To the Students in English1000C
I sat in a class where I believed race didn’t actually matter. When I am on my college campus, the level of diversity within the student body tends to make me forget about race to some degree because we are all here for a common goal ; to graduate. In class, we had dealt with topics such as women. I didn’t chalk it up to one simple conclusion about women because I am not a woman. I won’t sit here and tell you what it’s like to be one but I can tell you there are systematic advantages by not being one. I understand that I do not understand.
Today we read about Langston Hughes and proceeded to do group work. I felt this particular project would proceed as simple and smooth as the projects on women had. I thought people would defend and understand how racism is still very obvious even in todays time. Maybe it’s because I’ve been around more liberal people as of late I thought that.
By the time we sat in groups my teacher had announced she read our private journals(for class) and many students had admitted to believing in some racist ideals, even if they didn’t act on it. Part of me believes my classmates don’t understand what racism really is. I still hope that to be true. I hope their pre meditated judgements are what they view as racist and not their true hatred for minorities and a dire love for the system that continues to hold minorities down.
As I read Langston Hughes poem, one classmate said to me ” 1949, I guess Racism was over by then”. I had politely corrected him about that. Then my other group mate followed up ” Now racism doesn’t exist…”. I had then realized that my teacher had also said that “Civil Rights was 50 years ago”. I had began to see the level of discontent and awkwardness on the black students faces, all 4 of us.
I was in a class that probably believes that just because our president is half black racism was over. I was in a class that believes just because their favorite performer is Beyonce, racism is over. I was in a class full of students and I mind you not all white, that live in this fantasy world where racism in America is not a real thing. To a degree, they’re right, because in their world it doesn’t. For the 22 year old white male, your privilege can blind you from seeing the faults in a system because the faults don’t pertain to you. For the white woman, you are given an idea of sympathy when it comes to Feminism because the feminist movement is there to really protect white women.
I was in a class full of students who weren’t willing to sympathize because they saw nothing to sympathize with. Rather than say they don’t understand they believe that they do understand. They don’t understand and they won’t understand and rather than sit here in my face and pretend as if you do, admit you don’t. Just like I don’t understand what it is like to be a woman in America, non-minorities don’t understand what it’s like to be a minority in America. Just because your friends are black, just because your idols are spanish, doesn’t mean you understand what it’s like.