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MSU Panel Slams Whites, MSU for Stolen Native Land, Reads Apology Statement

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

"The panelists claimed the existence of 'invisible white rage that exists in our legislatures and classrooms.'"

Author: Bri Saroli

At the panel Trump and whites were slammed for spreading white nationalism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism. University land was cited as stolen and an apology statement was read.

The panel of professors and MSU administrators came together on September 16, 2019 for the second installment of an event series, “Building Community: Resisting Hate.” Muslim Studies and Jewish Studies were hosts.

The speakers this time centered their discussion on the dangers white nationalism present today, and the importance of “building community” to repel white nationalist threats. At least one of the panelists cited white nationalism as part of the very core of the United States, saying the US was, “founded on racism and genocide”.

A host of the event, Yael Arnoff, Associate Professor and Chair of Israeli Studies at MSU, claimed, “white nationalism has only intensified in the last 18 months,” citing tweets coming from the White House.

Stephanie Nawyn, Associate Professor in Sociology, discussed immigration. She challenged the audience to present an anti-immigrant Bible verse. “I have not found one,” she declared. Moving on she stated how being a white woman compels her to “call out other white women and their complicity in voting for Trump.”

Members of the panel also expressed their concern about the state of indigenous tribes in Michigan. Due to the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819, after which millions of acres of land was ceded to the United States. MSU was built on such land.

Dylan Miner, Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies, read a land acknowledgement declaration from the MSU College of Arts and Letters. It states it is “problematic” for the college to be called “the nation’s pioneer land grant college.”

The panel proclaimed that they must “hold Michigan State accountable for the needs of the indigenous people”.

Panelist professor Salah Hassan then stated, “Islamophobia in the United States is pretty widespread.” Continuing, he said in the United States, "you can't say things in public about certain groups, but you can about Muslims. When Muslims die, it's okay."

Due to this prejudice, shown mostly by white individuals, the panelists claimed the existence of “invisible white rage that exists in our legislatures and classrooms”.

The panel expressed their views of how our current federal administration has caused a white reaction which has negatively affected a series of not only racial, but also religious and gendered groups.

This was the second event in the “Building Community: Resisting Hate” series. The first was held before Richard Spencer’s campus visit last year.

Contributor: Bri Saroli

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