Addressing race and privilege on campus Reply

By Haleigh West – Contributing Writer

Diversity has many meanings. It’s not limited to skin color, but includes other physical and internal differences such as religion, socioeconomic status, gender identification, sexual orientation, political ideology, and thought process. It is something that makes one or few different from the majority.

Racial distances almost never seem purposeful, but are still present. In the way a professor would ask a foreign student to speak for an entire culture or in the way white supervisors talk to their employees of color. How do we change these microaggressions? Some do so by being a “white ally.” At Lasell there are students and professors of color who approve of this term and see it as a way to build bridges between races. Ta Nehisi Coates, a black author and advo- cate for racial equality, strongly disapproves of this term. To him, ‘ally’ implies that the victim of adversity cannot fight their own battle. Saying “I am a white ally” means that people of color have no voice in their own fight. It all depends on perspective.

 

For our campus to truly reach racial equality, we need to stop talking, start listening, and realize being different is hard, but to be physically different and to have the world acknowledge that everyday is harder as a minority.

Many believe that race has no effect on whether or not they will succeed over another person, yet the annual pay gap between a woman of color and a white woman can stretch up to $12,000 or more. Others who realize their privilege choose to hide or deny it, but denying privilege doesn’t take away anyone else’s lack of privilege.

 

The world is not going to change overnight into a place where everyone gets treated equally. The likelihood of this happening in the next decade is minimal. It is important though to keep that goal on the horizon; if not for our- selves, then for each other. Start with closing our mouths and opening our eyes.

 

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