University Report: Being a White Student at NU & Confronting Racial Issues is "Uncomfy"
A groundbreaking report released this past week provides an in-depth analysis of how white students at Northwestern feel awkward, squeamish and oddly defensive during conversations about race on campus and in the nation as a whole.
The 1,000-page report, put together by a campus initiative commission in response to a report on black student life at Northwestern in mid-September, offers a multitude of ways to dodge any mention of institutionalized racism, microaggressions, and lack of representation within the community. Additionally, it recommends the creation of a research center to study the effects of seasoning food while cooking and what to do when you’re singing along to a song that has that word in it.
In the report, the White Student Anxiety Task Force discusses the challenge of listening to “really any aspect of any experience” other than their own and recommends students avoid “all issues outside of their comfort zone.” In summary, the report details that although white student satisfaction remains high, white student discomfort with their own satisfaction has skyrocketed.
According to many Caucasians on campus, half-assed resources and vanilla programming centered around diversity have made them feel sufficiently aware of race relations on campus and across the country. One first-year student reported that a single True Northwestern Dialogue had completely expanded his worldview and provided him with the knowledge he needed to not be blatantly prejudiced.
“I met someone who wasn’t white, which was a new and eye-opening experience,” he told a focus group. “Those icebreakers really made me realize our spirit cereals aren’t so different after all.”
For many fraternity and sorority members, the stress of planning mixers and organizing recruitment leaves little room for dialogues around inclusion. Others expressed surprise at the number of black students involved in IFC and PHA affiliates. “I don’t know,” said a Greek student who requested anonymity. “54 seems kind of high to me. Are you sure that number is accurate?”
A final complaint voiced in the landmark report by the White Student Anxiety Task Force was the unfairness of pointing out unfairness. Some voiced questions about the lack of “White House” on campus, while others blamed the “PC culture” the university is trying to foster.
“I don’t feel comfortable with all these people kneeling in their safe spaces during the national anthem,” said Weinberg Junior Billy McKenzie, who reassured us that by “these people,” he was referring to the activist community. “If I don’t share someone else’s experience, why should I hear about it?”
-Urethra Franklin & Mufasa D'Francesco