This Photo Of EXACTLY What White Privilege Looks Like Is Going Viral

Photo: Courtesy of the author
This Photo Of EXACTLY What White Privilege Looks Like Is Going Viral
Buzz, Self

There's no denying it.

Editor's note: On May 1, 2017, Colgate University in New York was placed on lockdown by campus police for 4 hours as they searched for a black male university student who was reported for carrying a weapon — which turned out to be a hot glue gun for a class art project.

Colgate University's President Brian W. Casey has since issued a strong public statement, in which he said:

"It is important that we understand the role that implicit racial bias had in the initial reporting of and responses to the events of last night. I want to make sure we speak with those who made and received the initial report to understand the role this played.

More egregiously, perhaps, was the effect profiling had on the response of safety officers and other University offices to these events. In addition, communication and enforcement steps were taken that, I believe, confused and harmed this campus and our students. As a first step, I have asked Campus Safety Director Bill Ferguson, who was leading university security efforts last night, to take an administrative leave from his position effective immediately while we conduct a review of the events of last night."

Following the incident,  Jenny Lundt posted this photo of herself on Facebook as a clear day depiction of exactly what white privilege looks like, along with the following series of powerful messages.

May 1, 2017

THIS is what white privilege looks like.

This is me, only one year ago on this very campus, running around the academic quad with a fucking sharp metal sword.

People thought it was funny. People laughed.

"Oh, look at that harmless, *silly white girl* with a giant sword!!"

Today, a black man carrying a fucking glue gun shut down my "prestigious liberal arts college" for 4 hours.

The limited information that was released put all black men on this campus in danger and at risk of being killed. That is the reality of the institutionalized racism in the United States.

If you think for even a second this wasn't racial profiling, ask yourself why this sword is still in my room and has not ONCE made anyone uncomfortable. No one has EVER called the police on me.

Understand that there are larger forces at play than this one night and this once instance of racism. This is engrained in our university and our larger society.

White Colgate students, we need to do better.

There's a really great summary of the situation on a site called AsiansInSolidarity.

May 8, 2017

My Facebook posts from this week are getting far more shares than I ever would have imagined.

I just want to remind everyone viewing/sharing my posts that this narrative is not about me and my feelings.

This story and the event that happened last week are about people of color who are oppressed each and every day by this institution and this country at large and I in no way meant to take the conversation away from them and their stories. Race and discrimination are just as much of a problem here today as it was on Monday — even though many people are not talking about it or even THINKING about it anymore.

My privilege allowed me to share my story. My privilege and my influential friends and thus their influential friends made this post go "viral."

All of that is white privilege at work. 

To those white people that are seeing this, use this as an opportunity and wake up call to confront the privilege in your own life.

Have these conversations and find the "swords" in your life — the things you could get away with that your friends of color could not.

There are many white people on this post trying to suppress the voices of others with comments such as "all lives matter" or "white privilege doesn't exist."

CHALLENGE THAT. Fight back.

And not just on this post, but in real life. Challenge racist jokes. Challenge stereotypes and hold your white friends accountable.

People of color (POC) seeing this, I am sorry that this post is taking up a lot of space.

It was never my intention for it to be spread this vast, and I am sorry to those who could potentially feel silenced by the airtime this is getting. 

A lot of white people from different areas in my life have messaged me to have important conversations about race that we've never had before. That was my intention in writing this post — using a relatable narrative to help fellow white people acknowledge their privilege.

 

Thank those of you for those of you who have seen this and been able to have critical conversations. However, let's please not forget who is actually affected by the campus events this week. 

Hint: It's not me. 

I am returning to my comfortable life in Southern California where I will enjoy a summer of traveling and interning freely as a white woman through South America (which is not without problems of its own). Part of the reason I am able to do that so freely and without fear has deep roots in colonialism, which I need to be challenging within myself each and every day now, both in the U.S. and when I am abroad. 

POC at Colgate were traumatized this week. I was not. That is what should be remembered about what happens at Colgate, not a Facebook status.

#blacklivesmatter

 

This article was originally published at Facebook. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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