Ask Tré: How should I address racism from white peers? 

By TRÉ STEPHENS

Dear Tre,

 

I’m a white student on campus that wants to know how I should address my white friends and peers if they are being racist. Thanks for the advice. I stand with Senator Rodney. 

 

Hello Reader, 

Thank you for taking the time to write this question to me and congrats on being the first Ask Tré of the academic year! 

Not gonna lie, this couldn’t be any more of a pertinent and timely question. I mean, think of all that has happened over the summer and is still happening today. If you don’t know what I am referring to, I’m talking about the murder of Black men and women by police all over this country, the hate crimes that are now being recorded and distributed to the public and even hate crimes on our beloved campus. 

 I will make this easy and give you some ways you can become more of an ally. However, this is the part where I have to be mean and say: “By asking me this question, you are putting the responsibility of learning how to not be racist back on the oppressed. Go pick up a book and learn something, do your research. It should not be my burden to teach you.” 

Some tips on how to be an ally: 

  1. Don’t be a racist. 
  2. Research what racism is and all the forms it can take in our society. Like honestly, please educate yourself. 
  3. Speak up when you hear someone being racist towards someone else, especially if that person is not around. We are not condoning racist behavior behind closed doors.
  4. Don’t be racist (but with a little dazzle).
  5. Remember that, as a white person, you have privilege and it is ok to check yourself first, and check your friends. This racism sh*t is not gonna fly anymore.

To the student body, we as a campus community should be reflecting on past and present events of racism and racial violence on and off of our college campus. Racism is not a joke. When you witness a racist incident, you need to say something. You need to report it. You need to step up and call it out. 

Our student body is 62% white and 4% Black/African American. BIPOC students are tired. If you are not calling your friends out when they are spewing hate at your classmates, then you too become part of the problem because of your compliance in an environment that degrades other human beings. We go to Middlebury College, we are supposed to be the best of the best. Ahead of the curve, but still dealing with racism? Are we serious? Stand Up. Wake Up. Sitting in silence is no longer an option.

 

Toodles, 

Tre Stephens