A member of the University of Virginia Black Student Alliance Political Action Committee has offered a cornucopia of suggestions on how white people can fight racism and be effective BSA “allies.”
Writing in The Cavalier Daily, Keiara Price states “In light of the events over the summer, it occurred to us at the Black Student Alliance that it might be valuable to have a guide to navigating and understanding activism at the University when you are not black.”
So … “listen up!” she orders.
Don’t turn to the one black student in your class when the events of Aug. 11 and 12 are mentioned. It is more than an uncomfortable moment when the entire class turns toward you in anticipation for a profound analysis of white supremacy. Black students should not be expected to understand the intricacies of the injustices of this country any more than a white student. We all have access to Google and the intellect to come to our own conclusions on the significance of Aug. 11 and 12. Don’t make black students do your homework. …
Don’t feel guilty, just do the work and gain understanding. White guilt has never helped anyone, especially when it pertains to history. A common misconception is that black people want white people to make up for the deeds of their ancestors. The truth is that we want you to make up for current injustices. It goes back to doing the homework. Do not accept everything you hear on the news or are taught in your classes. Take the time to draw your own conclusions. Between mass incarceration, police brutality, gentrification, the Flint Water Crisis, living wage and whitewashed education there are plenty of research opportunities to open your eyes to the daily oppression faced by people of color. A black friend is not required for a self taught curriculum, in fact, it is better that you make black friends after the education process has begun. It cuts out the uncomfortable conversation about microaggressions and your parents inability to accurately pronounce or remember their name.
Everyone at UVA should “be on the same page” regarding the school’s connection to white supremacy, Price continues. Founder Thomas Jefferson’s good deeds — “[h]e wrote the Declaration of Independence and set his sights on cultivating religious freedom” — do not excuse his “racism or sexual assault.”
Because, naturally, judging an 18th century man using 21st century values is a perfectly rational thing to do.