Reflection from Seniors Perspectives

Reflection from Seniors Perspectives

HANNAH BEACHEY

PRASHANSA DICKSON

KIERNAN WRIGHT

 Contributing Writers

hannahb6@goshen.edu

pgdickson@goshen.edu

kwright@goshen.edu

Seniors Hannah, Prashansa and Kiernan reflect about their privileges.

Seniors Hannah, Prashansa and Kiernan reflect about their privileges.

KIERNAN: AS WHITE MAN

I’m a pretty savvy person, so when Prashansa told me about the hardships of being a woman of color, naturally I explained to her that I understood her struggles. She did not seem gracious of my complete empathy, however, which I guess is a sign that I am the first white man to comprehend her oppression so completely.

I try to be humble about this, but I think I may have to run for Student Senate to better use my wisdom. If I can gain a bit more power, I might really be able to stop racism and sexism once and for all at Goshen. I know what you are thinking, and yes I too realize that my logic is flawless.

And if my plan does not work? Then I will threaten to tear down the Music Center and rebuild it in three days. Would this be a crime? Maybe. Would I be crucified for it? Maybe. My resemblance to Jesus is so uncanny it may cause some of those in power to revert back to biblical ways of punishment, though I doubt those who have been here long enough to have that power would be able to pull it off.

I realize the Jesus similarities are astounding, and yes it is because I am white. I know all of these historians and scholars are saying that Jesus was actually a Middle-Eastern Jew, but if you consider Megan Kelly, an expert Biblical scholar, well then Jesus looks just like me, thank you very much. I hear that Kelly might even be replacing Steve Nolt, which would finally give me the legitimacy around here that I am entitled to.

And this is why everyone should vote me into Student Senate. Hey, at least I’m not Hillary. Like her campaign promises, I will represent all of the marginalized and oppressed students. If I don’t get voted in, well, you can kiss the Music Center goodbye.

HANNAH: AS WHITE NON-MAN 

Hello friends. I’m the other overwhelmingly pale, petite student with brown hair that’s not Avery Martin. The important component to note here is ‘overwhelmingly pale.’  My whiteness is prominent because I have chosen, out of the goodness of my heart, to surround myself with people of color; namely Aulyvya (Oh-Live-EE-ah) Jynnë (Gin), Dechen (like Gretchen but with a D) Tshering (lol), and Prashansa Godwina Miraclynn Dickson. Having these women as friends is usually a blessing, but it has downsides. I can only get into a few in this article, 300 words go fast, but I’ll attempt to explain quickly and concisely.

1. I am a representation of the American culture to my POC friends. That’s a burden I will always have to carry, as seen by my nickname of “token white friend.” While it is appropriate, it’s hard to be the face of white culture.

2. I look like every other white girl. Many of you probably can’t distinguish me from any other pale girl who wears Birkenstocks. When people say my name, a vague, white-ish, small figure is probably all you can recall. There is no way to make myself stand out in the crowd. Dying my hair and getting tattoos are what every other white girl does. My whiteness will always prevail.

3. I’ve done my part in learning about my friends’ cultures, backgrounds and religion. Why can’t they do the same for me? Why don’t they ask me about my cultural background, aren’t they curious what mix of Swiss, English and German I am? Why don’t they question my religion and comment “oh, interesting” and “wow, so different?”

I’ll conclude with this: as an ally to my POC women friends, I’m disappointed that I’m not getting back what I put out. If I try my best to understand your struggles, you should try your best to understand mine.

PRASHANSA: AS A NON-MAN AND NON-WHITE

Last time I was published, I was in the Perspectives section. I am now in the Funnies section, the only place for serious journalism in the Record.

I am back to talk about how I am not white. I know—it came as a shock to me as well. Most of you may not have noticed that I am not white because I have seamlessly assimilated into the white culture here at GC. I have done so by strategically surrounding myself with white people so that no one will notice that amidst the sea of white, I stand: a lone brown.

I sometimes find myself assimilating so well that I forget I am, in fact, not white. But every time I feel that I am blending away into the whiteness, I listen to the Cupid Shuffle and the Cha-Cha Slide and my non-whiteness stomps out the budding whiteness in me because of the hatred I feel towards those songs. I am forever grateful to Cupid and Mr. C The Slide Man for helping me keep myself grounded to my native culture in this oppressive world.

Now that we’ve established that I am not white, I am here to talk about how my friends Hannah and Kiernan understand my oppression so completely that I am left dumbfounded. When I explained to Hannah that I felt afraid to walk in the dark, she helped me see the positive side and explained how I was actually in the privileged category because my dark skin could blend in easier with my surroundings! So, as long as I don’t smile, or open my eyes, I should be able to walk in the dark, no problem! Thanks to her, I am now confidently walking all over the place with my eyes and mouth shut; it has opened endless possibilities for me.

Similarly, when I told Kiernan that it isn’t always fun to be expected to represent the voice of all non-white people in various classroom and professional settings, he explained to me how he understands my plight completely as he too, is called on frequently due to the fact that he represents the educated white man population in various classroom and professional settings. As a white man he is expected to be correct and always know what to do—it’s amazing he doesn’t crumble under all that pressure AND he finds time to empathize with my struggles with oppression! His uncanny resemblance to Jesus probably helps him with this incredible ability to show empathy. While it’s not fun to fall in the non-privileged category for several systems of oppression, my burden is lessened when I think about all the nice white people who stand up for me. It truly makes it all better.

 

Written by Record

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