Black and Brown students across the nation deal with passive and overt discrimination by their classmates or professors year after year. Halloween tends to be one of those occasions where it comes to the forefront and 2016 is no different. Angel Treviño, a student liaison to Michigan State University's Board of Trustees and a leader of Latino-based fraternity Phi Iota Alpha, is no stranger to challenges faced by students. Unfortunately, the Mexican-American student had to confront this in person on the first night of 2016's Halloween weekend.
Students approached Angel and a group of friends wearing traditional Mexican clothing and a "Make America Great Again" hat as part of a bigger effort to hunt down Mexicans for the night. "They were stopping random people asking if they were Mexican and what would happen afterwards I am glad I didn't find out", according to Angel's Facebook post. We had a chance to talk with Angel shortly after the incident and he further elaborated:
"I've been fighting with Latinx students at MSU for the past few weeks about the discrimination that's been happening. I'm on MSU's board of trustees where just at today's meeting the Latinx students made several powerful speeches to the board about exactly this."
Here is the original post that caught our attention:
"As a proud Spartan and student who is proud of my Mexican American heritage I am both saddened and I guess not really surprised at the experience I had just moments ago. When I say I am not surprised it is sad to realize that I half expected to see this kind of behavior so close to Halloween by my fellow Spartans who I am supposed to cheer with at game day tomorrow. As I was walking with a group of friends I was confronted by some fellow students dressed in your stereotypical Mexican costume and another who wore a shirt that said "the wall". They were stopping random people asking if they were Mexican and what would happen afterwards I am glad I didn't find out. I confronted said fellow students about this and they continued to justify this as a joke and that all Mexicans are drunks so it is okay that they were doing what they were doing. A friend of mine is from Mexico and stated that. Their response was, "Well, since your from Mexico you MUST be drunk, because all of you are." I was surprised for just a second by how bold these individuals were but was quickly saddened by how much I was expecting this. Thank you to my friends who then came to our aid and explained quickly that this was inappropriate behavior and they need to take into account what they were portraying. This is MY MSU..."
- Angel Treviño (10/28/16)