Last year, four minority students at the University of Texas at Austin said they were targeted by “bleach bombs,” balloons filled with the corrosive cleanser presumably sending the message that their skin would be better if it were white. Police investigated the incidents but never found the culprits. The apparently racial attacks set off a wave of campus protests.
Now, 10 months later, another African-American student at the university reports being the target of a bleach bomb. Bryan Davis (pictured), a junior, was walking to a friend’s apartment last week when a liquid-filled balloon exploded on the ground next to him. David felt a “slight sting” on his leg. He looked up and saw the back on someone’s head, but “By the time I looked up they were basically gone,” he told KTBC television.
"People might look at it as a prank, but to be a minority at such a large school, even pranks like this, it doesn't come off the way you think it might when you're doing it,” Davis said. “For me, it was kind of humiliating and embarrassing."
Last October, police looked into four incidents of reported bleach-bombings. Those incidents led to protests against what students said was a continued strain of racism on the campus.
“This is not 1960,” said Chas Moore, a former student who helped organize the marches. “We are not going to be afraid to walk anywhere. We are not going back in time.”
Austin police have now opened an investigation into the latest alleged bleach bomb attack. They said bleach bombs are dangerous weapons, so matter for what reason they are used.
"If anybody were to get bleach thrown at them in their eyes it could be a very serious situation where it could potentially blind you," said Austin Police Department spokesman David Boyd.
The campus last year was also the site of fraternity and sorority theme parties that drew complaints of racial stereotyping because of the costumes worn by some participants.
SOURCES: KTBC Fox 7, New York Daily News, The Horn, Think Progress
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