As a person of color at this institution, I find myself engaging in a lot of conversations about race and societal constructs that have been put in place. We could potentially live in a progressive world and I hate that some people refuse to live in one. As a white ally, it is your job to inform your white friends and family members about the issues you see your friends of color dealing with.
Even though we are on a liberal arts campus, it doesn’t seem like that many people are open to new opinions and perspectives regarding race. This is especially because people who come from predominantly white states do not have many close interactions with diverse cultures, traditions, and races. As sad and unfortunate as that is, it’s still unacceptable and frustrating that I get dragged into numerous conversations about race with white people failing to empathize when I have my own stress to sort out. The last thing I need is more stress added because white people fail to realize that people of color at this institution have their own problems they must fix. That being said, I want to address the things that I am not.
I am not your:
∙ Personalized black person that you feel as if you could look upon as a trophy. My blackness is not a thing for you to look upon as your prize because you don’t have people of color where you are from.
∙ Race tutor. Personally, I am extremely exhausted of people coming to me asking me their ignorant questions that are common sense. These questions include: “Why don’t black people like when you touch their hair?”; “Why don’t black people age?”; and “Why are black people against the police?”. These are only about one-tenth of the questions that I hear daily. Still, it just isn’t mine or any person of color’s responsibility to answer these questions. Especially the last one.
Being that we have people on campus who choose to be white allies, congratulations for helping us stand up against the oppression that slaps us in the face every day. Although you will never truly understand how it feels to be a person of color, you see the injustices our people face daily. These injustices are a burden, and occasionally, they wear us down. Although we aren’t in the places now where people of color are getting harassed by the cops, in the courtroom getting sentenced 25 to life for marijuana possession, or even getting killed in the street because “we look suspicious”, does not mean that we don’t feel the weight those things carry. We as black people are being terrorized, and in most cases, it scares us not knowing whether we could be next.
I believe I am speaking for all people of color on this campus when I say this: every single student, faculty, board member, etc. who label themselves as a white ally, please educate your white friends about white privilege and the issues people of color face. Let me filter it a bit more: If you hear your friends saying ignorant things about people of color, educate them. At this point in time, we are living in a country divided and the main reason for that is the lack of education and sympathy for one another. The sooner we educate our friends about oppression, and how their comments can be oppressing, the sooner the gap will be bridged.