Over the years, BYU is known as being predominantly white, and overwhelmingly Mormon. How do black and non-LDS students fare at BYU? In our next conversation with Dr. Matt Harris, we’ll talk about how well BYU administrators have tried to attract both racial and religious minorities.
Matt: I know some black students who have gone there and they fit in really well and been happy and some have just been miserable. Some have said the racism was nothing to write home about, it was okay. Others, oh my gosh, I’ve never been around as racist an institution as BYU.
Racism, of course, is defined in different ways, right? It’s not just calling somebody a racial slur, which I don’t think happened. But it’s using shards of the old Mormon racial doctrine. For example, a black BYU student came home to her dorm room one day, and her white roommate looked at her just stared at her as she walked through the door, and the black girl said, “What are you staring at?”
The white girl responded, “I just wonder what you’ll look like in the resurrection when you’re white like me. I wonder if I’ll recognize you.”
I mean, those are micro-aggressions that are just intensely painful.
GT: It does seem like Muslim kids seem to fit in well at BYU. I know some Muslims that have worked at BYU. I know Mohammed Elewonibi made it in the NFL.
Matt: Yeah, I remember him.
GT: He was a big lineman for BYU.
Matt: Was he LDS?
GT: No, he was Muslim.
Matt: Muslim. Okay. Yeah.
GT: Islam, they don’t have the Word of Wisdom, but they don’t drink.
Matt: They have the health code.
GT: BYU can be actually very attractive to Islamic athletes.
What are your thoughts about racial and religious minorities at BYU? Check out our conversation….