American University Police are hot on the trail of a racist criminal who lynched 12 bananas at American University in Washington D.C. All 12 bananas were hung with identical black cord fashioned like a noose from lampposts on campus. According to the New York Times, the FBI is assisting in the investigation.
The May 1 hangings coincided with the first day a black woman, Taylor Dumpson, took the office of student body president at AU. What are reported to be racist messages were inscribed on the bananas: “AKA FREE,” an apparent reference to the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, which is predominantly comprised of black students and of which Dumpson is a member; and “HARAMBE BAIT,” a seeming reference to the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla named Karambe who was killed last year when a boy fell into its enclosure.
Senior Quinn Dunlea, 20, and a friend were among the first to witness the hanging bananas and alerted campus security. Dunlea and her friend witnessed five pairs of hanging bananas and heard from another student that an additional pair was found.
“We knew immediately what it was,” Dunlea said. “It’s not subtle. Bananas and nooses. It’s very explicitly clear what they meant, because that was [Dumpson’s] first day in office, and it called out her sorority,” she said.
A video was released Tuesday night that may show the culprit.
University President Neil Kerwin spoke out condemning the act in a statement as crude and racially insensitive. “We strongly condemn what happened; will do all that we can to find those responsible; and ask that anyone who may know of those involved to please step forward and contact Public Safety.”
This is the second banana hate crime at American University since September, when one black woman allegedly found a rotten banana at her dorm door and another claimed a white male threw a rotten banana at her.
After September’s incident, Kerwin expressed displeasure and frustration in a letter to students and stated, “We will confront racist expressions with forceful condemnation and respond to discrimination with every tool at our disposal.”
At the time, the American University Black Student Alliance condemned the school’s lack of response to a culture of bigoted behavior on campus. In 2015, racist epithets were written on the dormitory doors of black students.
In light of the lackluster response to the September racist banana incidents, students are not convinced the administration is taking their plight seriously. Sydney Jones, who heads the N.A.A.C.P. student chapter at American University, said there’s a lack of “genuine passion” and a racist banana hate crime “is something extremely serious.”
Dumpson addressed the incident in a statement on Monday on the student government web site. “This is not what I imagined my first letter to you all would be,” she wrote. “In my first message to the student body, I would have wanted to talk about accountability, transparency, accessibility, and inclusivity. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that members of our community feel welcomed and above all, safe on this campus.”
“We need to do more than just have conversations,” she continued, “but move in a direction towards more tangible solutions to prevent incidents like these from occurring in the future.”
The President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion held a town hall meeting in Kay Chapel Tuesday amidst protests. Groups of students staged a demonstration and left the meeting to march down to the Asbury building and, in a symbolic act, requested withdrawal forms from the financial aid office.
The protestors then headed back to Kay Chapel with a list of demands. According to the Eagle, the students demanded mandatory expulsion for hate crimes, implementation of training programs for AU faculty, increasing the number of faculty and staff of color, and improving financial aid packages for all students. They are also demanding segregated campus spaces, and “the establishment of separate resource centers for Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Native Americans, Muslim students, undocumented students, and queer and trans students,” according to Campus Reform.
Administrators accepted the list of demands and said they would work with students. The students immediately pushed back when Celine-Marie Pascale, an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, did not commit to meeting the students’ demands.
“You can suck up y’all’s anger and make sure that we are okay. We pay tuition,” sophomore Isaiah Young of the Black Student Alliance said during an exchange with Pascale. “We basically cut y’all’s checks and so therefore until our demands are met, y’all are not getting no checks. Divest from paying y’all’s tuition and cut their resources.”
The banana lynching is officially being investigated as a hate crime by the FBI. There’s a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s identification.
A message from the editor: The FBI is assisting in the investigation and labeling the banana hangings a hate crime. Universities throughout America are initiating new courses promoting anti-whiteness and labeling all white people as racists. White privilege is now a term tossed around on campuses in every state. “The Problem of Whiteness” will be an actual class this fall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Oh, and the FBI is assisting in the investigation and labeling the banana hangings a hate crime.
I see a white revolt in America’s future. And the very people who are using these assinine methods to assuage racial tensions are doing nothing but exacerbating them. How long will it take before they realize the insurmountable damage they’re doing? Answer: they won’t. They’ll double-down on their stupidity and create war. Then they’ll have something else to blame on Trump. It’s interesting to note that racial acts of violence on campuses MORE THAN DOUBLED between 2009 and 2016.