With three black students running for Student Body president in this Spring’s Student Government elections, many individuals are quick to jump the gun and state change is coming and bigotry and racism will no longer be a thing on this campus. The same thing was said when President Barack Obama was elected. It was said America had entered a new phase in its history, and the phrase “we are living in a post-racial America” became popular. Well, the 2016 U.S. presidential election showed otherwise.
It is true that change is coming to UF and SG; after more than 10 years, UF will see its first black Student Body president. However, the culture of UF’s campus will not change, as this university and this country were built by and for cisgender, heterosexual white men — this university will fundamentally do things that are in the best interest of cisgender, heterosexual white men.
For example, when a code revision was introduced to UF SG’s Budget & Appropriation committee regarding Gators Matter, Period. it was rejected, and one of the arguments against the code revision was the male population would not benefit from this initiative. The committee did not take into consideration the female-to-male ratio on this campus, and, further, the committee did not consider transgender men and women and non-binary individuals. The committee did not take into consideration some men do bleed.
Whatever happens tonight after 9:30 p.m., next Wednesday or if there will be a run-off, our next Student Body president will be black. So, what does that mean? What will happen in the Spring of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022? What will happen after whoever wins this year’s presidential election is no longer in office? Are we going to see the same pattern of cisgender, heterosexual white men being Student Body presidents and returning to power? Do we have to wait decades longer before we can see another black Student Body president, or the first openly LGBTQ+ Student Body president? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves. I encourage students to ask themselves these questions when they go out and vote today. Your vote matters, and your money matters. Go out and vote.
Mackintosh Joachim is a psychology and women’s studies freshman. He is also the student senator for the Graham Area.