Editors note: This piece contains language that is considered offensive and is not the choice of the writer, but is essential because of the subject.
Harley Barber, a 19-year-old New Jersey resident, was recently kicked out of the Alpha Phi sorority and expelled from the University of Alabama for posting obscene videos of herself on social media.
These videos included Barber using the n-word in a derogatory manner around campus, while presumedly intoxicated. According to USA Today, University of Alabama president Stuart Bell stated, “The actions of this student do not represent the larger student body or the values of our university.” Barber later said in an interview with the New York Post that there was no excuse for what she did.
Alpha Phi also distanced themselves from Barber. Linda Kahaji, director of Alpha Phi international sorority, said, “Ms. Barber is no longer a member of Alpha Phi.”
The southern region of the United States, where both UTM and the University of Alabama are located, is often stereotyped as being a breeding ground for racism and intolerance. This stems from the values predominantly held by southerners during Civil-War-Era America.
Barber’s ill-advised actions do not help the south break away from this archaic stereotype. Racist people exist in all regions. It is not fair for the south to be continuously characterized in a negative way due to the actions of a minority.
We at The Pacer do not condone the words or videos of Barber nor racism in general. Barber’s actions are appalling and there is no excuse for such behavior, regardless of her sobriety.
It is important to know that there are plenty of good people both in and out of the south. People who stand up for equality and work to silence those who believe otherwise. As years and generations go by, people like Barber are becoming fewer and fewer, but not without the braver and louder voices of those willing to take a stand for what they believe in.