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  • G

    goldcoastsailorOct 2, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Hey, red hair used to be a blackballable offense,

  • T

    The Milk ManApr 26, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and they like its better than yours…damn right it is.

  • M

    Mr.SpontaniousApr 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    O so if I don’t know the history behind rap music I can’t listen to rap music. OK. I understand.

  • K

    Kanye WestApr 18, 2013 at 1:11 am

    I think George Bush, Jr. is to blame here. He hates black people!

  • M

    Megan BertaApr 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    1. After a paragraph detailing the rise of HBGLO as a response to discrimination and marginalization, Asha ends by saying: “After being denied from historically white Greek letter organizations stepping was something that Historically Black Greek Letter Organizations could have something that was solely theirs.” In the next paragraph she says, “So that’s why I found it offensive and alarming when step, a historical part of these organizations was used as a part of an act for a contest.” This implies that there is a line of thought being followed to its conclusion. In the way Asha sets up this argument, despite her best intentions, makes a claim that seems like “This is black culture, and white people can’t have it.” By representing a culture, this gives others who do not represent the same culture to have less authority when discussing the issue and making the discussion ultimately weighted in one side’s favor. I think in order to have a fruitful discussion about this issue, it needs to explicitly stated as to why it is so offensive to Asha and whoever else was offended by the performance when others who also identify as African American were not offended (such as Lori Jones previously mentioned in a comment).

    2. “It was only afterwards when surrounded some Social Justice involved people that they reaffirmed me that I wasn’t crazy for seeing their actions as problematic and offensive to my history.” In this quote, Asha implies that there is authority simply from being one of those “Social Justice” people. I think that perhaps reaffirming from more than one group would be a better way to confirm the problematic nature of the act.

    3. “I explained a little of this in the forumbut the problem with wearing an Afro wig or stepping is you’re using someone’s culture as a funny tidbit in your piece.” It is the use of culture as a joke, according to this, that makes it offensive. However, in the case where African American musicians were gaining prominence in the 70s and an organization’s wish to demonstrate this, does this remain a joke and thereby offensive?

    Asha is incredibly brave to speak out against what she feels is offensive and
    inappropriate, and my respect for her has grown because of it. She speaks with authority that obviously ruffled feathers. In order to take this conversation further,
    what exactly has offended needs to be stated explicitly and openly by any who
    felt this way. We also need to decide if this is a communal issue. Is this an
    instance of institutional racism? Or is this a moment where individual
    sensitivity lends to the degree of the offense?

    Thanks again, Asha.

    Sincerely yours,
    Megan Berta

  • K

    Katie McHughApr 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Just to clarify: Anyone who hasn’t seen their post show up, email us at [email protected] or [email protected], or email me personally. Any student with anything else to say is welcome to submit an opinion piece of 700 to 1000 words by tomorrow at 5 PM. Anyone else is welcome to submit a Letter to the Editor of 300 to 400 words, same deadline. Thanks.

  • G

    GuestApr 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

    ON SECOND THOUGHT, I totally agree. It’s always bothered me a little bit when all of you regular Christians eat potatoes, a symbol of Irish Catholic enslavement and starvation under British rule, just like how stepping is a symbol of HBGLOs getting put down by the man and 100% exclusive to their group.

  • G

    Grant RauchApr 17, 2013 at 4:48 am

    “…civility is the conduct of a person whose individual self-consciousness has been partly superseded by his [or her] collective self-consciousness…..[it] treats others as, at least, equal in dignity, never inferior in dignity.” –Edward Shils

    I believe that this notion has been forgotten as of late, ironically by a campus that often advertises its ‘inclusivity’ and ‘civility’. Now, cutting through the high-minded bullshit, the discourse on this article is disgraceful at best; disgusting at its worst. I think there are numerous issues with both this article and the critiques of it, but that does not stop me from acknowledging the fact that I may be wrong on any number of those points and that when exposed to our “collectivity” here on campus, they will be legitimately become subject to criticism at every level. The few civil comments here have become exceptions to the rest rather than models for them. Civility is a give and receive process but it seems that here there is far more giving than receiving. Most of these comments serve no purpose other than self-gratification, self-indulgence, and self-reaffirmation. These elements are useless for constructive civil discourse. All they’ve procured so far is outrage and cynicism accompanied by sneers and contempt. If that’s the kind of “conversation” you want, then so be it. However, I’d recommend that no matter what your perspective may be, you take a step back and evaluate yourself before evaluating your peers. Then entertain the notion that they are “equal in dignity” before engaging with them in conversation. Don’t take my word for it though–what the hell do I know?

  • D

    Dan KochikApr 17, 2013 at 3:06 am

    I want to commend you for voicing your opinion and your beliefs. You have exercised a necessary right that we Americans take for granted often. Although I may find myself on the opposing side of this debate at times, it is fundamental that your voice be heard. This is important in both analyses of our own actions as a community, as well as our prevention of future events that offend others.
    I applaud your article and your courage. It takes a lot of initiative to challenge things when one feels harmed by the actions of others. It is imperative that we continue to come together as a community to address the needs of ALL students, and this certainly is no exception.
    Benjamin Franklin stated in 1722, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech…” This quote goes on, but I think it is reflection-worthy on this forum.
    It is imperative that we do not hold contempt for those who oppose our opinions, but rather embrace their thoughts and debate their points logically and rationally. However, do not back down from your beliefs and always challenge others in this capacity.
    I hope that this article promotes the changes that you seek. Good luck with your future endeavors.

  • L

    Larissa CardApr 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I find it a tad ironic that so many white commentors have managed to skillfully, and without any effort or self-reflection, hijack the original purpose of this article in the interest of broadcasting their own victimhood. Nah, guys. We don’t have a race problem. Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. Obviously. Relax.. Lawl.

    Just sayin’.

  • A

    Asha A. Satiah AlexanderApr 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I’m only going to comment once, because I wrote the article and thus started the conversation, I never said “white people shouldn’t step”. I said that its offensive and hypocritical to me that Greek Life at Allegheny used stepping in their pieces because of their lack of understanding about where it comes from and why its important to HBGLOs. I also think its hypocritical that people think that HBGLOs are racist or are empowering segregation but using a historically important part of these organizations that you deny is ok. Also in no way was I pushing my agenda, I love how everyone (or most) is using anonymity to hide themselves. I’m not a scary person if you want to talk to me please do, but don’t assume my character by an opinion piece. I’ve never pledged on this campus and don’t intend to, so please stop assuming my whole opinion piece was about me being bitter about not getting a bid. Good day! 🙂

  • A

    Allegheny WomanApr 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I totally support the desire for HBGLOs that this article eventually expressed, but what’s wrong with the white sororities incorporating step dancing in the routine? There was a step team at my private, predominantly white high school, and it was pretty well-mixed racially–white girls, black girls, latinas, Asians. No one ever complained that the white girls were stepping. I’ve always seriously admired step dancing more than just about any other kind of dancing, and thought it was well-done in SAMs. I feel like saying whites shouldn’t be allowed to step because it was developed by HBGLOs as an expression of their culture is like saying anyone of color shouldn’t attempt country music because it was developed by rural whites as an expression of their culture, but hey, Darius Rucker is pretty damn successful. The stepping wasn’t associated with the offensive wig and it wasn’t supposed to be funny–it was supposed to be attention-grabbing choreography, something different from what the sororities usually do.

  • M

    Matt DeMichieiApr 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I think there are a lot of things in this article that we as a campus need to have more open discussion about, and its obvious based on the comments that white privilege is an idea that most white people don’t agree with or understand. However, I don’t agree with the fact that the Greek community was singled out.

    Inherently, there is inherently no part of Greek life that favors whites or discriminates against any other race. We don’t join Greek organizations because we want to join a system with a history of being white and straight. We join it because we enjoy the company of the people in our Greek organizations and because we see the good that Greek life does on campus and want to be a part of it. Yes, throughout the 20th century Greek organizations were very racially exclusive, which is why the need arose for HBGL organizations in the first place. However, there is nothing in our bylaws that state that we as Greek organizations should treat anyone differently based on race. That may seem obvious, but when the discussion of Greek life comes up, people always seem to make the assumption that Greek life as a whole is more influenced by white privilege than the rest of campus.

    I understand why this article was written about Greek life. Obviously the things that upset you happened at an event where Greek organizations were the chief participants and the acts were perpetuated by members of Greek life. However, here is nothing about us as Greeks that makes us any different from the rest of the campus in terms of white privilege. Sure, there are many members of Greek life that don’t believe that white privilege exists and vehemently oppose discussions like this one, but there are also members of Greek life (myself included) that want to acknowledge these issues when they arise and make this campus more inclusive for everyone. Greek life isn’t its own separate entity. Our ideals as a whole are not any different than the campus itself. We all come from different walks of life and every element of this campus is represented somewhere. Its very unfair to say that something that some members of Greek life did is indicative of the nature of Greek life as a whole. If a member of the men’s soccer team had worn an Afro wig in the athlete’s talent show, we wouldn’t be having a discussion about how Allegheny’s sports teams need to think more about white privilege. We would be talking about how we as a campus need to think about white privilege, which is how it should be.

    There are some ways in which Greek life needs to be more inclusive to minorities, but this is not one of those ways. The Greek system isn’t perfect. By merit of its roots in the late 19th century, its incredibly unfriendly to transgender students. There isn’t a place in fraternities for women who identify as men, which is a real problem, but its a problem that we’re working on. We want to create a system as open and inviting as possible to people of all colors, religions, sexual orientations, etc., but unfair attacks on Greek life like this are very detrimental and only serve to create division between Greek life and the rest of campus. This is a great thing for us as a campus to discuss, but to slander Greek life in the process is a serious injustice.

    • J

      John WattApr 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      While I agree with most of what Matt has to say, I’d beg to differ that this article is an “unfair attack on Greek Life.” It seems obvious that Asha is indeed endorsing a campus-wide conversation on the topic; the fact that this incident occurred at a primarily Greek event is the only reason why this conversation emerge at the Greek Life forum. As a member of The Greek community, I think that it’s very important for those involved in Greek life to differentiate between outside commentary on Greek Life, which can be very conductive to dialogue, and a hostile “attack” on Greek Life.

      • M

        Matt DeMichieiApr 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm


        Maybe attack was the wrong word. My issue with what Asha is saying, both at the forum and here in this article, is that she’s presenting her ideas in a way that single out Greek life as being worse than the rest of the Allegheny community in this particular regard. So like I said, attack isn’t necessarily the right word, but Greek life IS being targeted here in a way that is not fair. The issue of white privilege is being presented as being more prevalent in Greek life than it is in the rest of the community, which is just simply untrue. We should be having a discussion on eliminating white privilege in our community, but its very clear from the way that Asha makes her argument that she is under the impression that the Greek community is less aware than everyone else and I take issue with that.

