It is not just a flag. It is just another reminder that Marshall never belonged to us. 

Marshall was a place where “n—r,” “f—t,” and “go back to where you came from” were unsurprising to hear in the seven minutes walking between classes. Marshall was a place where my peers of color were taught to be grateful that we could access this education, that these white teachers were willing to teach us, that our white peers were kind enough to let us walk in the building.

That flag in the Marshall parking lot was just another betrayal of the diverse and tolerant illusion propagated to us. Disappointing, but never surprising.

The calls for civility and “get back to a bi-partisan government” ring hollow, and the “get back to” sounds eerily familiar to another political platitude. Bi-partisanship denied people of color the right to an education, the right to a job, the right to live in the neighborhoods of their choosing. Bi-partisanship as a means and an end concedes any responsibility for change.

To every student who has faced death threats for their political views: I am incredibly sorry. That should not happen to you. But, that is also how your peers feel every time they walk by police, every time they go for a run in their predominantly white neighborhoods, every time they talk to a white woman.  

To every teacher and member of the Marshall community: when there is bipartisan silence, when it is one of your students being lynched, will you care then?

Soven Bhagat

Marshall Class of 2020