By: Cullen McIntyre, Editor-in-Chief
When sitting down to write the Letter From the Editor for the Black History Month special issue, I had originally thought to leave it blank. How could I, a white male at the age of 20 be able to speak on behalf of a race that has dealt with things I will never have to face in my lifetime. I realized that was foolish, and would be the wrong decision.
A quote that stuck out to me for writing this comes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people the silence over that by the good people.” These words struck as it put me in a place to realize why I must write about my privilege, and stand by those whose voices are put down by those with my skin color.
White silence during these times hurts more than one may think. I recently had the chance to interview a student advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion here on campus. A topic that resonated with me was that all of these people attended the protests during the heat of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement this past summer, but once the protests were over everyone went back to their normal lives.
It’s the tough conversations with friends, family and loved ones that make the real difference. Challenging your close ones on why the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is something they don’t agree with is important. Try to understand why they feel the way that they do, but help them understand why the movement is incredibly important.
A common misconception or term used by those opposed to the BLM movement is that “all lives matter.” Nobody is saying that all lives don’t matter, they are simply emphasizing the phrase Black Lives Matter because at this moment in time they aren’t being treated fairly. This term is a weak opposition to BLM, because there simply is no reasonable way to oppose the concept of BLM.
Speaking on these issues with those around you shouldn’t be hard. It’s 2021, racism should no longer have a voice. Standing beside those combating racism while promoting diversity, inclusivity and equity shouldn’t be a challenging decision, it should be an incredibly simple one.
We are all human, we all deserve the same chances and opportunities in life. There should be no advantages or disadvantages based on the color of your skin. We live in a world where white privilege is prevalent but unacknowledge by those living in it. These privileges have granted me an easier life than most, and I hope to use my privilege to empower the voiceless.
Silence is complicity. Educate yourself and those around you on the matters of privilege. Learn and understand why and what is being advocated for within these movements. For those that can only see one side, expand your horizons. We are in a time where change is imperative, and it’s coming. There shouldn’t have to be a fight for equality, it should be a basic right.