        • A

          Annie KrolApr 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm

          Don’t put words into Asha’s mouth. Greek life is no better or worse than anyone else, and should be forthcoming enough to accept a well-meaning criticism.

          • M

            Matt DeMichieiApr 16, 2013 at 11:34 pm

            I’m really not putting words into anyone’s mouth.

            “I hope that Greek Life at Allegheny really looks into the way they present themselves and their organizations.”

            I want to have a civil discussion and not have this turn in to a debate, but let’s not act like this article isn’t about how white privilege is rampant in Greek life in particular. I appreciate hearing criticism on Greek life, but this issue is not an issue with Greek life. This is an issue with our entire community, which Greek life is being targeted for.

            Like I said, I don’t see this as an attack on Greek life, but I do feel that this discussion is being focused on Greek life in a way that is not fair to the Greek community. This article could have been, should have been, about the problems that we have with white privilege as a school and a community. Instead it focuses narrowly on Greek life and creates division instead of discussion.

            I don’t believe that Asha is looking to attack Greek life in any way, but many people have said in this comment section that intent is not important. Impact is. That goes both ways.

        • J

          John WattApr 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm


          Let me elaborate my point. While the organizations that Asha has specifically taken issue with are indeed Greek organizations, the point of the article (at least according to my interpretation) isn’t to single out Greek Life as a specific beacon of white-privilege, but simply as an example of one of many institutions on this campus that would benefit greatly from increased discourse on the subject. To quote the article directly, “All organizations in order to be progressive, inclusive, and fair have to have reoccurring conversations about privilege in all capacities, especially white privilege.” In this specific circumstance, a Greek organization was used as an example, but it could have just as easily been an athletic team, or some other student organization. The point that the article leads to is that all organizations should be aware of and discuss white privilege.

          Sorry about the vent, but one of the issues that has been bothering me personally about not only Asha’s article but the Greek Life forum in general has been the extremely defensive nature in which many members of Greek Life, and in specific IFC and Pan-Hel, have responded to commentary on Greek Life made by non-Greeks. As a friend of the organizers of the Greek Life forum, I was aware of the initial opposition to the event by IFC and Pan-Hel, and even when the event went on as planned I felt that most of the people who attended came only to defend their organization from a percieved “attack” by outsiders. This attitude that such forums are unnecessary and that all commentary made about Greek Life by non-Greeks are personal attacks is highly dangerous. If Greek Life hopes to adapt at all to a more enlightened world than the one it was founded in, it must be prepared to welcome outside criticism.

          If my point wasn’t made clear enough, I want to clarify that this isn’t an “attack” against IFC, Pan-Hel, or any member of Greek Life. This is just something that has been bugging me and that I’ve wanted to get off my chest. If I’m in any way incorrect with my statements, please don’t hesitate to inform me.

          • J

            John WattApr 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm

            Also, I just want to comment that I’m really excited about this discourse… even if it is on an internet comment board.

          • A

            Asha A. Satiah AlexanderApr 16, 2013 at 11:47 pm

            I said I wasn’t going to comment again but…all of the yes John Watt, thank you.

          • F

            freedombelieverApr 17, 2013 at 12:24 am

            So it’s ok if you, Asha, are offended and feel hurt by a wig and it’s not ok if Matt is offended and hurt by your comments toward greek life? Ya, ok. I am losing so much respect for you.

          • A

            Annie KrolApr 17, 2013 at 12:25 am

            Big loss.

          • F

            freedombelieverApr 17, 2013 at 12:26 am

            Ya, it wasn’t too hard.

          • M

            Matt DeMichieiApr 17, 2013 at 1:01 am


            While I appreciate your support, I’d prefer if we try to keep things civil. Attacking people like that doesn’t lead to anything productive.

          • M

            Matt DeMichieiApr 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

            John, I started typing something out before I saw your post here, but I kind of addressed this there. To reiterate the point that I had there, I understand that this was not written expressly to attack Greek life, but the fact that I felt singled out and slandered to begin with is the problem. The article seemed to me to single out Greek life as a vessel for white privilege, and that is counterproductive to the discussion of equality on this campus.

          • J

            John WattApr 17, 2013 at 1:00 am

            I currently cannot think of anything else to say without repeating myself, but my position stands. Greek Life, like any institution, has its faults, but there is a clear difference between critical analysis of those faults and outright slander. Mad respect for placing your real name next to your opinions though. Those posting anonymous posts critical of this article should take a lesson from Matt.

          • M

            Matt DeMichieiApr 17, 2013 at 1:05 am

            Thanks John. Respect to you too, as always. This is proving to be a productive discussion.

  • A

    Alicia MarieApr 16, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Only thing I really disagree with in the article is being upset about people who aren’t black performing step dancing.
    I truly believe that all forms of dance should be free to anyone and everyone who wants to learn~although they should be aware of where these dances come from.
    Other than that, yeah, I get it. Sounds like she’s just asking for awareness.

    You can’t talk about inclusiveness and not talk about privilege and awareness. You just can’t. It comes hand in hand.
    (This is coming from someone who is half-white/half-black, and I don’t identify as either~I identify as both)

  • J

    JohnApr 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    As a
    member of society that most people would put in the “Curly Haired”
    section of society, I, too, was gravely offended at the sight of other people
    not only wearing a wig that displayed fake curly hair, but also having the
    audacity to put fake curls *into* their hair. That is a huge disrespect toward
    my people, and I would hope that in the future, people could refrain from such
    crass actions.

    See, I can make issues up too. But here is my first real issue with your
    opinion and article; not only did you become disgusted and appalled at a group
    of women who were obviously trying to idolize and portray a generation of music
    with the typical things of the day (just like they did with the other
    generations/genres), but you were offended when they began to Step on stage?
    I’m sorry, is that something that is exclusively for the black community? Is
    that not the same as saying “Only white, upper class males can golf”
    (Really was pulling for ya in the Masters, Tiger)? Should I refrain from
    listening to/performing Jazz, Rap, and Reggae on the basis that these are
    historically of black origins? Should the single white kid who rapped at the
    talent show be chastised? Should the two kids who performed country music be
    chastised because they aren’t truly from the South? Should I be barred from
    listening to a black rapper or jazz performer, only allowed to listen to Kenny
    G and Eminem because they are white? By your logic, yes! And that is the first
    issue with your argument.

    You are correct, no one did think that the action of wearing a wig/stepping was
    outrageous or offensive. Why, you may ask? Well simply because (despite what
    you may believe deep down) they are not so concerned with *anyone’s*
    race/color/beliefs/etc. that they put it on the forefront of everything they
    do. They go out to an event that is for charity and put on a good show and have
    a damn good time. The people who continue to bring “problems” to the
    forefront of this community are constantly looking for *anything* to point at
    and call insensitive/racist/sexist, and that ruins *everything.* I mean, SAMS
    was what… a month or two ago? Why does something that was so great (raising
    so much money for MS research!) have to be put under the same scrutiny that
    people go through for being openly racist? That’s not fair to anyone, nor is it
    right for you to use these situations for you to attempt to advance your
    schedule of getting an All-Black Fraternity/Sorority on this campus.

    Ahh, the Greek Forum. An opportunity for non-Greek members to come and talk to
    Greek members. You put it under fire for only six non-Greek members being
    there, as if that is Greek Life’s fault (I’m just interpreting your words, as
    you/others have interpreted many of our – Greek Life’s – actions, i.e.
    Sweetheart positions are inherently sexist). You voiced your opinion, and I’m
    glad you did so, and I was really hoping for more non-Greek members to come to
    the discussion. I just want to take a moment to address the subject of inclusivity
    and diversity. Number one (as many people have pointed out), most, if not all,
    of the organizations on this campus are multicultural and have members of both sexual
    orientations. The argument that Greek Life (which, to your credit, you do not
    specifically address) is not inclusive and “racist” is just wrong and
    incorrect. Number two, Greek Life has a tradition of being selective. We do not
    have to just let anyone in, and, just as someone else in this thread has
    mentioned, do *not* ever have to let someone in. Period. End of discussion. If
    you fail to impress Sorority X or Fraternity Y, you will not get a bid. Simple
    as that. That being said, I find it *extremely* unbelievable that people would
    believe that there has ever been a situation where someone has been denied a bid
    because they were not white, or were gay/lesbian/trans/etc.

    Approbation? Really? Do we need to ask the permission of any culture to perform
    something that they coined? That is absolutely preposterous, and this
    discussion/opinion/whatever this is just so… Off the wall. I honestly cannot
    fathom how anyone could ever think that people are doing these things to be
    racist/insensitive, and on top of that, some would demand (looking at you,
    comments section) an apology because it’s the effect that the actions has that
    matters. I will not apologize for any organization, nor expect them to be guilted
    into something (again, we go back to the Fiji Sweetheart situation)

    • N

      NickApr 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      I was under the impression that Greek organizations were “very unfriendly” to those who identify as trans.

  • J

    JoelApr 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    So you are upset because “historically white greek letter organizations”, a term that you coined to define a group of people by their skin color, should not be allowed to perform step or wear a wig? As a diverse, minority member of a Greek organization at Allegheny, I am embarrassed by the double standard that you clearly hold against others.

    Restricting any ethnic group from doing anything because of their skin color is, by definition, absolutely racist.

    The performance should have been judged on its quality, not on the color of the performer’s skin.

  • S

    Steven ThomasApr 16, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I’d like to restart this discussion on a philosophical basis, by returning to the very origin and working from there.

    There is a lot of reactionism from many of the white students here and it seems that they are misunderstanding what is going on: they feel attacked because of the acknowledgement of white privilege and are thus missing the point of the article.

    Let us begin by deconstructing what we have to work with.

    Tenet 1: Asha was insulted by the act of donning a wig and the use of step dancing by a sorority in the SAMS Lip Sync competition.

    What most people seem to be implying here is that Asha is upset because a white student approached something that she identifies as “her” culture and seem to think that this is an exclusionary act, drawing out some sort of claim that could be simplified into “white people aren’t allowed to represent other cultures because it is not their native culture and they have no justifiable ability to do so.” This thought would be akin to saying: “people of ethnicities not strictly European and particularly British) are not allowed to perform Shakespeare because it would be a cultural disrespect to tradition, and would be massively insulting.” (I do not agree with this model of thought whatsoever.) This thought is then being dismissed as racism (which, denying a particular race a freedom and making a sweeping generalization about it is very much a racist move) and being used to discredit Asha’s status of being insulted. We cannot judge whether it is “reasonable” for someone to be insulted. That is absurd. The problem is, we seem to think one person’s insult automatically justifies a particular act as unacceptable. (I am not claiming that this act WAS acceptable, simply drawing out the conclusions to their fullest extent.) We must acknowledge that being insulted is a person predilection. What this does allow us to do, however, is determine whether the action itself was insulting and for what reason, not examine Asha’s reaction and determine whether it was appropriate.

