Not too long ago, Sacramento State held a panel discussion called “Engaging Racism.” As college students and the future of our country, we should be having this conversation, and we should be engaging our communities to make a difference.
To be blunt, yes, both racism and systemic oppression exist in our society and have so for many years. The challenge is finding an all-inclusive solution to such an exclusive problem. Opening the lines of communication between all members of our society is the first step.
We are not given choices before we enter this world. We do not choose our privileges. As a cisgender male, I recognize my privilege in our heteronormative society, and I fight against abusing my privilege because I believe in equality.
Acknowledgment of our own privileges is key to opening up a dialogue between the marginalized and those who benefit from systemic oppression.
Accepting those benefits as unearned privileges is the next step in helping to heal our wounded culture. If we all understand in what ways a system of oppression benefits some as opposed to others, we start to see why some feel oppressed and why some do not.
As an institution of higher education, there is no reason we cannot be candid about the world we live in. Look at the diversity on campus; there are enough people from different cultures around us every day to make us see the beauty in other people, to make us respect their struggles and make us want to help our fellow human beings.
Think of it like making a phone call. There are several steps, but once it all comes together, communicating with the other side becomes possible. Eventually, it will become effortless and as easy as pressing a button.
Hello, are you there?