This week, I decided to give up my column to provide a voice for an anonymous student. Though this student would like to protect his identity, he wants to be sure you all know that he’s “just saying what everyone else is thinking!”
In the wake of my fraternity’s suspension, I just wanted to bring up an issue that has been weighing on me for quite some time. Duke University, in choosing to unfairly target fraternities for simple displays of fortitude and brotherhood, once again misdirects their efforts and focuses on the wrong issues. Here is the real issue that we need to focus on: this university, as an institution, is racist towards white people. Though many people may disagree with me, I hope that reading this column will show you the error of your ways and sway you to see my (correct) point of view.
First and foremost, I would like to ensure that everyone reading this column knows I am not racist. I literally can’t be racist—I’m from New York, not the South. Plus, I have two black friends; Chipotle is my favorite restaurant; I go to Cabo every spring break; and I don’t even say the n-word while listening to Mo Bamba. I have a deep appreciation for all cultures, and all I ask is for Duke to share that appreciation. My culture and its traditions—getting cornrows on cruises, not vaccinating our kids, counting the seconds after a lightning strike, and smiling without teeth when passing a stranger on the sidewalk, just to name a few—matter too.
Despite Duke’s so called commitment to diversity, I struggle to see any opportunities for white students to thrive on this campus. We are lampooned on Duke Memes for Gothicc Teens and openly criticized in West Union, yet are never provided any sort of space or resources to cope with such attacks. I’m just going to say it: white students need safe spaces on campus, too. Where’s my Mary Lou Williams Center? Why doesn’t the Center for Multicultural Affairs ever host opportunities for white students? Sure, almost every academic department’s faculty are majority white, and literally all ten former university presidents are white, but what about everyone else? I search and search for places to be myself on campus, but it is obvious that Duke simply does not care.
On top of that, this school makes absolutely no effort to recruit students from Caucasian backgrounds. Each spring, I see first-years arrive on campus for Latino Student Recruitment Weekend and Black Student Alliance Invitational Weekend. Duke even just added a LGBTQIA+ component to Blue Devil Days, but they just don’t seem to care about me as a white student. I’m half Italian, three sixteenths Scottish, an eighth German, an eighth French, and one sixteenth Swedish. Why isn’t there a recruitment weekend for any of my identity groups? And why do I feel like if I asked for a White Student Recruitment Weekend, I would be called racist? Duke, your obviously racial double standards disgust me and make me ashamed to attend this university.
And then there are the student groups on campus! I’m a proud annual attendee of Me Too Monologues. Each February, I love to watch my peers beautifully act out the struggles of our anonymous classmates. That being said, for the third year in a row, I submitted a monologue about how difficult it is to be white at Duke, and it was not selected for the showcase. That shocked me. I thought the whole point of the show was to highlight unique viewpoints, especially minority viewpoints. According to the Admissions Office’s Class of 2021 Profile, 53 percent of the Class of 2021 is diverse. That means the class is 47 percent white, and since 47 percent is less than 50 percent, white students are actually in the minority. Despite my minority status, there is nowhere on campus where I am celebrated or welcomed.
This issue extends beyond Duke and into our nation as a whole. A newfound focus on sensitivity means we now favor sensitivity at the expense of inclusivity. Whenever I’m in Perkins, I see people with laptop stickers that say “Black Lives Matter.” One time, I asked a stranger attempting to complete their term paper why they had that sticker and explained that I personally believe that All Lives Matter. Of course, they responded that I was “so offensive,” “out of line,” and “shouldn’t be talking on the silent floor of the library.” All of a sudden, I was made out to be the bad guy—talk about blaming the victim! I thought the whole purpose of the library is for me to learn! If I can’t even express my opinion in a friendly conversation on the 4th floor of Perkins, where am I supposed to learn about other people’s views? At one of Duke’s events focused on just such learning? Through taking an ethnic studies course? By reading a book? Even doing a quick Google search? I don’t have time for any of that because I’m trying to snag a Goldman Sachs offer without the benefits of affirmative action. This is just one example of Duke as a microcosm of America’s attack on white people.
I hope my column changes the way some of you look at racism on campus. Next time you laugh at someone for wearing Vineyard Vines or listening to EDM too loudly in Perkins, think to yourself: am I making a microaggression? And to my fellow white students, please know that I feel your pain and see your struggles. If you ever want to talk, just meet me at Cafe—everything else in West Union is too spicy.
Looking for a Safe Space
Monday Monday neither condones nor shares any of the viewpoints enumerated in this column. However, Monday Monday is an advocate for free speech and a proud promoter of the free press. They are confident in their decision to sacrifice their column to a frequently overlooked voice on campus. After all, isn’t The Chronicle just Duke’s receptacle for unnecessary hot takes? If this column made you too uncomfortable, don’t worry—your regularly scheduled programming will return in two weeks.
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