    What seems much more likely to me is that this is not an act of “racism” against whites excluding them from the use of other cultures, but instead an offense being taken because of a trivialization and misrepresentation of culture. Using a particular culture as a “bit” instead of an honorable representation is a very difficult issue. We can say that it is only acceptable for a person of that culture to “make fun” in that way, but then we arrive in the same mire of exclusivity and lines that are drawn resulting in a functional but unpleasant mode of separation, fundamentally leading us to an inflexible concept of identity and an inability to merge and enjoy other cultures without being insincere. This leaves us in a cultural stasis that is highly uncomfortable.

    If we move forward from the idea of insult and we can assume that the problem is representation, we can find our second tenet.

    2: Misrepresenting a group is Racist and Insulting

    I’m not sure there’s much to say about this. If this is not evident, I’m not sure this discussion can even take place. The question becomes, however, what is misrepresentation? That would require a solidified group identity, essentially giving into stereotypes and filing into a mold. It is clear that generalizations are important (but also massively problematic) to the way humans understand the world. We group ourselves and others, because understanding the world as a collection of individual bits is entirely incomprehensible. But clearly, within each group, there is individuality and movement. Claiming that anything is inherently of a group is a sort of self-determined stereotype, and in a disturbing way, classifying yourself in a culture is a sort of self-inflicted racism. The problem becomes when we see a group, with which we identify, is represented in a way that we are uncomfortable with. When nerds are represented as socially inept, I find it massively insulting (classifying myself as such). This is a poor and weak example in comparison to the unchangeable physical differences that people of color face, but I am extending for all of my privileged friends here who seem to fail to understand. What we see here is intentional comedic misrepresentation (in Asha’s opinion). We should use this time to examine how we use other cultures; do we trivialize them and denigrate them? If so we are enforcing a white norm. But further we must consider what determines misrepresentation, since it is an individually determined process.

    Logically, I’d like to construct a syllogism.

    Donning the wig and performing step dance was not done in a respectable manner, and was thus a misrepresentation of a group: being a member of the misrepresented group, Asha took insult. The insult is then directly linked to the action.

    It is unfair to question the validity or magnitude of the insult; instead we can only determine whether the supposed misrepresentation was in fact denigrating or demeaning. Here is where the ebate gets murky and the waters of discussion flow: does intent matter? Do we have the capability of emulating any other culture while still being true to their nature?

    I think this is really where the discussion lies.

    Personally, I feel that we (as humans) are capable of representing other cultures in a respectful manner and are capable of using traditional features of other cultures in a beneficial and world-expanding manner. This is a fundamental part of cultural exchange. I do not, however, find it acceptable to denigrate another culture by reducing it to a joke (I cannot confirm nor deny whether this was the case). This is fundamentally prejudiced and negative action.

    (I apologize for making hypothetical conclusions; I made them for the sake of discussion only. And good job having the courage to write this article, Asha.)

  • P

    Peter BudzowskiApr 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I like this phrase “cultural appropriation.” It sounds like a conveniently condensed version of “you _______s had better stop acting like us _______s.” So quick, someone call Jackie Robinson and Eric Clapton and tell them to knock off playing the White Man’s Game and the Black Man’s Music! Get on the horn with Japan and Korea and let ’em know that we don’t appreciate their use of the Chinese Man’s Written Language! And as for YOU, Greek Life…you best stop steppin’.

    • A

      Annie KrolApr 17, 2013 at 12:21 am

      Hey, Pete, so glad you took the time out of your busy adult life to come back to our humble paper’s page with your best attempts at pragmatism. Didn’t you graduate three years ago? Are you going to move on, or are you simply content to continue to be a parody of yourself? Once again, you’re missing the point, deliberately twisting an argument you don’t understand, all because you’re still insulted about the “eracist chess” incident. Time to get a life! Surely you have something better to do than belittle the experiences of PoC at Allegheny. I would explain the real meaning of appropriation, but as you seem determined to continue to steep yourself in your privilege and refuse to acknowledge any real truths, I kind of think it’s a waste of my time.

      • F

        freedombelieverApr 17, 2013 at 12:23 am

        Wow, Annie. I think you should take a step back and realize how intolerant you are being of other peoples opinions on the article.

        • A

          Annie KrolApr 17, 2013 at 12:25 am

          I’m intolerant of ignorance alone. And speak for yourself.

        • G

          GuestApr 17, 2013 at 1:13 am

          Why did my comment get deleted? I said I am intolerant of ignorance alone.

    • Q

      Quentin TarantinoApr 17, 2013 at 1:31 am

      Hey, Pete, this is auteur filmmaker and foot fetishist Quentin Tarantino. As a socially accepted member of the Fraternity of Black Culture, it’s my moral responsibility to step in here and tell you to get a life and stop jacking it. If you’ve seen any of my movies, particularly last year’s Academy Award-winning Jango Unleashed, you would know that racism concerns only those directly affected by it. Instead of belittling the Pirates of the Caribbean, maybe it’s time you grew up and invested in a more adult film franchise, like my own filmography. I know letting go of the past can be painful, but one lost chess game can’t compare to the pain I feel every time I see punks like you walking down the street misappropriating my cultures all to hell. But hey, enjoy your post-postmodern ironic simulacrum; I’ll be out in the trenches ENDING SLAVERY.

  • K

    Ken M.Apr 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    If all groups are inclusive, then wouldn’t it just be one giant club?

  • A

    Annie KrolApr 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I am disgusted by the anonymous, hateful commentators on this thread. If you are going to say something honest and hurtful, then own up to it, you cowards. I am disgusted that Emily Cherry and Katie Beck tried to post feedback and their comments were censored by those who run this website. Asha, you are my hero, and I thank you for your story of hurt. Anytime a person tries to point out the subtle racism and sexism perpetuated by this institution, they are personally attacked and demonized. Thanks for taking that on.

    The way students experience Allegheny life is tinted dramatically by their color, gender, physical abilities, sexuality, and class. “privilege” implies that you do not have to think about these identities and how they shape our experiences because they do not negatively affect you the way they do others. If someone is brave enough to come forward and tell you that what you did at an event hurt their feelings, then why on earth would you silence and shame them? If we are a culture of civility here, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to ensure that the rest of us feel included and cared for? Where is your civility? And why do y’all keep bringing up the KKK? (There is an active KKK chapter 15 minutes south of us, btw). If you only think racism is the obvious intent to be racist, then you clearly do not understand what the concept of racism entails. I have the privilege of not having to think about my whiteness, because I don’t see anyone using it as a basis for comedy or subtle discriminations. I don’t experience real microaggressions towards my whiteness the way I do for my queerness or female identity. But I am Asha’s friend, and if I hurt her without meaning to, I wouldn’t attack her for coming to voice about her hurt or anger. Listen and learn, don’t turn yourself into the victim.

    • A

      Angela AdusahApr 17, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Her point is that racism still exists. Hate group 15 minutes away from campus = existence. Racism is “normalized” through humor so often that people think others cannot get offend. But in actuality, people do. Asha did. And instead of saying “We didn’t mean to offend you. Sorry if we did; we mean no harm. Tell me how it offended you so that next time we avoid such an occasion,” people began insulting her. She has made herself extremely vulnerable to the entire campus as a sophomore (pretty balsy) by express herself and instead of correcting the miscommunication, people began kicking her while she was already down. Never ok .

      And by the way, doesn’t it scare you that there is a hate group 15 mins from campus? Oh wait, no because they don’t hate you. They hate and want to kill me and people who look like me. They hate my every existence because of my complexion. The fact that you attempted to point out the irrelevance of mentioning the KKK rather than realizing with sensitivity the nastiness and scariness of the proximity of this hate group, whose very essence advocates racism, is a clear example of how normalized racism is. Most white people don’t have to worry about a hate group residing 15 min away…but I do, my parents do, my brother does and the rest of my ebony friends do. That’s a sad reality for me and others like me. And mockery of the things we love about ourselves doesn’t always seem funny to us. It seems funny to some of you, in this situation greek life, since most of you don’t have a known and respected group plotting to make life harder for your entire race because of your skin, hair and other characteristics. You’re privileged not to have this worry. You just need to understand that.

      • A

        Adam SmithApr 17, 2013 at 3:18 am

        Yes, there are probably degenerate racists in the rural backwoods that hate, ride their animals (not on their backs), and claim I have a pretty mouth but what does this have to do with Allegheny and Greek life? It doesn’t. The real-issue at hand is that people are easily offended by things that were not intended to be offensive. If people cannot overcome this, then there will always be a divide between one-another and there will never be unity. This is not unlike a relationship which requires trust. Of course, what am I talking about, if your significant other replied to your text-message five minutes after you sent it, they were clearly cheating and will need to apologize for their infidelity.

      • S

        SaulApr 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

        The SPLC, on their ‘hate map’, doesn’t list a Klan group in our region. The closest ‘hate group’ (LOL) is the American Family Association in Franklin. Where are you getting your information??

  • K

    Katie BeckApr 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Because my previous comments were not published, I will try this again. Please read the following article that I have copied and pasted by Peggy McIntosh. If we want an intelligent dialogue, let’s consider this highly revered article.

    “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”

    By Peggy McIntosh

    This article is now considered a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators. It has been used in workshops and classes throughout the United States and Canada for many years. While people of color have described for years how whites benefit from unearned privileges, this is one of the first articles written by a white person on the topics.

    It is suggested that participants read the article and discuss it. Participants can then write a list of additional ways in which whites are privileged in their own school and community setting. Or participants can be asked to keep a diary for the following week of white privilege that they notice (and in some cases challenge) in their daily lives. These can be shared and discussed the following week.

    Through work to bring materials from Women’s Studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are over privileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to improve women’s status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can’t or won’t support the idea of lessening men’s. Denials, which amount to taboos, surround the subject of advantages, which men gain from women’s disadvantages.

    These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened or ended.

    Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of white privilege, which was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege which puts me at an advantage.

    I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.

    Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in Women’s Studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, “ Having described it what will I do to lessen or end it?”

    After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are justly seen as oppressive, even when we don’t see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

    My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work which will allow “them“ to be more like “us.”

    I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege on my life. I have chosen those conditions which I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographical location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can see, my African American co-workers, friends and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and line of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

    1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

    2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

    3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

    4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

    5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

    6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

    7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

    8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

    9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

    10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.

    11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

    12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.

    13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

    14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

    15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

    16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

    17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

    18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.

    19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

    20. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

    21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.

    22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.

    23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen.

    24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.

    25. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.

    26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

    I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.

