Spring is here!

Spring has finally sprung! Students sprawl out on luscious green lawns, pouring over Paideia novels, playing indie tunes on the ukulele, throwing frisbees and in my case, writing poetry.

Spring has also welcomed in some new food for thought to blossom inside of my curious brain! A few of my close friends and I have been observing, discussing and reading about white privilege lately. On a predominantly white campus like Luther, this may seem invisible to us. We feel like we’ve earned all our privileges: our scholarships, grades and praise from professors. But in reality, several of these things have practically been handed to us.

I recently heard about a study that was performed on professor mentorship. Researchers wanted to see how often professors responded to students based on race/ethnicity. An identical email message was sent to various professors from a variety of students. Interestingly, professors responded to students with Caucasian-sounding names immediately, while taking much longer to respond to or never responding to non-white students. Reading studies like these has opened my eyes to the fact that minorities battle prejudice on a daily basis. This is suffering that has been swept under the rug for decades that we cannot detect. But once we detect it, I feel it is our job to call it out – whether it is passive or active racism. For society is more likely to lend an ear to a white person.

This has been a scary, uncomfortable journey for me. At the bottom, I will share a poem that embodies how I felt when I was first presented with these ideas. Noticing this discrimination, both active and passive, has become a curse to some degree. But we shouldn’t run away from it. This is our time to embrace it and share it with others. This should be an exciting realization. Even if we’re just willing to talk about it – to spread the word and challenge others to think this way – we are creating more space for minorities to voice their opinion, creating an opportunity to for equal education, recognition and a career.

These are the kinds of conversations I had always dreamt of grappling with in college. Struggling and overcoming – isn’t that push and pull exactly what life’s all about…?

Here, have a poem:

“Too passionate”,

she scolded.

“I’m overwhelmed”,

he cried.

I can’t swallow
those sharp words you speak.
They don’t sink nicely

into the cozy nooks of my brain,

No.
They stab harshly

at places
I once called home.


Daggers fly

from a person

who is not supposed to throw them.

Stumbling backwards,

my fingers find the wall -

daggers still flying.

Frightened,

cringing with discomfort,
I look to my left,

then to my right.

Millions of faces
meet mine.

Fear

embarrassment

confusion

reflect from teary eyes.

And I realize

that the daggers

are heading toward

all of them too.


And all of a sudden

they are not
daggers at all

but photographs

of themselves in a new light,

with a fresh backdrop,

where not only half,

but all

are allowed to be

 “bold” and “aggressive”.


And the person

who was throwing the daggers

was in my cozy home

all along.
I just hadn’t seen her.
She was
the shutters,

the chandaleir,

even the

strong wooden beams

that held up the house.

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{ Return to More posts from Abby's Blog (Student Blogs) for more posts. }

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