Regarding the recent White supremacist attacks on Xavier’s campus, I wasn’t surprised. When a campus has a majority of White people, there’s no reason to be. Our country’s problem of allowing White-majority spaces to dominate and put minorities on the backburner isn’t new. Racism isn’t new.
When I heard about the attacks, I felt nothing in particular. Yet, looking around I noticed every person around me expressing such shock and disgust. Obviously, any hatred toward a race is disgusting. But is this hatred really shocking? When you’re White and have the privilege of light skin untouched by the brunt of racism, I’m sure it is. Classroom responses during the aftermath were so alike when non-minority students offered their thoughts.
Sincerity is important, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the care and desire to end extremist groups. But, the message of White supremacy is as clear as the message of Xavier’s response. This is normal. If they were to look around and question if surprise is present on my face, none would be found. Though I never heard anyone ask minority students, personally, if they were even surprised at all. Not to speak for all, but likely most minorities have been through enough that a group dedicated to dehumanizing them isn’t exactly “news.” I turned to a friend more similar in skin tone, and although frightened, they weren’t at all perplexed.
Racism has been – and will continue to be – normalized within White-majority spaces. Despite the growing minority majority in the United States, racism will prevail as it has for a long, long time. Why act as if these occurrences are mind-blowing or groundbreaking? Why act as if Xavier has to react instantly to correct the wrong when the wrong has always been here? Too many students and faculty alike have treated the extremist group like some sort of uncovered mystery. Xavier isn’t special, so stop treating the campus like it’s a holy ground where racism could never touch, because it will keep happening.
It’s as if the prevalence of BLM protests – and the brutality in retaliation towards a race standing up for itself – was forgotten. Keep your head up and eyes open. None of this brutality is shocking. Stop treating racist ordeals as astounding reasons to become a campus that responds with the gavel of justice. In my opinion, they might as well be deemed boring, old news until the next attack because the responses are mild at best. Mild enough to satisfy minorities time and time again without turning the campus around.
Keep on preaching the diversity of Xavier without continuously ensuring that racism is here, real and an everyday act, whether through slashing a BLM sign or microaggression within the very classrooms that should be safe spaces, safe spaces which I felt disappointed in during the aftermath because of the simple, cliche notifications from professors. Very few professors opened up time to discuss such an important matter, and only one emphasized to the majority group that if they choose not to care about racism that it’s beyond privilege and extends into pure ignorance. Only one.
Faculty have to take on a greater role, especially considering the hierarchy of students existing as merely beneath those who teach them. If snow days can cancel every class for three days, why can’t the same thing be done for every class after a White supremacy attack on campus? A campus where, at night, minorities have to walk in fear despite Xavier’s preached desires to provide a safe space for all. After learning how much microaggressions impact those targeted here at Xavier, I’ve questioned the work on steps truly taken toward equality.