    In unpacking this invisible backpack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience which I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant and destructive.

    I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a pattern of assumptions which were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turf, and Iwas among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways, and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.

    In proportion as my racial group was being confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit in turn upon people of color.

    For this reason, the word ”privilege” now seems to be misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work to systematically over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.

    I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred systematically. Power from unearned privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups.

    We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantages which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as a privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power which I originally saw as attendant on being a human being in the U.S. consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.

    I have met very few men who are truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance and if so, what will we do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most of our white students in the U.S. think that racism doesn’t affect them because they are not people of color, they do not see “whiteness” as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion or sexual orientation.

    Difficulties and dangers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism and heterosexism are not the same, the advantaging associated with them should not be seen as the same.

    In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage which rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex and ethnic identity than on other factors. Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the Combahee River Collective Statement of 1977 continues to remind us eloquently.

    One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms which we can see and embedded forms which as a member of the dominant group one is not taught to see.

    In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in the invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

    Disapproving of the systems won’t be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitudes. (But) a “white” skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us.

    Individual acts can palliate, but cannot end, these problems.

    To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making thesetaboo subjects. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.

    It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male
    advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power, and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

    Though systemic change takes many decades there are pressing questions for me and I imagine for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned.

    What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage to weaken hidden systems of advantage and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily-awarded power to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

    Peggy McIntosh is Associate Director of the Wellesley College Center for Research for Women.

    Reprinted by permission of the author. This essay is excerpted from her working paper. “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies.”Copyright 1988 by Peggy McIntosh.

  • A

    AlleghenyApr 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    The comments above represent a common problem that arises when people engage in conversations about privilege and race. The conversation begins with a general assertion; “That makes me feel uncomfortable because of my racial background and I feel that it is unfair considering the history of my race.” Then, the alleged perpetrator of the unacceptable conduct replies by saying, “I do not believe that my actions were unfair because of x, y, and z.” Then, the complainant responds by saying “you do not understand your own privilege and the way that I feel, therefore you must accept that your conduct was wrong and take actions to address it.” The difficulty with the third argument, although potentially valid, is that it is circular in nature. “You are wrong because I think you’re wrong. Even if you do not think you are wrong, you have no say in the matter because my race has been subjugated throughout history. Therefore, I have the ability to claim what is “racist,” and you do not.” In order to engage in more fruitful discourse, this third response must be reframed in a way that encourages the continuation of the conversation. That is the only way that issues of race will every be truly understood by both parties and potentially addressed.

    • A

      Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      This is also amazing.

      • A

        AlleghenyApr 16, 2013 at 5:24 pm

        Thanks! I don’t want to make a judgment on anyone’s particular view, because I know that this is all very personal. I just want to show why everyone seems to hit a wall when they engage in these types of conversations.

        • A

          Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm

          your logic is absolutely sound. Matters like this are rarely seen eye to eye on, and this is no exception

    • A

      AlleStudentApr 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Why is it the oppressed’s responsibility to appeal politely to appease the oppressor? How can anyone ‘reframe’ an argument in a way that would continue a conversation if the opposition is close minded to any sort of discourse? It is not the fault of the one who speaks out whether or not their argument is in line with the consensus. I agree with what you say until this point, but I don’t think we can blame the victim for the fault of the fruition of this conversation.

      • A

        AlleghenyApr 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm

        The problem with your comment is that you automatically assume the roles of both parties: that there is already an automatic oppressor – victim relationship. However, I’m referring to a conversation between two groups who are trying to determine a way to classify the nature of their interaction with one another. In order for such a conversation to be productive, arguments must be framed in a way that sheds light on that conduct, rather than one party’s ability to have any kind of standing to argue in the first place.

  • C

    CaitlynApr 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I think there is a lot of push-back and defensiveness in regards to this article. Perhaps the most constructive thing we can do, as individuals and as a community, is examine where those feelings are coming from. In conversations about privilege and race it is easy (and understandable) to feel frustrated, defensive, sometimes attacked – but these feelings need to be addressed and unpacked rather than used to fuel more arguments that come from a place that lacks understanding. I encourage us all to look to resources such as the CIASS office, books like Privilege, Power and Difference, authors like bell hooks, and advisors like the professors in the CommArts department to help us all better understand the issues at hand. No matter the opinion, let’s have a dialogue rather than a debate.

    • F

      freedombelieverApr 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Thank you for bringing some reason to this thread.

  • A

    Adam SmithApr 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Asha, thank you so much for writing this piece. I’ve been telling people for years that Bob Ross was a smiling, insensitive, hateful human-being for having an afro, but now, I’m glad that I am not alone. Furthermore, as a progressive that advocates the abolition of social boundaries, how dare those Sororities add “stepping” to their dance routine? Don’t they realize they aren’t allowed to do so? Disgusting. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to write to President Mullen and the board of trustees to get your HGBLO established as this appears to be the purpose of your article. Once again, thanks!

    • A

      Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      This was amazing.

      • A

        Annie KrolApr 16, 2013 at 5:13 pm

        This was cowardly and immature. Also, we have tried to get black greek on campus and were rejected by Mullen and others. “Allegheny isn’t ready for a divine 9 fraternity/sorority”, they said. And how right they were.

        • A

          Adam SmithApr 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm

          Me. A coward? Most certainly! Now let’s sign you up for the Selective Service and ship you off to North Korea. Don’t worry, they are Marxist so you’ll be okay. Now in regards to the HGBLO being rejected, it is kind of understandable as to why this occurred. I mean, when you begin the presentation by calling President Mullen et al. “privileged whites” and then proceed to scold them for having the audacity to wear — gasp — cotton, it kind of lessens the likelihood of this organization being established. Of course, I must apologize as I am just a petty “privileged white” human and have no idea what I am talking about. Please forgive me.

        • F

          freedombelieverApr 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm

          They are trying to limit Greek life as a whole. Not just because they are black. Just like they are trying to limit off campus living so the college can have control. Let’s not make a big deal out of something that isn’t an issue to begin with.

  • L

    Lee ScandinaroApr 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I hope those who said such hurtful things will go back and reread their comments and realize how insensitive they have been.
    This article is not about proving someone wrong, it is about learning from mistakes.

  • B

    Brooke KindlerApr 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    As a member of the greek community, I agree with you that many greek organizations could have deeper conversations and discussions of privilege power, and other social justice issues. Being such large organizations at a school that requires a heavy workload, it can be hard to find time even keep the organization running and as a result, those conversations are sometime pushed aside when they really should be highlighted. I can assure you that greek life at Allegheny has good intentions and would never want anyone to feel unwelcome. It is helpful for the greek community to hear these concerns voiced so that they can be confronted and dealt with within our organizations. It might be helpful to help combat these issues by working WITH greek life to help better our chapters rather than attack them. Panhel, IFC, and each chapter strive to improve our inclusivity and community relationships and we are always a work in progress.

  • B

    Bill BywaterApr 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    This is a courageous article and it takes courageous listening on the part of a white person to read it and not become defensive or angry. Creating community at Allegheny (or anywhere) takes courage as we learn that our actions, however innocent they seem to us, can cause pain for others. Our eyes are opened. This article gives us an opportunity to grow more caring and careful.

  • C

    Carolyn ShetterApr 15, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Asha thank you for writing this article. I’m sorry some of my white peers don’t understand the idea of privilege and how much whites benefit from it. I’m sorry you felt uncomfortable, but thank you for speaking out. Try not to reject Asha’s ideas but reflect on it and maybe you’ll see her purpose in writing this.

  • D

    Dani JanaeApr 15, 2013 at 10:52 am

    This is a great article, I think you bring up some important points that should spur discussion on campus. The only thing I would add is that you should have posted links to literature about white privilege and cultural appropriation for your readers who seem to not understand these concepts.

    • S

      SaulApr 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Explain to me how I am privileged, and please present VERIFIABLE figures, not batshit-crazy, paranoia-induced speculations. All of your “sources” are undoubtedly hardcore Marxist in nature, and therefore illegitimate. Stop blaming your failures on other people….

      • A

        Annie KrolApr 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm

        Marxism is legitimate. It says that capitalism will eventually destroy itself and oppresses the laborers whose legs it stands on. It does not, however, directly contradict anything you have brought to the table. Thanks for bringing up failures, since you seem to have so many on this page in regards to logic and human decency. A student expresses her hurt at something, and you attack her further. Look to Katie Beck’s comment for your “verifiable figures”.

        • L

          Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm

          If he was really interested in verifiable figures, rather than picking fights and being a jerk, he would have looked it up himself. That’s all I’m saying.

        • S

          SaulApr 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm

          “Marxism is legitimate”; Tell that to its 149 million+ victims. Marxism is an evil ideology; it is both anti-civilization and anti-nature. But I digress. Her “sources” are ideologically-inspired pseudoscience. The science says that at the Univ. of Wisc. Madison, Hispanic and black students are favored over white applicants by factors of 504 to 1 and 576 to 1, respectively. The study is called, “Racial and Ethnic Preferences in Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison”.
          This quantitative research is far more credible than Peggy McIntosh’s opinion piece.

          • B

            brandonhenshawApr 16, 2013 at 7:06 pm

            So is capitalism an evil ideology as well? How many people have died at the hands of capitalism? Anyways, that is beside the point.

            I am white. I am privileged AS HELL! I am a white straight male. I will never be oppressed. I will never be judged because of my background. While I am up in the air about the cultural appropriation thing (I need to learn more about it) I think that it is the most ignorant, selfish, culturally and historically FALSE, and overall bigoted thing in the world to say that white people are not privileged. Please, before you say such ignorant garbage learn anything at all about the history of the United States and oppression. I am embarrassed that you have just represented the Allegheny community in the way that you just did.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 9:28 am

            Are white people privileged in Nigeria? Iran? Malaysia? Morocco? Of course not. The respective dominant ethnic groups in those nations are the wielders of privilege. In the US, the majority rules. Whites are the majority in the US, and so I will concede that this fact could be interpreted as ‘privilege’. However, with most whites in a state of hyper-intense racial self-loathing (such as yourself and most of the commenters on this article), a simple demographic advantage does not translate into ‘privilege’. And I greatly resent your dim-witted, insolent remarks considering the history of the US. I have ancestors who literally arrived at Jamestown and helped build this country from the ground up, all so your ungrateful behind could spit on their graves. If you hate America, then get out. We true Americans don’t want you here.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 17, 2013 at 10:19 am

            “True Americans.”…. I’m sorry, I think my people would like to have a word with you. ~Native Americaaaaans~ everywhere disagree with you, darling. 😉

            “Built this country.” Oh, your ancestors at Jamestown were slaves? Cool beans.

