An uncaged animal is free to do as it pleases. The animal is able roam the wilderness, interact with other animals, hunt for food, and simply be a free animal. When that creature is placed under captivity in a zoo it soon becomes a victim of change. Trees are traded for plastic, hunting exchanged for feedings, and the natural world replaced with tourists and children. When a wild animal acts the part of an animal it is the “circle of life.” When the zoo animal, with the same genetic makeup as a wild animal, acts the same part, it is killed for “acting out of line.” So when a gorilla in captivity reacts to someone entering his habitat, the gorilla is somehow at fault even though the gorilla had no control over the situation it was placed in. Not being able to understand what it is like to be Harambe the Gorilla in a zoo is not being able to understand what it is like to be black at a predominantly white institution; whether that institution be the University of Miami or, on a larger scale, the United States of America. United Black Students at the University of Miami is a group that aims to bridge the gap created by lack of awareness between blacks and whites through knowledge.
The University of Miami is not exactly known for its extensive black population. This is something that was not much of a thought when I originally stepped foot on campus. Coming from suburban upstate New York I was always accustomed to black people being a rarity and not expecting to have a large black community. Little did I know the University of Miami was about to throw that expectation out the window. Within days of being on campus I was introduced to an organization by the name of United Black Students. I came across this group’s table at CaneFe...
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...rough it. Together we thrive and together we can teach. If the black students put aside their differences and come together for the common goal of aiding everyone in understanding everyone else, there can really be a monumental change.
One thing UBS taught me is that every individual is responsible for creating the spark that is change. If you want sympathy and understanding, you must inform. It is hard to sympathize without understanding and ever harder to understand without knowledge. United Black Students gives many opportunities to delve into that knowledge and learn about the struggles of being treated as a second class citizen that you hear about but do not experience. It’s all about whether or not you’re willing to put pride aside and learn. It’s okay not to know everything but choosing to be ignorant is something that can only be blamed on the individual.
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