Letters to the Editor – White Male Whining? – 3

Angelica A. Chapman

There were two articles in last week’s Maroon-News written by white men that expressed glaring ignorance and frustration, which ultimately made their arguments biased, empty and lacking in any form of tangible evidence. The two articles I respond to in this letter are Joel Feitzinger’s “Letter to the Editor” and Jesse Listernick’s “Making Assumptions: The White Male Bias.”

Joel’s emphasis on the insignificance of derogatory words is overly simplified and reflects his white male privilege and white male conception of the social climate at Colgate. I get the feeling from his letter that he is unaware of how many hate crimes are committed on this campus; and, in fact, he treats the racist graffiti as though it has been the only hate crime on this campus. I beg to differ, as many of my friends have been subject to hate crimes every single semester I have been here, including this one. And many of them have been more invasive and physically aggressive than the writing in the bathroom stall. Racial bigotry is not new to this campus, and it is most assuredly not dead.

So when a black student, already feeling unaccepted at Colgate but hopeful because Obama won the election, walks to the bathroom only to find the statements “no nigger will ever run the WHITE house” and “linch [sic] them all!” you can’t imagine that that would be painful or threatening? I don’t understand how someone can interpret this as someone crying over spilled milk. Joel states that these are just words and the reaction was too politically correct. But the reaction wasn’t about being politically correct; it was about individual respect — the very thing Joel is asking for in his letter.

I want to end my response to Joel’s article by pointing out one thing about his concluding statements, particularly the one about how “culture initiatives on campus do nothing to promote culture awareness yet do everything to comfort conformist mediocrity.” What credentials does he have that allow him to say this? Has he been to many culture initiatives? How exactly do they perpetuate mediocrity? If he is so perceptive and correct, what solutions does he have? To criticize attempts for change over and over without any solution is empty, as all it does is point out his aimless and pointless anger. Joel, you try to engage other students on this campus and get them interested in diversity – cultural and otherwise. It is extremely hard, given that no one wants to talk about race, gender or class, especially when it displays the unique qualities of another group of people, because then white people, like Joel and Jesse, get cranky and then complain that their unique qualities are being overlooked.

I disagree on all fronts with Jesse. If he lost so much sleep because he felt that poster excluded him, why didn’t he go to the event and ask the people who sponsored the event all the questions he posed in his article? That is what college is all about, isn’t it? Engaging in discussion with the people you don’t see eye-to-eye with? Members of ALANA are more than happy to talk with anyone about this because their ultimate goal is to reach white men.

Let’s take a look at the title of this event: “The Silent Killers amongst Minorities and Women: Diseases and Health Risks too Private to Discuss, but too Destructive to Ignore.” Does it say anywhere in there: “WHITE MEN NOT ALLOWED?” No. Perhaps it is the emphasis on minorities and women that made Jesse feel excluded. But there is, in fact, a reason why all of us need to focus on diseases that affect minorities and women. There are many diseases and health risks that affect minorities and women at a disproportional rate, which makes it necessary that we address these things specifically.

Jesse asks, “white men get diseases too, right?” Sure they do, but unless we’re talking about prostate or testicular cancer, there are none that affect white men disproportionately. So, why would white men need to be concerned? Because there are a lot of white men who have sex with women. How do you explain the fact that so many women have HPV? Men are carriers of HPV; and in fact don’t experience symptoms. How many men have it, and how many men are spreading it? Therefore, this issue concerns all men — including you, Jesse. The fact that the medical system in the U.S. is partial to white men means minorities’ health risks are overlooked and this is why they are affected disproportionately. What Jesse did is all too common among Colgate students; they nest deeper in their bubbles and complain to The Maroon-News without ever getting their questions answered. Well, I hope this answers his questions.