            “Are white people privileged in Nigeria? Iran? Malaysia? Morocco?” Yes. There’s a reason there’s something called “colorism” in communities of color the world over. There’s a reason why even in mainly brown countries, lighter skin is preferred, and the more you look like a white person, the more glorified you are. There’s a reason white travelers get fawned over, and get preferential treatment, while darker skinned travelers do not. I wonder what it could be that influenced that. Could it be whiteness (“whiteness” as in an institutional system, not as in people) Maaaaaybe.

            And it’s interesting that you consider revealing your name to be career suicide. If you feel so strongly about what you say, let the world know who you are! Stand by your words. Surely everybody will have respect for the guy who throws racialized insults, and has such a hatred for people of color wanting to be have their voices heard. Be free, man.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 10:39 am

            If you hate America so much, get out. Please, we don’t want your negativity.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 17, 2013 at 11:10 am

            I’ll wait for you to show me where I ever said I hated America. Please, quote me.

            And I didn’t realize that correcting someone counts as negativity. But this is coming from someone who pulled an Affirmative Action out of nowhere on the basis of what you assumed my racial identity to be, and then demanded civility, so I’m not surprised.

            Have a good day.

          • L

            Larissa CardApr 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm

            So, let me see if I understand your argument correctly…

            Recognizing institutional structures of hierarchy = “I hate white people” = “I’m not a white person” = “I’m not American.” –>So, get out.

            It’s compelling, I’ll give you that. Compelling what, though, seems to be the question…

            My guess is brain damage…

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

            Do you agree with Noel Ignatiev of Harvard that we should abolish “whiteness”? If so, by what means will you accomplish this? Outright genocide? Because, like it or not, all of this talk about “white privilege” is going to lead to a mass movement against white people, which will necessarily become violent. The first step in any program of genocide is to deride your target; dehumanize them, make their executioners feel they are “doing the right thing”. When “white privilege” turns into “white genocide”, maybe then you’ll realize how volatile your rhetoric truly was.

          • L

            Larissa CardApr 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm

            Your very fear of becoming a minority is indicative of at least a subconscious recognition of the social danger it currently brings. So, well done there, I suppose.

            But no one here has even mildly suggested that we wish to “abolish whiteness,” especially as it refers to the people whose identity encompasses it. The topic of concern is institutional hierarchy, and in order to address that, whiteness *need* necessarily exist and be recognized because it is just as important an element as any else.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

            So are whites the only ones capable of serving lead roles in hierarchies? Are you telling me people of color are incapable of creating and sustaining hierarchies? That’s a bit racist, Larissa.

          • L

            Larissa CardApr 17, 2013 at 10:29 pm

            No, of course not. That conclusion’s a bit thick, Saul. Lol

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 17, 2013 at 11:30 pm

            That’s not how it works at all, actually. Deconstructing whiteness doesn’t mean white genocide. Whiteness is an institutional system that leads to privilege white people over everybody else. Deconstructing it is about ensuring true equality. Dismantling a system doesn’t mean genocide; I’m not sure why you think it does.

            To dislike whiteNESS and white privivilege does not mean to dislike white PEOPLE. And to acknowledge the existence of white privilege–and any other privileges: straight, class, male, etc–and talk about what it is and the effects of it, would lead to progress… not genocide.

            If you think disliking white privilege/whiteness means to dislike white people, that’s not what it means. If you think it means we think all white people are terrible, horrible, awful human beings who go out of their way to be racist, that’s not what it means. If you think it means we’re blaming white people for our individual failures, that’s not it either. I could talk about this for paragraphs, but there are people who get paid to do that and I’m not one of them. Google will serve you well here.

          • I

            Ian ArturoApr 23, 2013 at 4:36 am


            In fact, white people are privileged in every single country in the world. They have ruled the world since the 1500s.

            I am in Kenya, and I can assure you that I reap all the benefits of white privilege. I am served immediately in restaurants, I am assumed to have money, so I am treated with more respect and dignity than locals, and people in rural towns treat me, the “white man”, as a celebrity. How is that not privilege?

            Have you been to Nigeria, Iran, Malaysia, or Morocco? I thought not. For that matter, have you ever left the US?

          • S

            SaulApr 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

            You’re from the United States, which is a celebrity-status nation. Of course the people are going to treat you differently; people assume Americans are of the persona which is projected by Hollywood. It doesn’t matter if one is black, white, or Asian; if you’re American, you get treated “better”. Simple as that…

          • 愚蠢的杀手Apr 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

            Ok. Clearly, you’ve never read Marx. Secondly, stop hiding behind science to perpetuate your ignorance. As a scientist I take particular offense to that. And “quantitative research”? is disproved just as often as these “opinion pieces”. That’s actually the goal of science… to correct itself. Something I don’t think you have any interest in doing. Third. Why don’t you just LISTEN to what people are saying?! Surely, they can’t all be “paranoid”! .. Also, what “verifiable figures” do you need to see to show you that you ARE privileged? I mean… really! what do you do in school all day if you can’t even see THAT?! No self-awareness. why don’t you just stop being a brat and pick up a few books about the issues facing poc in our society and therefore the entire society? Learn the multi-dimensionality of the issues and the arguments concerning those issues. Also, learn about your own role in society and how certain disparities are kept in place. just DO THE READING. Maybe you should start with Marx first, though.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 9:20 am

            I have read Marx, and that’s why I find his conclusions abhorrent. I could talk Marx with you all day long, but I can tell you’d be overwhelmed, considering you’ve probably only read the first few pages of the Communist Manifesto and nothing else. If you feel so strongly about his philosophy, move to North Korea. I’m sure they’d love to have you 🙂 You won’t, though, because you’re all talk.

          • M

            Maya MightyMouseApr 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

            Speaking of verification, who the hell are you? I’d ask people to stop speaking back to cowards who are too scared or insecure to allow their identity to be known along with their thoughts.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 8:20 am

            Revealing one’s identity after such un-politically correct comments as mine is career suicide in today’s multicultural wonderland, and you know it. Goes to show you who’s really in charge, huh? (i.e. it ain’t the white man…..).

          • A

            Annie KrolApr 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

            Delusional coward.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 9:56 am

            Name-calling…a telltale sign you’ve lost the debate. Let’s be civil, now.

          • A

            Annie KrolApr 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

            Excuse me? Civil? I have been nothing but civil in the face of your blind hatred. You need to read my original comment very closely and learn what civility actually entails. By admitting your lack of “political correctness”, you’ve clearly admitted your own ignorance and racism and have worked to ensure that minorities on this campus do not feel welcome. You personally attacked my friends, you have an irrational unrelated fear of Marxist arguments while not even understanding the true definition of the term, and you have turned what could have been a rational exchange of thoughts and ideas into your own personal pity party. Don’t patronize me. Your need for attention on this thread is sad, senseless, and rooted in sexism. Grow up and move on. Spend your energies on making your peers feel included, not ostracizing them for their legitimate experiences of hurt.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm

            Civility does not entail hurling insults. And by openly affirming ‘political correctness’, you have shown your true anti-1st amendment colors.

          • A

            Annie KrolApr 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

            Practice what you preach, ‘saul’. And don’t make up things that aren’t there.

      • S

        Sloane PrinceApr 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        You could benefit from reading “Black Bodies, White Gazes” by George Yancy. It might help you understand the real definition of white privilege which, before I heard him speak, I would have vehemently denied being a part of. 25 pages that will give you the insight you have so obviously lacked until now.

  • S

    SaulApr 15, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Good grief, the author of this article needs to stop grasping for straws and actually observe the world around her. This is not 1915 Georgia. No white people are riding around on horseback persecuting black sharecroppers. No crosses are being burnt. We can all drink from the same water fountain. Wearing a black clown wig does not intimate racism any more than driving a Toyota intimates Japanese supremacy. You weren’t given a bid. So what? Life is unfair; get used to it. Just because you were denied a chance at Greek life does not mean the Greeks are scheming, diabolical racists who take pleasure in denying minority students opportunities. On the contrary, there are plenty of minority students in Greek life. So please, stop making an issue of such a minuscule incident. And BTW, your proposal for an all-black Greek organization is no less racist than the ideals which you claim to oppose….

    • L

      Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      She never said she didn’t get a bid. Where in the world did she complain about that? Last I checked, she said she wanted to see HBGLs on campus. Nor did she ever say that greek life students are scheming racists. You might not know something is offensive when you do it, but if nobody says anything, how are they going to know? And just because there are students of color in greek life doesn’t mean that they’re inclusive. You aren’t inclusive by virtue of HAVING students of color if you’re continuously ignoring them when they speak out and constantly making them feel othered because of their skin color. And trust me; most of my friends are in GL, and a lot of them are of color, and they constantly tell me of the ignorance they have to deal with on the regular within their own GL communities. Just because they’re not saying anything doesn’t mean they don’t have things to say; you obviously don’t realize how hard it is to do so when nine times out of ten, people will brush you aside, in the same manner you just did to Asha. You think we want to deal with that?

      “And BTW, your proposal for an all-black Greek organization is no less racist than the ideals which you claim to oppose….” No sarcasm, but did you actually bother to read what she said? The reason Black Greek orgs are a thing in the first place is because the ones that are around currently didn’t let us in and we had to make our own . They’re still around today, and open to everybody, NOT just Black students. It’s interesting how because they’re majority Black, you assume they’re meant for nobody BUT Black students, and therefore are ~racist~ against white students. Never mind the fact that most white students have no interest in being in a Black Greek org to begin with.

      Try reading the article again, and read it for what she DID say, not for what you assume she said. Racism goes beyond burning crosses, and the fact that you seem to think you can dictate what should and should not be a big deal to a community you’re not a part of when you’ll NEVER know what it feels like to be on the receiving end, is absolutely astounding, but not at all surprising.

      • S

        SaulApr 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        But the crucial point both you and Asha are peddling is that white people are deliberately working to keep you down. This is utter nonsense. In fact, it’s quite obvious that you and your ‘social justice’ comrades are obsessed with race, while the rest of us are merely trying to live our lives. If you truly want to end divisiveness, stop baselessly accusing other students of racism. But both you and I know you won’t, because it’s a power-trip for you. You feel big when you slam people with that senseless smear-word, ‘racist’. It inflates your ego, and you derive pleasure from that. I’ll be be damned if I have someone who BENEFITS IMMENSELY from affirmative action tell me I’m privileged. Take a look in the mirror…

        • L

          Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

          Nobody said white people are deliberately doing anything. Try reading what I said instead of making assumptions. Nobody accused GL of racism, she said what they did was problematic. At this point, I don’t think you’re reading. I think you’re seeing what you want to see. Because nobody has said the word “racist” except for you. The only time Asha said “racist” was when quoting what WHITE students said. To HER.

