A year or so has passed since last I wrote about this topic. Which is irresponsible on my part. I think I make excuses to myself about not writing about race because I don’t want to be dominating the conversation, but there’s a difference between taking over a discourse and remaining silent out of cowardice.
So, here’s the thing, I don’t know all the details of what’s happening at Carleton right now, but I’m assuming it’s similar to last year. We’re a really white campus, in terms of who is given public voice and priority rather than necessarily purely by the numbers. It is still unacceptable to use excuses such as strictly proportional representation in student government, residential life positions, and extracurricular activities. It is up to the people running said programs, incumbent particularly on the white representatives, to encourage people from every background to audition/apply/vote what have you. To make these processes easier for people who don’t traditionally have as easy access.
Ease of access may be hindered due purely to differences (differences devoid of any sort of moral value, simply differences) in skin color, the way they treat elders in their families, the language they speak at home, how they are taught and trained to behave in classrooms, their socioeconomic background, the way authority figures have historically behaved towards them. All of these factors and more need to be taken into account when determining how to run an organization and how accessible said organization is to all people.
I’m framing this primarily based on my understanding of Carleton. I don’t yet have enough knowledge of my current location to speak with any sort of weight. But I’m doing my best to observe my surroundings and using what very very little power I have to effect at least conversation if nothing else.
We live in a grossly unjust society, with a long and gruesome history of racial violence. White discomfort is, for me, one of the least important factors to be taken under consideration. My former resident Reina said it super well that we shouldn’t be worried about “white fragility”. It’s time for me to stop living in my cowardice and start facing up to the realities of our society, not frozen by guilt, but determined to right the injustices of our ancestors. Determined not to repeat the crimes of last year, and the crimes of last month.
Black lives matter.