Fellow white students: get engaged with diverse issues


photo taken by Amani Canada

As the Trinitonian’s sports editor, I’m not used to writing about my opinion, but I had a really eye-opening experience last week that made me want to speak up.

I’d like to start off by saying that this is about my experience only, and I by no means want to speak for anyone else. What I want is for Trinity’s majority white community to start making more of an effort to learn about the diversity on this campus, and actively engage with fellow students.

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, I went to David Tuttle’s discussion called “Colin Kaepernick, Race, Sports and the National Anthem.” I initially went to accompany my new sports reporter, Saul, and help him write his article about this event, but became more engaged as students opened up to tell their stories about race issues on campus. However, it was hard to ignore the disconnect we all felt.

At this event about an important issue that practically every American has an opinion on, there was a total of 15 people. Every single student, besides my reporter and I, were involved with Trinity’s Black Student Union (BSU), who advised Tuttle and helped him put the event on. They came to this event engaged and excited to discuss their thoughts with their fellow peers, but found nothing but an echo chamber, because not a single student showed up to support the opposing side.

Maybe it’s an issue of the event being held on a Tuesday night, or a lack of advertising, but members of BSU made it pretty clear to me that this has been an ongoing issue for some time now. They put so much hard work and dedication into putting on inclusive events for all students on campus, but lots of people don’t bother to show up or learn more about the black community.

After the Kaepernick event, I talked to BSU adviser Stacey Davidson and BSU president Tahlar Rowe. They told me that they would love to see more people at their events who are curious or hoping to learn more about what’s going on in the black community. There seems to be a perception on our campus that BSU is only for black people and that white people or anyone else isn’t welcome. I don’t know why, clearly every poster they put up on campus says somewhere on it that all people are welcome. But still, they get so few non-black people coming out to their parties, when really all of us should be making a bigger effort to get more engaged with the black community.

Trinity students, especially those of us coming from a place of privilege, spend too much of our time not bothering to care about other people and their experiences if they aren’t related to us in some way.

Dear white Trinity students: I want you to get uncomfortable. I want you be less self-absorbed. I want you to think about your black classmates, who, because of their color of their skin, don’t have a choice about feeling uncomfortable at our majority-white school.

The Kaepernick discussion was the first BSU event I’d gone to in my three years at Trinity. I regret not making more of an effort to learn about BSU in the past, and I can’t stress enough what you’re missing out on if you’re not going to these events. This is such an opportunity to become a more educated, respectful human being.