          • S

            SaulApr 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

            Oh wow, that’s rich. White women….right. Tell that to my white female friends who are paying just as much as me (into the high 30ks), while the majority of my minority friends are paying less than 10k, in some cases less than 5. Real-life observations speak much louder than anything Rachel Maddow, Toure, or HuffPost told you.

            Now we’re done.

          • A

            AlleStudentApr 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm

            Dear Saul,

            To define privilege by how much money you pay to this school, to try to play it off as simply an issue of race, is not completely based in reality. A lot of factors go into how much financial aid a student receives, and this is hardly the place to have such a discussion. It is irrelevant to the topic, and is an inadequate defense, and you’re clearly getting quite defensive. This conversation will never be ‘done’, as long as students, such as yourself, are close minded to a dialogue about race in the twenty-first century. The purpose of this article is to encourage readers to simply take a step out of their own life and experiences and imagine another’s. Racism is alive in well in this country and the more you are closed to this reality the more you perpetuate it and deny yourself the opportunity for an educated life. Let go.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm

            Affirmative Action was made to help people of color (for reasons that should be obvious if you know American history), women, disabled people, military veterans. Which, you know, includes white people…

            As an aside, I’d appreciate it if you’d respond to what I’m actually saying instead of arguing against things I never said.

  • A

    Allegheny StudentApr 15, 2013 at 1:40 am


    I find a plethora of problems with your article. First, you assume that wearing a wig or doing “step” is an insult to your culture, which I can nearly assure you it is not. Putting on a wig and dancing a routine is hardly racism. If there would have been something blatantly racist, such as dressing up as the KKK and parading around stage with a burning cross, I would be able to understand your point. Secondly, you say that you would like to bring historically black greek organizations to campus. Is this not another form of the same discrimination you so vehemently abhor? Additionally, saying you want an organization that is tailored to your history is incredibly selfish. There are plenty of people of color in Greek organizations, and I seriously doubt that you were excluded from any of them on the principle of race. Greek organizations are selective, they are allowed to pick and choose who they let in and who they don’t. The world doesn’t operate by letting everyone into everything, and if you truly wanted to be a part of an organization, nobody on this campus would stop you on account of the color of your skin. When speaking about the Greek forum, you said that you thought it would be “for non-Greek people to voice their opinions…”. Why would you assume that no Greek life members would show up to defend their opinions as well? By excluding Greeks from this forum, you’d actively be perpetuating the segregation that you preach against in this entire article. Before you pass judgment on other organizations, you need to take a step back and look at what you are really asking. Do you really feel that there was blatant racism and discrimination? Or are you just seeking attention? By the way this article is written, I’m having a hard time figuring it out. Next time you write a piece, you should back it up with some facts, instead of your skewed opinions.

    • D

      Dani JanaeApr 16, 2013 at 9:07 am

      its called an opinion piece for a reason. She put her opinion out there, and its okay if you don’t agree with it. But don’t try to demean the experiences of the people of color on this campus.

      • A

        Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

        I’m not demeaning the experiences of people of color on this campus. Don’t paint me as the big bad racist because that’s not what I am. I respect all people that I meet regardless of the color of their skin. What i’m saying is that there is no “experience” here to demean. Wearing a black wig is not racism. I’m sorry if that’s how it was interpreted but come on, putting a costume wig on is not demeaning to people of color. If someone dressed up as a white character and put freckles on themselves, I wouldn’t be offended. I’m white and I have freckles. You can just take the freckles off, I have to live with them. I mean really, let’s stop the pity party and understand that these kinds of things are not in any way, shape, or form meant to hurt anyone. That being said, it does fall on the person that is “hurt” to act like an adult and not cause a fuss over literally nothing.

        • B

          Bill BywaterApr 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          They are not meant to hurt anybody, but they do hurt people. If you do something that hurts one of your friends and you didn’t mean to do it, I bet you would say that you’re sorry.

        • B

          Bill BywaterApr 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

          I have often tried to think of body features which have not been used to distinguish people for the purpose of supporting ideas of inferiority and superiority. I came up with thumb shape–“bendy” or straight. Freckles may just be another such example.

        • L

          Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm

          Except you ARE demeaning our experiences. You don’t have afro hair. You will never have it. You don’t know how Black people feel about wigs that are made to turn our hair—which is already used as a reason to discriminate against us and perpetuate stereotypes–feels. And you never will. So the fact that you seem to think that you have license to tell us what is or is not offensive to us, is way out of line. Seriously, think about the fact that you just tried to say that just because *you* wouldn’t be offended, we shouldn’t be. If you don’t get why it’s offensive, fine. ASK. But don’t tell her she’s throwing a pity party when you don’t know the HALF of the crap Black people go through for having this hair in the first place, while white people can put it on and take it off as a costume when they see fit without consequence.

          “Literally nothing.” Again, in YOUR opinion. But seeing as you don’t have Afro hair and don’t have to deal with the discrimination and stereotypes that come with it, you should consider the fact that your opinion has little weight here.

          Nobody once called you a racist, but that’s immediately what you assumed because you were told that you demeaned our experiences. Maybe instead of getting defensive, consider why you were told what you said was demeaning. Because what you did is exactly what Asha is talking about; a lack of understanding of privilege. Intent in action doesn’t matter; impact does. I might not mean to hit you with my car, but that wouldn’t magically heal your broken bones, would it? Come on now.

          And the freckles thing? No. Stop. Because there is nobody who is oppressing you because of your freckles. There is no system of institutional oppression against people with freckles. You won’t be denied a job because you were born with freckles. You won’t be profiled by cops because of freckles. Why would you even think that’s an appropriate comparison to make?

          • A

            Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

            You’re doing a great job of making me feel sympathetic for you BECAUSE TYPING IN ALL CAPS REALLY GETS YOUR POINT ACROSS. Seriously, this whole thread is making a mountain out of a mole hill. It seems to me that when someone of color says something is wrong, everyone rallies the troops and gets behind them, but when the white person makes a counter argument its because they don’t understand, are a racist, will never understand, and are privileged. This kind of stuff really bothers me, because we live in 2013 America. We have things such as Equal Opportunity Employers, etc. The point I’m trying to make is that just because someone puts on a wig doesn’t mean they are imitating an African American. I’m sorry if you interpret it that way, as I said before, but sometimes you need to take off the racist glasses and understand that an afro wig does not equal stereotyping black people. It infuriates me to no end that the white people are always the privileged elites and the minorities are the subservient victims. Seriously, nobody is stopping anyone from doing anything on this campus because of race. Its time that we all start acting like the grown ups that we are and just get along. Again, I’m sorry if Asha was offended by the wig that was put on or the dance that was performed, but this really seems like a highly trivial issue. If you were dressing up as a certain performer, wouldn’t you dress to look like them? This is the kind of thing that is just absurd. Before we do anything, should we consider how it is going to affect every single person individually? I’m sorry to say, but that’s not practical. That’s not to say I’m advocating founding a KKK chapter on campus or even a club like Advancement of White Culture (because you know I’d be tagged as a racist if I did something as diabolical as that). I’m just saying that sometimes we need to step back, look at the big picture, and realize that these trivial issues aren’t worth getting all up in arms over, because nobody in this world is perfect, myself included. If we all just try to cooperate and get along, maybe our ~80 years on this planet can be enjoyable instead of feuding over issues like this.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

            And again, who are you to decide what is trivial when you aren’t part of a group that has to deal with this day in and day out? Did you miss that point? Letting little things slide is how bigger things end up getting excused. Where do you propose the line is drawn? I personally am not offended by afro wigs, but I can recognize that they’re problematic in nature. The fact that it offends you so much that somebody is voicing their opinion about it is interesting.

            Just because it’s 2013 in America doesn’t mean racism is dead, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t still a lot of problematic things happening. Just because it’s not a big deal to you doesn’t mean it isn’t problematic, and the fact that you keep calling it “no big deal” when you have NO stake in it whatsoever, is appalling. Who are these people that are apparently painting white people as racist, horrible, awful people? Last I checked, nobody did that. But if pointing out something problematic means “you’re racist” to you, then so be it. Go ahead and live with that assumption. And here’s how I know you don’t understand: You said nobody is stopping anybody from doing anything on this campus because of their race. Maybe you should ask some of the students of color how they feel on this campus, because it would probably surprise you what you’d hear, if they’re comfortable enough telling you.

            I used caps because you can’t use italics in disqus, to my knowledge. But I appreciate the sarcasm in regards to it.

          • A

            Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm

            What do you have to deal with day in and day out? People putting on a wig? Do you actively deal with racism day in and day out? If you do, I encourage you to stand up for yourself, but not by attacking a group such as greek life for putting on a wig during a charity dance routine. I would never support something that I believed to be racist, but I still stand by my opinion that this is a trivial matter. By telling me I have no stake, that just means to me that you don’t care about my opinion. Quite frankly, if you write an opinion piece, you should expect it to be criticized and contested. We are not seeing eye to eye on this debate, so this will be the last post i make in this sub-thread. Keep defending your points, by all means, but I won’t be responding any further without direct provocation.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm

            People of color experience racism day in and day out and it’s not always as simple as standing up for ourselves. Because nine times out of ten, there’s pushback, there are people who say the exact things you say, who brush us off rather than listening and considering that maybe we’re not saying this to upset you or point fingers, but because these things legitimately hurt us.

            How can you have stake in something that has nothing to do with you? You aren’t a Black woman, you aren’t a Black person, so how can you possibly tell Asha that what she as a Black woman is offended about is no big deal, when you’ll never experience it and know what it feels like? That’s my point to you. If somebody told you you were being overly sensitive about something they had no idea about, you would be irritated, would you not? Would you take them seriously? Probably not. When you tell her it’s no big deal, you erase her experience. You’re not a woman of color. Your hair doesn’t have a history of being mocked, of being used as a way to discriminate against you. You do not, have not and never will know what that feels like. So it’s not the best thing in the world for you to tell her it’s no big deal when as a Black woman, it’s something she has to live with day in and day out.

            Does that make sense?

          • A

            Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm

            Well, I wasn’t going to do this, but if you’re going to go on the offensive so will I. If you want to talk about experiences, let’s do it. You say that I’ll never experience discrimination because I’m white. You just brushed me off for being white and assuming I have all this privilege and I’ve never been discriminated against. You’re partially correct, I can’t recall a time I’ve been discriminated against explicitly for being white. However, I come from a lineage that has. My grandfather is an irish immigrant. Do you want to talk about groups that have been heavily discriminated against? Let’s start with Irish immigrants. If i really have to go into it I will, but lets just summarize and say that it used to be commonplace for industries to hang “No Irish allowed” signs in their windows. So, next time you blatantly tell someone they’ll never experience discrimination, you should find out a little bit more about them first. I’m not saying that discrimination and racism aren’t real, they are. What I am saying is that I will defend an attack on something I’m a part of (Greek Life) and I will contest something that I don’t believe is a true issue. It boggles my mind that out of all the problems you claim to have (People commenting on your hair, being openly racist, that you deal with every day), you choose to make a huge fuss over someone wearing a wig in a charity dance routine. This is ridiculous and I can’t believe it has even gone this far. Also, to point out that I don’t have to care about my race is incredibly rude. My race is somehow not worth caring about but yours is because you are the oppressed minority and I’m the tyrannical overlord. I’m sorry but this debate has completely stalled and clearly we do not agree here.

          • L

            Lee ScandinaroApr 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

            Did you know black Americans came to this country on slave ships?

          • S

            SaulApr 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

            Do you know the first person to own a slave (not an indentured servant, a slave) in America was a black man named Anthony Johnson?

          • J

            JayApr 17, 2013 at 2:33 am

            No. Just no. You are wrong.
            He was the first slave owner to also be a slave. Slavery had existed before him in the Americas. Furthermore, the slavery practiced in the 1650s was in no way similar to the slavery after Bacon’s rebellion in 1676. Antony Johnson was a man before the racial hatred that came to mark most of America’s history.

            Everything you’ve said before is now automatically invalid to me.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 8:23 am

            No, he was the first indentured servant (big difference, buddy) to own a black african slave. There were white indentured servants as well. However, mr. Johnson was black and was the first owner of a black slave.

          • J

            JayApr 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

            No, he was actually a slave. He purchased himself from the Bennett family (quite possible at the time) and had some help from when he started his own planting. He made most of his wealth off the head rights system of indentured servants. Really, the only reason why it is notable that he held slaves is because he was allowed to go to court, a right that would soon be revoked for all blacks.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

            No, he was an indentured servant. He was freed after a set period of time from his master Bennett. A slave couldn’t ‘purchase’ his freedom. Slavery was pretty much established in 1655, when Johnson himself argued that John Casor (a black slave) was his for life. Again, Johnson was an indentured servant, not a slave. Get your facts straight.

          • J

            JayApr 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

            It is clear to me that you have not read any of the literature on this case. In the early 17 century in Northampton, Virginia it was quite possible to buy your freedom from your master
            by producing a certain amount of tobacco in excess to what was already
            being produced. The master would provide the slave a plot of land and if
            they could produce an arbitrary amount in tobacco in 3 years, they were
            allowed to go free. However, this was not a system that could
            necessarily be legally enforced as it was non-binding. John Castor and
            Johnson had no such agreement. Castor was made to go to the courts and
            claim that a white planter was his master due to an earlier incident Johnson had had with a neighbor.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

            By that very description, slavery didn’t exist. It was not until the court ruled that Casor was to perpetually remain under the control of Johnson (because Johnson claimed Casor didn’t have an indenture) that ‘slavery’ became unofficially established. The point is, the first person to own a slave in America was a black man….

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

            Do you even know what an indentured servant is versus a slave? A slave CANNOT purchase their freedom. An indentured servant will be set free after a set period, which Johnson was. Seriously, let it go dude. You’ve lost the argument.

          • J

            JayApr 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

            EXACTLY. This is the main reason people study his case. A SLAVE
            bought his freedom and ended up owning SLAVES. This never happened with
            chattle slavery after Bacon’s and never outside of Northhampton County,
            Virginia. This place and time go against all preconceived knowledge of
            what slavery entailed.
            Seriously, stop being a dumb shit and read a book, specifically Myne Owne Ground by Stephen Innes and T.H. Breen.

          • S

            SaulApr 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm

            Stop changing the subject. Everyone knows that black didn’t own slaves in the same manner that whites did in early America. But the fact of the matter is that the first actual SLAVEOWNER was a black man. And for the 5th time, Anthony Johnson WAS NOT A SLAVE! How daft can you be? Indentured servitude is not slavery.

          • L

            Lee ScandinaroApr 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

            How does that contribute to institutional oppression and historical discrimination?

          • L

            Lee ScandinaroApr 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm

            How does this fact address a history of oppression and discrimination?

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

            Whoa, you misinterpreted what I said by miles, so let me clear this up so we can hopefully get on good footing.

            First, I would like to point out how the Irish came to be accepted as white people: by treating Black people like crap. And I’m not disregarding the fact that the Irish were treated badly, because they were. But what does that have to do with now? NOW, Irish people are accepted as white. Now, Irish people don’t encounter racism. I don’t understand what that has to do with anything I said about me and other people of color living life, today in 2013. (Also, if we’re going by that argument, Black people were considered to be a fraction of a human during that same time, so…. yeah…awkward.)

            It wasn’t an attack on Greek life, though. All she did was point out a problem. She even says in the article that this extends beyond Greek Life. And I don’t know if you realize, but there are students of color in greek life who feel ostracized for their race. There are students of color in greek life who feel the same way Asha does, and I know that for a solid fact. This isn’t about vilifying greek life, this isn’t an attempt at saying Greek life is terrible and full of racists. All she is saying is that there are problematic things that GL does, and that we need to talk about it. If you don’t think it’s worth talking about, fine; continue to brush off her concern. But if you’re going to brush off her concern because *you* don’t deem it to be a big deal, then where does the conversation actually happen? Brushing off a concern because you don’t understand, is counterproductive, and it’s unfair to call it an attack just because she called them out. If you call somebody out for hurting your feelings, are you attacking them, or trying to get them to understand? Just because it’s in the paper doesn’t mean it was an attack. She was *asked* to write the article.

            You’re allowed to be boggled by it. But I want to remind you that just because people of color have bigger problems doesn’t mean we can’t tackle the small ones at the same time. It’s possible to multitask, and frankly, calling out the smaller things is more of a challenge because people insist on dismissing it. (See all your previous comments.) Nobody expects you to understand how we “choose to make a huge fuss over someone wearing a wig in a charity routine” simply because there are bigger problems out there. You have homework, but you probably have college drama too, and you can deal with both, can you not?

            I don’t expect you to understand it because you are not Black, and it’s hard to understand something specific to one race when you aren’t part of that community (that wasn’t snark), but for a lot of Black women, our hair is part of the identity. Like I said before, wigs aren’t something that offend me, but at the same time, I recognize that they’re problematic in nature.

            I’ll try to give you a little bit of context, but if you really want to understand why Black hair is such a big deal, you should do some reading up on past and current day experiences, and the treatment of Black women who have the ~nerve~ to not chemically straighten their hair. First of all, our hair doesn’t conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty. For the most part, it’s not straight, it’s not blonde. There are numerous reports of Black women being denied employment because of the hair texture. Because it’s been labelled as dirty, unprofessional, ugly, etc. There are cases in which Black employees were given the ultimatum of “Either straighten your hair, or be fired.” Why? Because it made customers uncomfortable. Because wearing hair natural rather than straightening it, to an extent, is a rejection of eurocentric standards, whether we intend for it to be or not. Black hair is politicized, and not by the choice of Black women. Black women are degraded for wearing their hair natural more often than encouraged. They’re fired more than they should be. They’re grabbed at, because natural hair makes people feel they’re suddenly entitled to our bodies. These things happen. These things are HUGE problems. So while it may be well and good for you to turn our hair into a costume at your leisure and then remove it and go back to your socially acceptable hair, Black women are still dealing with being treated like crap for yet another reason: hair. Stupid reason, but there it is. So maybe you can understand why some Black women don’t take kindly to people turning it into a costume, when the women who actually have that hair are still being degraded for it.

            This is something I REALLY want to clear up, because what you thought I said and what I actually said are very different things. What I meant when I said you don’t have to think about your race is that when you walk out the door, the fact that you are white doesn’t affect what you do, does it? When you walk into a store and get followed around, do you ever think “I’m white, and there’s that whole thief stereotype to worry about.” Probably not. When you go to an airport, do you ever worry that the TSA will profile you as a terrorist? Probably not. When you see a cop, do you think twice before pulling out your phone on the off chance they’ll assume you’re pulling a gun? probably not. Our skin color shades how we navigate through every day life because there are a butt ton of stereotypes we have to deal with, and we have to be conscious of how others might perceive us because of it to avoid trouble. As a white person, you don’t have to think that hard. And that’s fortunate. I’m not saying white people aren’t worth caring about, I’m afraid you misunderstood me there.

            Fine if we don’t agree, but please consider why it’s rude to trivialize an experience you’ve never had because you don’t understand how it could be hurtful. There’s a lot of nuance and background behind it, and it might be a little deal to you, but there’s a lot of heavy history.

          • A

            Allegheny StudentApr 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm

            Well I appreciate you taking the time to clarify your points to me, so consider this a formal rescinding of any statements i may have made due to a misunderstanding. I certainly acknowledge that these problems exist, such as racial profiling, etc. I also firmly believe that they should be dealt with. However, I’m still not convinced that putting on a wig that happens to be shaped like an afro should be this big of an issue. Is racism an issue? yes. Is racism alive and well? Unfortunately yes. Are there people who judge others based on superficial qualities like their skin color or religion? Yes. You’re absolutely right on all these points and I would be right there with you if I felt that there was an actual problem with the issue brought up in this article. I just don’t see it as a big issue, thus the disagreement. That is the point of contention, I think. Blacks, Jews, Muslims, you name the group, every single one deals with stereotypes. You are not wrong. I wish that this wouldn’t happen, but I still stand by what I said in saying that nobody should have been offended by a wig in a dance routine. Your points are valid, I acknowledge that, but my opinion on the article still stands.

          • R

            Roma PanganibanApr 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm

            I’m sure that Asha would have chosen not to be offended by the act, if she had had that option. The fact is that she didn’t: people’s emotions are their own, and we’re treading in dangerous waters if we try to tell people what is and isn’t okay for them to feel. It’s okay if you weren’t offended; neither was I, but that doesn’t mean I feel any less beholden to comfort and support someone who was.

          • R

            Roma PanganibanApr 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm

            Privilege is complicated because it’s not an all-or-nothing thing. Yes, the Irish were historically discriminated against, and to some extent that stereotyping still continues today (controversy over the majority of policemen in children’s textbooks being portrayed as Irish comes to mind). All groups have hurtful stereotypes associated with them, from the blatantly racist to the seemingly trivial, but nonetheless inaccurate: white people can’t dance, or instance, or all Asians are good at math. I don’t believe any of the reasonable commenters on this board are arguing that white people’s lives are breezy and carefree; they’re simply pointing out large cultural biases that happen to work in favor of the majority race, and against people of color.

