Letter to the Editor: An open letter to my fellow white people

Racism isn’t an abstract idea.

Racism lives here, in this country and on this campus. Eight racially motivated hate crimes have been reported in the last two years – who knows how many others have occurred without a report?

But that’s not all. Professors aren’t currently mandated to receive bias training in any capacity. While we have a long list of general education requirements, students aren’t currently mandated to participate in diversity/race classes.

Call on administration to take more action – it’s time to go beyond open forums and require the trainings that have thus far been optional.

White students, faculty, and staff: we need to step up in every aspect of the word, and we need to start using our privilege to magnify the voices of people of color. 

We are so quick to label ourselves “not racist,” but what are we doing in the face of racism? If the answer is nothing, then we cannot say we are not racist as we are complicit in allowing racism to continue unchecked. In the wise words of Angela Davis, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.”

No, I’m not suggesting that we start a militia to find the perpetrators of the hate crimes. While identifying them may seem like a swift act of justice, punishing individuals does nothing to address the systemic racism and white supremacy of this campus and country.

We can uncover every hate crime perpetrator on this campus, but it won’t erase the mentality of racism that lives here (and everywhere). The victims of these crimes, both direct and indirect, will not see justice until the systematic racism that cultivates racists is dismantled.

What we need to do is start calling our white friends out when they say something offensive. Even when y’all are alone.

Call out your white professors/colleagues when they neglect to talk about the racism students and faculty of color are facing.

Write in to The Gatepost and post on social media – don’t let these acts fade away. And, almost more important than everything above – check in on your friends of color, classmates of color, and professors of color.

While this may seem like too much for us to handle, imagine having to live or work on a campus that you don’t feel safe being in. That is too much to handle. 

Our white tears, quite frankly, are not what should be centered here. This is not about us. 

It’s time to decenter our feelings, and instead put that effort into enacting change.

This is uncomfortable – trust me, I get it. However, comfort never got anything done.

Sincerely,

Molly Roach

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