Sadly, we live in times where police officers can routinely discriminate against people of color and use excessive, sometimes even lethal, force yet manage to get away scot free, whereas an African American student who someone assumed was holding a weapon could shut down an entire university, leaving thousands scared for their lives.
In yet another display of systemic racism, a black student at Colgate University, a private liberal arts college in Hamilton, New York, induced panic among his peers and faculty by carrying a hot glue gun on campus. The administration immediately asked its students to take shelter and word spread there were two gunmen on campus, and one had committed suicide.
None of it turned out to be true.
The entire ordeal must have been traumatic for many, particularly the minority students, which is why the incident prompted a sophomore to share a social media post demonstrating her white privilege and how institutionalized racism continues to be a major problem.
In her now-viral Facebook post, Jenny Lundt not just talked about the phenomenon but actually went a step ahead and shared her own picture, which showed her carrying a sharp metal sword, to explain how racial profiling works.
"This is me, only one year ago on this very campus, running around the academic quad with a f****** sharp metal sword,” she began. “People thought it was funny. People laughed — oh look at that harmless, silly white girl with a giant sword!”
Lundt then talked about how “limited information” didn't just shut down her college for over four hours, it also put “all black men on this campus in danger and at risk of being killed.”
“That is the reality of the institutionalized racism in the United States. If you think for even a second this wasn't profiling, ask yourself why this sword is still in my room and has not ONCE made anyone uncomfortable,” she continued. “No one has EVER called the police on me. Understand that there are larger forces at play than this one night, and this one instance of racism. This is engrained in our university and our larger society.”
Once her post started drawing attention, the student decided to use her internet fame to educate white people how they can take a stand against the plague of racial discrimination.
“To those white people that are seeing this, use this as an opportunity and wake up call to confront the privilege in your own life," she wrote. "Have these conversations and find the own 'swords' in your life... things you could get away with that your friends of color could not. There are many white people on this post trying to suppress the voices of others with comments such as 'all lives matter' or 'white privilege doesn't exist.' CHALLENGE THAT. fight back. And not just on this post, but in real life. Challenge racist jokes. Challenge stereotypes and hold your white friends accountable.”
It was a great effort on Lundt’s part and drew many positive reactions.
white people using their privilege to educate, a concept! pic.twitter.com/6ugbTtxSOH— con(no)r (@ctfuconnor) May 12, 2017
However, some not only disagreed with her statement but also challenged the existence of white privilege.
Some people of color were also — and rightfully so — upset that others only started responding to the issue of white privilege after a white person wrote about it.
Lundt later updated her post to share the words of a Sahil Gadhavi, who published an open letter addressed to her.
"Where is this over-pouring of attention when black children are being shot by the police everyday, while your own white children are being raised in the ignorance afforded by their skin?" he asked. "Where is this praise when black activists march up and down the city squares all over the country screaming 'black lives matter' and all they hear back is 'all lives matter'"?
According to a report published in American Journal of Public Health, police are nearly three times more likely to kill black men than their white counterparts.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters