NORTH PHILADELPHIA - For some, it was just a banana sitting on a door handle. But for the Temple University students Halle Rae and Madison Brown who live in the dorm where the banana was placed, it's a hateful display of racism.
"Some people are like why do you think this is racist?" said Rae. "But if they actually understood that people call black people monkeys to be racist and ignorant...I mean we are the only full black room. Why else?"
The roommates said they discovered the banana on their Morgan Hall dorm room door Monday night.
They said there are other African American students living in the dorm and on their floor, so they are not sure why they were targeted, but they tell Action News they don't believe this was just a prank.
"I didn't think it would happen to me," said Brown. "But at the same time, I am not surprised because I am a minority, and things like this happen predominantly white institutions."
Temple sent out a statement condemning the act and stressing the university does not tolerate discrimination. The statement said police are investigating to see if the act was racially motivated.
Other students said they are shocked by the gesture, and they, too, believe it was racially charged.
"It is really just insane," said Temple student Julie Foering. "Temple is supposed to be a diverse place and open to so many people and cultures. It is just really amazing to see what kind of people would do this to someone in this day and age."
Tyrell Mann-Barnes is Temple's Student Body President. He said he's never seen anything like this, but hopes it's a teaching moment.
"I like to give people the benefit of the doubt," said Mann-Barnes. "I think it is possible that someone could have put that there and not understand the cultural context, but I think there is still responsibility to learn about why Halle and her roommates would take that the way they did."
The students impacted by this said they wanted to bring attention to this offensive act, but are also hoping their story will be used as a reason for students to unite.
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