On Wednesday, October 23, The University of Missouri’s athletic department posted a tweet that was clearly meant to celebrate diversity and equality among its many student athletes.
Sadly, it’s obvious nobody ran the tweet through any sort of vetting process, because it fell far short of its intended message.
In the since-deleted tweet, Mizzou includes pictures of white athletes with captions like “I am a future doctor” and “I am a future corporate financier” alongside pictures of black athletes with captions like “I am an African American woman,” “I value equality” and “I am a brother.”
I too, am an African America woman and value equality pic.twitter.com/8VdOoSJGtj— Brandon🗡 (@brvnd0) October 24, 2019
Oh no Mizzou, baby what is you doing? pic.twitter.com/RoyeTX8MmN— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) October 24, 2019
On Twitter, people couldn’t believe the athletic department was acting with such ignorance just four years after the University’s President was forced to resign over continued protests related to race and student athletics.
that Mizzou tweet is exactly what these institutions view as being diverse.— Sister Night’s Nose (@Phllp_Wnslw) October 24, 2019
"We've got our WW, and our token Blacks. We're done."
Me: *hasn’t seen anything reckless on the TL today*— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) October 23, 2019
Mizzou later returned to apologize for their earlier tweet, writing:
“Earlier we made a mistake when we posted a graphic about our student athletes. We apologize. Our intent was to provide personal information about our students, but we failed. We listened and removed the post.”
Why would y’all post this. Do you not have any Black people on the PR team? Did you run this by *any Black person on campus*? pic.twitter.com/lmHh0BQYki— Afro New Guinea 🇿🇦🇵🇷🇵🇬 (@simplyshorty___) October 24, 2019
#racism is often more apparent when institutions try to show how racist they are not. Exhibit A - @MizzouAthletics @Mizzou - wherein white people are the future and black people are happy to just be black. This is visible #erasure pic.twitter.com/CnJjoj9c4U— Chris Lebron (@lebron_chris) October 25, 2019
It turns out many of the statements included in the original posts were taken out of context from longer videos recorded by each student athlete.
Earlier we made a mistake when we posted a graphic about our student athletes. We apologize. Our intent was to provide personal information about our students, but we failed. We listened and removed the post. This video better represents our intent to celebrate our diversity. pic.twitter.com/Hhwd62Il4Z— Mizzou Athletics (@MizzouAthletics) October 24, 2019
While Mizzou’s apology is a step in the right direction, seeing which details the athletic department had initially decided to use and which it had ignored was a fresh outrage for many.
So y’all mean to tell me out of “I am a brother, uncle and I am a leader” you chose I am a brother. And out of “I am an African American woman, a sister, a daughter and a future physical therapist” you chose “I am an African American woman” ?????????? Y’all need help. Lmao. https://t.co/RfuoVopzee— SPOOKY ANS👻 (@ansssleyy) October 23, 2019
Mizzou’s budget on the Stadium vs Mizzou’s budget on they Athletic Diversity video pic.twitter.com/d83jp13teQ— Brandon🗡 (@brvnd0) October 24, 2019
It was clear Mizzou’s graphic took the athlete’s quotes deeply out of context along racial lines.
They posted the video showing the statements in their entirety. The man said, "I am a brother, an uncle and best of all, I am a leader." The woman said, "I am an African American woman, a sister, a daughter, a volunteer, and a future physical therapist."— Nιɳα Mσɳҽι (@wildfonts) October 24, 2019
There was a black man in between who said, "I am an electrical engineer," another who said, "I am a computer science major..." There was a muslim-latina woman whose entire statement was "I am muslim and Latina" but they ain't post that. They knew what they were doing.— Nιɳα Mσɳҽι (@wildfonts) October 24, 2019
Another thing worth noting:
They also misspelled “financier.”— Gremliny Nussboo (@emilynussbaum) October 25, 2019
When attempting to showcase the diversity at your school, it’s important not to misrepresent the words of minorities to make them seem less than they are.
Just a tip for the future, University of Missouri!