Do White Student Unions Matter?
The recent race protests at Mizzou shine the spotlight on diversity and inclusion on college campuses, but do “White Student Unions” need to exist, too?
Last month, a reporter from The Washington Post wrote an article about a Facebook page about the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus called Illini White Student Union. The page expresses supposed fears of those who felt threatened by the Black Lives Matter Movement. Extremely disturbing messages had appeared on the now-defunct page, the story said, such as “… We are in the United States and not Africa and we don’t desire to have an African flag on campus.” It also reportedly blamed protesting students for “marginalizing” whites.
The intent of this page was apparently to disregard and downplay the students who are protesting, but there really is no other point.
Ethnic student unions represent minorities at institutions where their voices may be overlooked. Of course everyone has the right to speak their opinion, but what’s the point if the group only attacks others and is the privileged majority at an institution? The message of the White Student Union ignores the fact that whites are a majority, and most of the time, the “majority rules.” Their message will be the first to be heard, unlike minorities who must coalesce in these organizations in order to boost their impact. Ethnic councils try to provide community and empowerment for their members and do not bash other ethnic groups. On majority-white campuses, they are a safe haven for minorities, even a second home.
Everyone’s life matters; no one is more special than another. A group that needs more attention should have that right without being mocked.
By: Shenaya Rushing, Jones College Prep