By now, many students on campus are aware of the article that was published in last week’s CLAP, in which one student (Student A) transcribed a conversation he had with another student (Student B). Specifically, in that conversation, the Student B made a series of highly offensive, racist, and heteronormative remarks, which Student A then published in the CLAP.
I don’t want to use all of my column space describing the background of this incident. I will say that since last Friday, there has been significant (and justified) outrage on campus. More importantly, though, there has been a significant response geared towards productive action to truly raise awareness of the many forms of discrimination on campus. This action includes the rapid organization of tomorrow’s rally, “Raw and Real: Facilitating Conversations about Discrimination,” which will be held outside of Sayles. The purpose of the rally is to provide “a safe space for personal testimonies and reflections to be read, spoken, or submitted anonymously, all of which represent sentiments concerning various forms of discrimination from the Carleton community.”
This is something that desperately needs to happen at Carleton.
As a white, middle-class female at Carleton, I haven’t personally experienced discrimination, but I have most certainly witnessed it--on basis of race, class, gender, religion, and even sexual orientation --perpetrated against friends and fellow students. Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes unintentional, but it’s something that definitel happens at Carleton. And, more importantly, it’s a topic that students and administrators alike are reluctant to acknowledge. The vast majority of us would rather push theses issues aside and pretend that everything is fine.
I don’t think that the majority of Carleton students are prejudiced--I really don’t. I think that the vast majority of Carleton students are respectful and open, but aren’t always fully aware of their own privilege and how that comes across. I honestly want to believe that if most students here were made more aware of their actions, they would make a conscious effort to change their actions, and to be more aware. But in order for this to happen, we need to acknowledge the issue. More importantly, we need to listen. For those of us who have not experienced significant discrimination ourselves --myself included--our job is to listen, not get defensive. As a journalist, I listen, and I write. This rally won’t solve all of our problems, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Coverage of the rally will follow next week.