Hundreds of Baylor university students in solidarity walked Black Baylor student, Natasha Nkhama to class on Friday.
The exchange lasted just a few seconds, too quick for Black Baylor student, Natasha Nkhama to register anger, fear or rage, The Washington Post states.
The morning after Donald Trump won the presidential election, the Baylor University sophomore was walking to her 10 a.m. neuroscience class when another student bumped into her.
“He sort of shoved me off the sidewalk and he said . . . ‘no n—–s allowed on the sidewalk,’” Nkhama recounted on social media. “And I was just shocked.”
Baylor show solidarity after a Baylor student was a the target of a racist incident. https://t.co/G0WDxuSjS5
— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) November 11, 2016
Another male student came to her defense, saying the behavior wasn’t okay, Nkhama recalled. But the blond student who used the racial slur called out a line from Trump’s campaign slogan, Nkhama said, declaring: “I’m just trying to make America great again.”
Nkhama steamed about it all through her neuroscience class.
The psychology major was born in Lusaka, Zambia, but moved to Texas when she was 3 years old. She grew up in Dallas County, which Hillary Clinton won easily, though the state’s 38 electoral votes went to to Trump. Baylor is in Waco, county seat of McLennan County, where Trump won more than 60 percent of the vote.
Nkhama said she’d never experienced racial prejudice before at Baylor, where the student population is eight percent Black and 65 percent white. But she had read about similar incidents involving minorities during Trump’s campaign and feared it would get worse after he won.
Black Baylor student waited until after her class to make a video about her experience, reported by Atlanta Black Star. It was shared by her friend on Twitter and promptly went viral.
this is my friend Natasha, and this happened today 11/9 at @Baylor. pic.twitter.com/bm64xyc9LZ
— Jaileene Maite (@ijaileene) November 9, 2016
In the video, Nkhama says a different male student, whom she did not know, intervened, saying to the first student, “Dude, what are you doing? That’s not cool.”
Nkhama says the first man, the racist, then said, “Dude, like what? … I’m just trying to make America great again.”
“So, if you voted for Donald Trump, I hope you understand what that means from someone else’s point of view,” Nkhama says in the video.
Two days after her encounter, 300 friends, faculty members and students waited for Nkhama to get out of class to walk with her in a demonstration meant to show that Baylor University will not stand for racism.
The Black Baylor student cried when she saw everyone but had words for all of her supporters:
“I just wanted to thank everyone for being here, and I want everyone who sees this to know that Baylor is a campus of love,” she said. “… That one person is not a reflection of us, they’re a reflection of themselves. We look out for each other out here. And I want everyone to just continue to not allow things like that on our campus … because not on our campus.”
And with that, everyone walked with Nkhama to class.
#iwalkwithnatasha happening on @Baylor campus pic.twitter.com/Bmk0be5CrC
— Cassie L. Smith (@SmithCassie) November 11, 2016
In a statement, Baylor University officials said they were aware “of a student who was pushed and subjected to racially offensive language from another student yesterday while on campus.”
The university condemned the first male student, saying his racist behavior was “deeply disturbing.” Additionally, they said they have touched bases with Nkhama “to ensure she feels safe and supported by the Baylor community.”
What started as a group of a few dozen people quickly turned to more than 200 on Thursday as students gathered for about an hour on Baylor’s campus, according to WacoTrib.
Holding a sign that read “I’m not a rapist or a criminal,” art student Loisa Perez, 21, said she is afraid.
Trump’s bigotry and rhetoric against Mexicans during the campaign has been hateful, and his message has caused supporters to attack and assault others, she said.
“My people have been personally sought out, and it needs to stop. It needs too,” Perez, who voted in Tuesday’s election, said. “I’m scared for my family, for my friends. There are people that are first-generation Mexican Americans who have crossed over here, and their parents struggled a lot to build a life for them here. And honestly, it is so terrifying that people and families could be torn apart because of this, because of his words.”
Many held signs that read, “I love my country. Why can’t it love me,” “Don’t grab my pussy,” “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “Stop hurting people,” “My university may ignore a pussy-grabber, but I sure as hell won’t,” and “It’s personal not political,” among others.
Most of those who gathered expressed concern over the rhetoric from Trump during his campaign as well as certain supporters who have turned those messages into violence. While the group stood together, another collection of students began gathering across from them wearing Trump stickers or holding campaign signs.
Crowd is dispersing at @Baylor
Here’s a shot from Rod Aydelotte from up high of #iwalkwithnatasha pic.twitter.com/ELzRSS9oND
— Cassie L. Smith (@SmithCassie) November 11, 2016
Wearing a Trump sticker, finance freshman Connor Price, 19, said he came to offer an open dialogue with “the other side,” or the Republican party, as he clarified.
“My main issue with these kinds of protests and the main reason I’m out here is because these protests have been turning extremely violent at other universities, you know fist fights, burning of American flags, and honestly I don’t want to see that happen here,” Price said, adding he’s not sure what he would do if something happened. “I just don’t want to see it happen.”
Price said everyone needs to put differences aside and work together. He said Trump is not going to do the extreme things people are quoting.
“When it comes to checks and balances, it won’t happen,” he said. “They are not going to ban all Muslims from the United States. They’re not going to kick out all the Hispanic population in the United States. That would be absolutely asinine. Fear doesn’t make sense.”
The event began as a giant circle, with individuals from each side meeting in the middle to talk.
The response from the fellow students is highly recommendable and worthy of praise. We all need to join the fight for zero tolerance against racism in our country. The Black Baylor student’s response to the attack is just the right way to deal with the issue. Victims of racial abuse shouldn’t be quiet because they are not alone. Blacks will always be united and fight the menace.