Inclusion in Missouri is the only path toward resolution
Like Aiden Strawhun, who wrote the “Exclusion in Missouri hinders resolution” article in the Nov. 18 edition of Eagle News, I paid close attention to student protests at Mizzou and what their goals are. Strawhun’s position on the issue, quite frankly, horrifies me.
The students’ demands — especially, for 10 percent of faculty and staff to be black by 2017 — are reasonable. They’re asking for employment at the university to be more representative of the U.S. at large, seeing as 13 percent of the U.S. population is black.
Asking us to look past racial-ethnic identities and such means disregarding someone’s entire history and experiences. A “colorblind” world is no better than a racist world. We need to see these differences in identity, accept them and be willing to talk about what these differences mean. Activism that doesn’t address the intersections of identity (race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, class, etc.) means nothing.
The idea that the best person for the job will get it is a myth. If it were true, this year’s fantastic flop “Fantastic Four” would not have been helmed by Josh Trank. After just one $12 million feature film, he got a $120 million film intended to restart a franchise — and it crashed and burned. With so little experience and proven skill, he clearly wasn’t the best person for the job. The truth is the people in charge will pick people like them, not the best person.
Misandry isn’t real, nor is racism against white people, because oppression equals power plus prejudice. That’s a basic formula from an Intro to Gender Studies course. The systemic power to keep men or white people from getting jobs, loans, equal pay, etc. in comparison to women or people of color, respectively, doesn’t exist. So, while a black person may be prejudiced against white people, they can’t be racist against white people due to the lack of systemic power.
I’m also white and grew up in a very white community. I grew beyond the racism and sexism I learned growing up by shutting up and listening to others’ experiences. I use the privilege inherent in my voice to make more relevant voices heard more clearly. That’s what an ally does. We don’t worry about being excluded from the movement.