While walking through Florida State University’s campus during Florida A&M’s homecoming week, one may hear comments such as: “FAMU’s homecoming weekend? Oh, start planning your trip out of town now.”
“That’s what we here at FSU like to call our ‘house party weekend.’ “
“The mall? Absolutely not. Don’t even think about it.”
As an FSU student, I began hearing remarks like these in the beginning of my freshman year. I was told that no sane FSU student would go out that weekend, that Tennessee Street becomes a parking lot jungle and that the mall wasn’t even worth setting foot in.
The stigma that FSU students have toward FAMU’s homecoming is real – but is it valid?
Many of the reasons given for why FSU students find the need to “evacuate” Tallahassee during FAMU’s homecoming weekend are wildly hypocritical, considering the fact that the same situations given also apply to many big FSU home games.
For instance, during a rivalry game against the University of Miami, FSU students flood the city. Alumni crowd the bars, coeds dawning garnet and gold seem to saturate the mall, police presence is increased all across campus and traffic is almost unbearable.
FSU students do not seem to mind these small inconveniences when the Noles take over, yet when the overwhelming populous is sporting orange and green, it is suddenly alarming and dangerous.
The fact of the matter is that this idea is not so much based on fact but subconsciously seeded in racism. Though we consider ourselves to be a completely open and accepting generation, the truth is that racist undertones remain present, even if they sometimes go unnoticed or unrealized.
There is no reason as to why the two largest campuses in the Tallahassee area can’t peacefully coexist and even benefit from each other. There is no conference rivalry to alienate fans – the two teams never even play each other.
We as citizens of a town that thrives economically on the vast influx of college students should revel in any event that has the opportunity to bring in revenue to locally owned businesses that help Tallahassee prosper.
The real question is not what can we do to make these stigmas and stereotypes go away, because, sadly, racism in some form will never be completely void from our country. Rather, let’s ask ourselves what can we, as a city of college students who supposedly are the most unbiased and accepting sect of society, do to improve upon a ridiculously old-fashioned point of view.
As outdated as it may seem, we need to continue to foster race relationships with one another. For many, race isn’t even a factor – something they are inherently blind to. But for some — both blacks and whites alike – it is the first and often only thing they can see. Why can’t we all just grow up and get along?