by Kristen Griffith (Whetstone Staff Writer)
As I interviewed a few freshmen, who were black, for a Whetstone story, one of them blurted out a complaint about an article in the December issue.
“Who let that white girl write that story?” she asked.
The rest of her friends voiced their complaints as well.
I was confused.
After putting the pieces together, I realized they were referring to the article, “I Don’t Always Feel Welcome,” an opinion piece written by Brittany Wilson, managing editor of The Whetstone.
Her editorial was inspired by the controversy over the Ms. and Mr. Africa Pageant fliers. The pageant committee was forced to add, “Everyone is Welcome,” to their fliers because their event was accused of being exclusive.
Wilson said it’s clear events hosted by African Student Association, Black Student Union and Multicultural Student Union are open to everyone, but it doesn’t mean she feels comfortable attending.
“I know the organizations do not intend for people to feel this way, but I also know that I am not the only one,” she said.
Events hosted by minority organizations only attract a small amount of white students, which means Wilson isn’t the only one who feels this way.
The same week, two staff writers said they heard more complaints about Wilson’s editorial.
All the criticism came from black students who felt offended by Wilson’s words.
I failed to understand what part of her piece was offensive.
I thought her editorial was relatable not only to white people, but also to people who judge an event or organization based on the name, like myself.
I would never attend a College Republican meeting. The first image that comes to mind is a room full of “bougie” – snobby or uppity – personalities discussing opinions opposite of my own.
I avoid going to parties at the Lacrosse House (they’re predominately white). I prefer a party with hip-swaying music than fist-pumping songs.
And since I was born and raised in Maryland – not Africa – I assume I lack the requirements for the Multicultural Student Union.
I don’t think College Republicans hang a sign saying, “Conservatives Only,” nor do I think the Lacrosse House would ever kick me out. And I doubt MSU has a culture quantity requirement. It’s the fact that I do not feel comfortable in an environment that’s not relatable.
Of course judging a book by its cover is ignorant, but it’s a flaw plenty of people, black or white, are guilty of.
That was the point Wilson made in her editorial.
And this is what I explained to the freshmen I interviewed. Expecting a rebuttal, all I received were blank stares and an, “Oh.”