On Privilege & Penn State

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I am a privileged white female. The way I speak, chew my food, dress, and act is not looked at as a reflection of my race. I can easily obtain makeup and band-aids made for my skin color. The media I consume is dominated by people who look like me, and wherever I go I am not perceived as “different.” I can make a statement saying that I strongly oppose the racism displayed at my school, without it being labeled as “another minority overreacting.” (Though, I will of course be called a bleeding-heart “liberal,” which is cute.)

I am not ashamed to admit that I have benefited in ways I cannot and will not know from being born with white skin. This being said, I would also like to remind everyone that calling the sisters of Chi Omega “sluts” is also derogatory, offensive, and uncalled-for. Call them what they are: culturally ignorant.

When there have been 15 sexual assaults reported on this campus to little reaction, when the experiences of our fellow students are marginalized as being “oversensitive”, the words “We Are” fall flat and dull. Should I utter the words again it will be with pride in the response from my fellow students and the Penn State Community around the world. If we are to be one school, we must emphasize education, and empathy.

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  1. Darian Stansbury on

    “Call them what they are: racist.” You mean. I keep hearing the word ‘ignorance’ thrown around incorrectly. Ignorance means that you unaware of something, it also implies that you are unaware due to no fault of your own. These girls were not ignorant, they were highly aware that were they were doing was offensive, they just didn’t care. That’s called bigotry. Institutionalized White supremacy/privilege enabled them to feel that what they were doing was harmless, and that they were safe from any adverse consequences. This turned out, thankfully, not to be the case, but it’s important, esp. if the community is to recoup a lesson from all this, to articulate the issue accurately.