In February 2017, I fiercely rapped on my keyboard, “Acknowledging the mockery of democracy that is federal government officials is becoming a social cock block.” With irritation rushing over me, I wrote a sloppy excuse on refusing to talk about our current political state. However, half a year later, I have a confession- I was wrong.
Flipping through Instagram in the wake of Charlottesville, I stopped on a photo of a text. “I want my friends to understand that ‘staying out of politics’ or being ‘sick of politics’ is privilege in action. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake”.
I never felt my stomach drop faster. Politics were not the problem when I wrote the column. It was my ignorance. I would not have people rallying against me or threatening me for just existing. I’m white and privileged, and I am sorry.
Privilege is a problem that plagues us in the most evil of ways. It’s all we know, and even if it isn’t intentional, it hurts our community as a whole in a big way. I can never understand what my friends of color go through, and my past opinion proves to be an easy way of saying “I don’t want to fight for you”.
I am writing my first column of the year about this because I am truly in regret for ever making such a bold, heinous statement. Looking back, it was as if I dangled my privilege in front of my peers, unaware of the problem. I will do better, and I hope to show with empathy that I am here to fight for those whose voices I may have turned away from in the past.
It’s tough to admit you are wrong, but it is necessary to be progressive. I know I’m not alone in these past ideologies, either. Elmhurst breeds this privilege in many students, even in some people of color. For example, what happened in Charlottesville didn’t cause a rouse on our campus. If we are not going to stand up because it did not directly affect our campus, then our privilege is silencing those who are in need.
People are getting hurt, whether it’s through hateful events or the decisions of our nation’s leaders. A majority of us aren’t responding because we are not able to perceive what it’s like to have actual issues based on our privilege.
The best solution to this is to be active and stop taking the path of least resistance. We have been taught to always take the route that favors us, which might mean to stay silent or to just disregard political rhetoric.
To step out and take a stand for our disadvantaged peers is a way of using our privilege to good use for once. Our voices are loud, and need to be heard for those who are repressed, on and off this campus.
Those who say Elmhurst is diverse aren’t looking more than skin deep. This community is plagued with an infectious silence that is only allowing our frothy, political rage to boil over.