Letter to the Editor, April 24

Apr. 23, 2014 @ 06:34 PM

Cannot be silent

I recently sent a letter to the Duke Chronicle as I felt a severe violation had occurred when a young black man was pepper sprayed and arrested on my campus. I will soon be graduating and generally have not felt comfortable speaking up about racism at Duke. Yet, I can no longer ignore that black students are constantly asked to show Duke Cards to prove that we actually “go here,” or that there is greater police presence at black parties than at other campus events. I cannot be silent after watching how many police outnumbered one young man on Monday. Where are the protests that followed Treyvon’s murder? Must a man be killed for the issue to be considered “problematic”?

The Chronicle chose not to include my “letter” to the young man, which in part read:

“My heart weeps for you, weeps for us…. I weep because they blame you. They will say the violence against your humanity was justified. They will have reasons for Treyvon, reasons for Darrin Manning, reasons for every person of color.

“As my heart stirs with rage, anger and sadness, I apologize on behalf of my University. I also apologize that I was in denial; as a student of color, I also wanted to come up with reasons. For, if I could find one, I could rest comfortably knowing that your case was an exception, that my education and gender could perhaps keep me ‘safe’ from police brutality.

“But there was not one.”

Brandee Branche