Letter to the Editor (11/8/19)

I’m writing in regard to the opinion articles posted in last week’s publication about diversity. Lauren Casey’s article titled “The great poster debate” is deeply rooted in white privilege and ignorance. At the end of her article she states, “For those who disapprove with how Gustavus handles diversity, as harsh as it sounds, they didn’t force any student to come here and anyone is free to transfer…” Not only has Casey reduced diversity at Gustavus down to the color of a student’s skin, but she has disregarded the amount of emotional labor it requires to advocate for yourself on a majority white campus. Furthermore, Casey’s article implies: Diversity isn’t an issue for me, so be quiet about it. The privilege one must have to imply that groups of students are “complaining” about systemic injustices is extensive. Reducing the diversity and intersections of human identity down to the color of one’s skin is a way for white people to use persons of color as scapegoats, because we (white people) are unwilling to confront how our whiteness allows us to reap the benefits of systemic injustice in society. As a white student at Gustavus, I see this as a learning opportunity for Lauren Casey and for all other white students. Lauren Casey, I hope you (and all of us at GAC) become more conscious of how our words affect others and can hold each other accountable for what we say. We can’t continue to place the burden of diversity at Gustavus on students of color. We are all responsible for using our privilege to call out each other, faculty, and administration to make this a welcoming place for people of all races, ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities, and abilities.

Thank you.