Racial tensions are high at the University of Oklahoma after a video of the school’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter singing racial slurs surfaced on the Internet Sunday.
Student protests broke out on campus, a committed athlete abandoned his admission and rapper Waka Flocka Flame canceled an upcoming OU appearance. But the campus wasn't the only place where protests and reactions took place. St. Louis resident Reginald Cunningham decided to extend the discussion on Twitter and launched the hashtag #blackexperience to spread light on the reality of racism in America.
"More or less it’s about starting a conversation and opening the eyes of those who may not know that this is the everyday black experience... for pretty much all people of color,” Cunningham told The Huffington Post.
Two questions prompted the collective narrative of responses.
"When it comes to race, it’s almost like it’s still a taboo conversation. It’s an uncomfortable space for many people," Cunningham said. "Of course hashtags are contagious and they are kinda what bring people together."
The hashtag was inspired by not only the SAE frat video, but also in response to the DOJ’s damning Ferguson report exposing racial bias and the Black Lives Matter movement fighting to prevent similar instances from reoccurring. Cunningham encourages the confrontation of ugly truths as a way to move forward.
It’s a dialogue that Cunningham has no plans to bring to an end anytime soon, “Because as long as we’re having that conversation, then the possibility of progression is there."
Follow the conversation on Reginald Cunningham’s Twitter, and see the black experiences people shared below, many of which include racially charged language. .
I almost drowned at Lake Lanier because the lifeguard said he wasn't gonna jump in and save a nigger. I was 8 #BlackExperience
— Bruce Banner (@nerd_worldorder) March 9, 2015
— Domo stays Domming (@DaGreatWario) March 9, 2015
— Kam, the Killa (@CoolWithA_K) March 9, 2015
— Creole Queen (@AIL24) March 9, 2015
— Mellow Yellow (@_DGood_) March 9, 2015