A Colgate University student recently demonstrated her white privilege via a social media post following the recent campus lockdown in her campus.
Earlier this month, the school gained massive backlash after it placed its campus on lockdown over a black man carrying a glue gun. It was later revealed that the school reacted under false alarm. Students protested against how racial profiling played a part in the whole event, a fact that was later admitted by the campus administrators themselves.
In a Facebook post, Colgate sophomore Jenny Lundt wrote about how being white allowed her to regularly carry a sword around school without attracting police attention. Meanwhile, a black student holding art equipment caused panic, making it necessary to have police dogs track him down.
“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 f**king 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 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. #blacklivesmatter”
The post which featured a photo of Jenny posing with a sword, has been shared over 16,000 times and accumulated more than 24,000 reactions.
She later edited the post, noting that the engagement the post received is further proof of her privilege.
“This post is getting far more shares than I ever imagined. I just want to remind everyone viewing/ sharing this that this narrative is not about me and my feelings. This story and the event that happened last week is about are people of colour that 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 privilege at work.”
She also called upon other white people to “wake up” and “challenge stereotypes”.
“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 own ‘swords’ in your life- with things you could get away with that your friends of colour 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.”
Emphasizing that the post wasn’t about her, she added:
“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, in the US, and when I am abroad. POC [people of colour] at Colgate were traumatized this week. I was not. That is what should be remembered about what happens at Colgate- not a Facebook status.”
Another student, Sahil Gadhavi, shared his own experience to Jenny about the matter via an open letter which Jenny also posted:
“I present the aftermath of the Jenny Lundt facebook post. If you go and see her post, you will see tons of people praising her, showering her with adulations and admiration for being a hero. A true revolutionary who wasn’t afraid to speak the truth and expose the racism that still exists in American society. To those people, I ask, where is this response when you see black men being incarcerated everyday while white men walk free for the same crimes or more? Where is this overpouring of attention when black children are being shot by the police everyday, while your own white children are being raised in the ignorance afforded by their skin? Where is this praise when black activists march up and down the city squares all over the country screaming ‘Black lives matter’ and all they hear back is All lives matter. Where is this immediate acceptance of the truth when I tell people that I have been consistently racially profiled every time I fly in from India, because of the melanin in my skin, my hair, my beard? Why do we face the suspicion while Jenny Lundt gets the praise?”
h/t: The Independent