            While speaking out against what was supposed to be the humorous inclusion of an afro wig in a philanthropic event may seem trivial, it also seems unfair to police someone else’s emotions by telling them that they shouldn’t have been so offended. What matters is that they were. As a community, it doesn’t take much effort for us to simply say, “We’re sorry. We didn’t know. We won’t do it again.” A joke stops being a joke when someone gets emotionally hurt, and if it were a close friend, I’m sure no one would think twice about admitting they’d slipped, even unintentionally, and apologizing. For whatever reason, it’s harder for an organization to do the same. Rather than wiping the record of accidental offenses, we should be learning from them and moving forward so they never happen again.

            Affirming someone else’s struggle, as I hope to do here by recognizing that your family has overcome its own share of ethnicity-based hardships, is just one part of creating an inclusive community. We also have to recognize the privilege all of us have in some measure (e.g. simply attending college is a privilege not available to everyone in this world), and do our best to accommodate those who don’t have those privileges.

          • F

            freedombelieverApr 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

            I hope you understand that we are entitled to our own opinions about this article, as are you. And we don’t have to agree but you have to respect other people’s opinions and reactions. You are very offensive and demeaning. Think about that what you will.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm

            When was I offensive and demeaning? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m being serious. If you mean by telling you that it’s rude to trivialize the experiences of somebody when you’ll never go through that experience, then… well. Take it as you will. If an English major went to a chemistry symposium and tried to lecture everybody about it, you think they would be taken seriously, as somebody who knows not the first thing about chemistry, has never dealt with chemistry in their life, and never read a single thing about it? Same applies here. Having afro hair and dealing with the external treatment that comes with it is not part of your experience. So why do you feel it appropriate to determine whether or not she’s overreacting?

  • E

    equalrightsApr 15, 2013 at 12:28 am

    You say you want people to step back and look at the way they are presenting themselves. That is all well and good, but by point fingers and saying “you don’t have to think about your race when you are white” you are doing exactly what you don’t want others to do. By calling someone “White privileged”, which I take offense to, because you don’t know what someone’s life has been like just because of their racial background, you are being discriminatory. Please stop point fingers and actually take some action. And DON’T take action in such a way that you, yourself, could be considered a discriminator. Step back and take a look at how you are presenting yourself to your peers. We, as a human race, are flawed. No one is an exception to this rule.

    • L

      Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      White privilege has nothing to do with what you have, and everything to do with the benefits you get–some that you might not even be aware of–because of your skin color. Nobody is BLAMING you for being born white, and nobody hates you for having white privilege; we just want you to be aware of it, and the fact that you benefit at the expense of people of color in many ways: seeing yourself represented in every form of media, in a multitude of ways, rather than being made the token or a racial stereotype. Not having to worry about being racially profiled by the police; not having to take precautions when you see police because you know that the color of your skin makes you more likely to be stopped, and if you ARE stopped, you have more leeway in terms of behavior; the list goes on. There’s nothing offensive about pointing out your privilege, and if it makes you that uncomfortable to be told by a marginalized person that you have certain privileges over everyone else, then examine why.

      • S

        SaulApr 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

        You people REALLY have an inverted view of reality. You do understand that minority students on average pay FAR LESS than white students, right? That’s a fact, not a speculation. You possess affirmative action privilege. I want you to accept that. If you’re uncomfortable hearing that, then examine why.

        • L

          Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

          Oh my god, are you kidding me?

          • S

            SaulApr 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm

            Way to rip off “Anger Management”….

          • A

            Annie KrolApr 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

            Way to behave like a grownup.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

            Okay, now I’m just laughing. I’ve never actually seen Anger Management, except for the “I feel pretty” scene so you’ll have to fill me in on how I ripped it off.

    • L

      Larissa CardApr 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      At the risk of reiterating Lori’s points, I feel like this bears repeating… Informing someone that they benefit from white privilege isn’t to accuse them of some nefarious, discriminatory, racist plot on their own behalf. It’s institutional, and most white people (by virtue of the very unmarked “non-race” status that whiteness accrues in common discourse that you mention) aren’t actually aware that it’s occurring. This, in and of itself, is reflective of that privilege.

      To be clear, “privilege” isn’t a dirty word. Its usage doesn’t seek to blame or make anyone feel *guilty* about benefiting from it–there are so many different layers of historical, sociological, philosophical, rhetorical, etc. etc. elements behind that that can be attributed to no one person at one time. To come to terms with the fact that you may be privileged does not mean that you have to accept that you, personally and intentionally, *discriminate* against others

  • I

    IstandApr 14, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I understand your point, but I do not think that it is fair for you to single out other groups and point fingers at them assuming that what they did was intentional. You are trying to bring your ideas forward to defend yourself, your culture, and your people, but the way you are going about making your point is not effective because you talk about inclusivity yet you are knocking down another group of people for the sake of defending yours and that in itself is problematic. Don’t make all issues become your battle.

    • E

      Emily CherryApr 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Intent does not matter. Impact is what matters. A little critical thinking and reflection about our actions can go a long way toward making others feel comfortable.

      • S

        SaulApr 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

        College is about attaining an education, not walking on eggshells in order to ensure that no one gets offended. Critical thinking? That’s a bit hypocritical coming from someone who peddles conspiracy theories about a nonexistent network of ‘white privilege’, which even the most inept novice can debunk through simple observation. It’s common sense, Emily. Ya know, like when I’m paying $30,000/year and my friends of color are paying less than $5,000/year? Some privilege, eh? Now do you see why NO ONE takes you guys seriously?

        • B

          Bill BywaterApr 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

          So, Saul, you want some facts take Phil 210 or 190 next fall.

          • S

            SaulApr 16, 2013 at 2:16 pm

            No thanks, I prefer to avoid cultural Marxist brainwashing seminars.

          • L

            Lee ScandinaroApr 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

            Saul, if you feel that philosophy is Marxist, please consider speaking to Professor Vesta Silva in the Communication Arts department. She is currently teaching a junior seminar on “Whiteness.” Perhaps she could help to unpack some of these ideas in a more constructive way for you.

          • S

            SaulApr 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm

            Did I say that Lee? No. What I did say is that critical race theory, which includes anything having to do with race deconstruction, critical race analysis, white privilege, etc. is admittedly Marxist (crafted by the Frankfurt School Marxist intellectuals in the 20s, 30s, and 40s). And BTW, I don’t have anything to unpack. Perhaps you should get off your knees and stop groveling before the diversity gods…

          • L

            Lee ScandinaroApr 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm

            Saul, I apologize for the previous assumption of mine about your feelings towards philosophy. You are obviously very informed about these topics and I hope you will share your views with one of the administrators in the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success (CIASS 3rd floor of the CC). These administrators will work to make your opinions heard throughout the campus.
            Also, I would greatly appreciate if you would refrain from making comments which demean people’s beliefs and opinions. This is an open dialogue, meant for sharing respectful opinions, in the hopes of promoting a future constructive forum which can be equally beneficial to students with various points of view.

          • S

            SaulApr 16, 2013 at 4:47 pm

            I apologize for making any such comments, but I hardly feel they were as offensive as those which have been repeatedly made by certain groups on our campus; namely, that all white people are collectively guilty of slavery, discrimination, and privilege. To demean an entire race of people is pretty bad. I believe it would be helpful if this rhetoric were to cease. It certainly would make for a less divisive atmosphere. Then civility might return!

          • L

            Lee ScandinaroApr 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

            Saul, i won’t touch on every point you’ve made in this previous comment, but I will say it is important for you to understand that what you see as civility is actually seen by others as oppression and discrimination.

          • L

            Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 5:27 pm

            “namely, that all white people are collectively guilty of slavery, discrimination, and privilege.” Who said that? Seriously, I don’t understand where you’re getting this from.

            Nobody mentioned slavery but you.

            Nobody said white people are the only ones guilty of discrimination.

            Yes, white people have white privilege, but it’s not something to be guilty about, and nobody said that! Wanting you to recognize your privilege doesn’t mean we want you to feel guilty about it. Obviously, you didn’t ask for it. “Hey, recognize that there is a history behind this which makes it hurtful for this group of people” does not at all equal “OMG WHITE PEOPLE ARE HORRIBLE RACIST PEOPLE THEY ALL NEED TO DIE THEY OWN SLAVES GRRRR”.

            I think you think people are trying to make you feel bad, when all she was trying to do was raise awareness and start a conversation? Every time there is a racial incident on this campus, or somebody brings up how something was hurtful to them as a person from a marginalized group, there’s this violent pushback, and because nobody is willing to listen so that we can all talk about it, this happens.

            I can’t speak for your exchanges with everyone else, but in regards to you and me, the fact that you felt the need to use a racialized personal attack was beyond unnecessary.

  • F

    freedombelieverApr 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I understand your points here but I think it is not fair to assume people are doing it to be offensive or making excuses for greek life not being “inclusive”. I think you need to find a better way of making your point without singling out other groups, like greek life, or people will not take your points seriously.

    • L

      Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      She never assumed that. And she isn’t singling them out to be rude. She’s talking about Greek Life because of the forum,which involved… you know… greek life. It’s interesting that pointing out one thing that a group has done equals singling them out, and accusing them of intentionally being offensive. Nobody thinks they do it intentionally. But just because they don’t mean to offend doesn’t negate the fact that they did?

      • F

        freedombelieverApr 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm

        This is all ridiculous. I understand this is an opinion piece and that is fine but there are opinions on the other side too like mine. I think that Asha is completely overreacting and needs to focus her energy and frustration into these “inclusivity” talks and make them public, make literature accessible to support her accusations of racism and what not. You cannot criticize me for having a different opinion. Too bad if you don’t like it. Maybe I don’t see the problems because I’m white and privileged or whatever else you guys want to call me but I would rather have an intelligent, calm conversation with someone about these issues than argue over an article that I find offensive, trivial, and rude. But I guess my opinion doesn’t matter because I’m white or something.

        • L

          Lori JonesApr 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm

          Nobody said your opinions don’t matter. But seriously, how can you tell a Black woman what should and shouldn’t be offensive to her as a Black woman, when you are a white person who will never experience life, or the nuanced microaggressions that only Black women face? Do you not see how that makes absolutely no sense?

          All I did was correct you on the assumptions you made from her article–things she never even said, but here you are, going, “it’s because I’m white.” Really? Did I bring your race into it at all? Did I say anything about you, specifically? Did I say you said something stupid? No. All I said was intention doesn’t matter. If I hit you with my car, it might have been an accident, but will that suddenly make your body heal? No. Their actions were problematic, and just because they didn’t mean to be doesn’t make it suddenly excuseable. It just means that there are conversations that need to be had. Asha is trying to open up a conversation, and if simply starting a dialogue about it is offensive to you, then what solution do *you* propose for this problem?

          It’s interesting as well that the article is trivial and rude to you, but somehow that makes it unintelligent and not calm, despite the fact that she calmly explained her reasons for everything. How much more polite does she have to be to satisfy you so you can listen?

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