I am a white guy who attended the Black Power Rally on Friday night at the Auditorium. What a great event this turned out to be: Live rapping, African dance and poetry were just a few of the performances there to be experienced. This event, albeit fantastic, left a bad taste in my mouth, though.
As I approached the Auditorium, blatantly apparent was the police presence. It was slightly intimidating. Parked in front of the Auditorium were two MSU police Suburbans and then two dressed officers stood at the entrance as you walked in the building.
Once upon a time, I was a member of a fraternity and during my tenure in the greek system we put on an event called MTV Bar Night. The night drew dramatically greater numbers of people than the Black Power Rally and did not have a visible police presence. Then there was the Ralph Nader rally and Hardball with Chris Matthews. At those well-attended events, as well as the Bar Night, I did not notice a single officer throughout the entire night. Simply the name of the two events draws my attention. How is it that a Rally warrants greater police presence than a Bar Night?
I would guess that the race of the audience for these events played a grave factor in the presence needed according to the police, but then again, I would not want to stereotype the police enforcement at MSU as racist.