes to racist, stereotypical costumes, too, as 27 percent of students said they favor a ban on the practice.
When it comes to the idea of an open educational environment, white students feel very secure about freedom of assembly, while Black students don’t share the same feeling. White students are 70 percent positive about their ability to gather freely, while 60 percent of Black students feel threatened. Blacks also have less confidence in the freedom of the press than whites, at 58 percent versus 66 percent. On freedom of religion, there are similar views among Blacks and whites.
The numbers aren’t surprising, given the ever growing racial tensions in the country — and on college campuses — lately. In February 2014, a noose was found on a statue on the University of Mississipi campus. Former Ole Miss student Graeme Phillip Harris was sentenced to six months in prison, according to USA Today.
And Atlanta Black Star recently reported that Duke University made headlines for an incident involving executive vice president Tallman Trask, who called a Black parking attendant “stupid n–––––” after hitting her with his car.