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Trigger warning: This article will contact a brief reference to sexual assault. It is in paragraph 5 towards the end (so that you may skip it)

I am writing this article as a white passing mixed (Native American and white) teenager. This article will not be centered on retelling the stories of other students and staff because the last thing I want is to try to speak for POCs and act as the “white savior”. Regard this article as an account of some of the blatantly racist and harmful attitudes and behaviors occurring on Agnes Scott’s campus.

When I was applying to Agnes Scott, I was very excited to become a part of a supposedly accepting community that was ahead of the times in human rights and liberties. As a queer young adult who struggles with gender identity, Agnes Scott seemed like a safe haven. This, the financial package, and the diverse community that Agnes Scott preaches about is why I chose this school. Oh, how wrong I was. 

From day one I have noticed the underlying theme of racism, homophobia, and transphobia present at Agnes Scott and in this “county”. First of all, what is Decatur? It is a segregated tear off from Dekalb county. Why does this matter? Because POC have been pushed out of their homes because of the area being gentrified. Students attending Agnes Scott that do not come from Georgia do not realize what a problem this is, and I have witnessed on several occasions out-of-towners driving and walking through downtown Decatur and Dekalb, racially profiling anyone that isn’t white or a white-passing person wearing “respectable” clothing. Allow me to enlighten you, the reader, on some incidents of racism that I have witnessed on this campus.

My partner, whose name I will keep anonymous, is Guatemalan. He is around 5’8 and is very introverted. He is not in any way or form intimidating, shady, or scary. Even if one thought his physical appearance was, what’s on the outside does not count. “One should not judge a book by its cover.” When was this ideal abandoned? On our weekly date nights he drives here, walks straight to the benches outside of my dorm, and then we go to the parking deck. When we return, he drops me off at my dorm and walks back to the parking deck. There is no stop, he does not pass go or collect $200. He is not on this campus to be creepy and isn’t loitering. By the way, this is an open campus where many people bicycle, walk their dogs, and jog. However, it is evident that some of the white people here at Agnes Scott have taken offense by the beautiful shade of his skin. 

After one of our date nights, my partner was walking back to the parking deck at around 5 PM and was forced to endure racist behavior targeted at him on this campus. He was wearing a nice button down, slacks, and loafers. A non-racist person would assume that he just got back from a formal event or even that he is a teacher here. However, unfortunately for him, two young ladies decided to target and racially profile him. He heard loud yelling coming from a student claiming to be “terrified” of him. The other one decided to announce, “Don’t be scared, you’re with the British.” There were other men around (white men) that were jogging, however, they didn’t appear to be an issue. He expressed to me how upset he was because he had wanted to also feel safe here as a minority and be happy here with me, but instead got degraded and intentionally made to feel uncomfortable. How dare a white British woman target my partner. Let’s not forget that the British were the ones that came over to this land to dominate it. Gave my people diseases, smallpox blankets as a gift, assaulted and raped them, and kicked them off their land. Then brought Africans over here in vile conditions and forced them into slavery. Not to mention what they’ve done to other countries. In no way or form am I implying that British people are inherently evil, but this “joke” was not innocent and it had harmful and degrading implications that should not be tolerated. Especially on a campus that claims to be forward thinking and as accepting as they come. 

Before you assume that this incident was gender-related, it wasn’t. My older brother is mixed (white and black), but he is white passing. He is 6’5, 230 pounds (a build that some may consider to be physically intimidating), with bright red, curly hair and blue eyes. Some students here were enamored with him when he came to deliver furniture for me. He walked back to the car by himself. He spoke of how a student asked for his number. It had nothing to do with his gender, but the color of his skin. If he weren’t so pale, it would have been a completely different story. Even my brother stated that some of the students on this campus made him uncomfortable by openly sexualizing him. 

This was not an isolated incident either. I have noticed many POC getting ridiculed and belittled for simply existing. On and off this campus, I have witnessed students target and discriminate against minorities in the community. Another specific example was when a friend at the time had told me a story of what she’d witnessed earlier in the day. She recalled how she and a group of friends were pointing and poking fun at this man that they had seen when they were pulling into the parking deck. She said, and I quote, “I saw a dark man get into a jeep. He looked so suspicious walking around the parking lot. He was definitely a shady perv.” I quickly realized she was talking about my partner. After her disgusting observation, she then proceeded to talk about a “cute white guy” that she saw jogging on campus. I informed her that this was indeed my partner that she was speaking of and how it was twisted that she racially profiled him but spoke of an attractive white man in the same conversation. Instead of profusely apologizing, she expressed blatant amusement about the situation and the racist comments that she and her friends had made, as if being openly racist with a group of white people is a bit for a comedy show. I refuse to inform my partner of all the details because the little I did tell him broke his heart and he said, “People viewing me this way makes me uncomfortable to be here. I just wanted to visit you.” He is the sweetest person, and honestly it’s me who they should be afraid of. I will not tolerate any degradation of any kind targeted at my partner or anyone else for that matter. He is kind and respectful to everyone on this campus that he encounters and has made many friendly acquaintances. One of whom was the girl who said these racist things about him, but she was so blinded by her and her friend’s cloud of racism, that she could not recognize someone that she knew. 

As I was reading this aloud to my roommate at Mollie’s, a peer approached us and informed me about the racism she’s experienced on this campus. People commented on her accent and how “it’s so exotic” and when she told them where she was from, they asked if she lived in a forest in the Amazon. Implying that just because she’s not from the United States must mean that she’s uncivilized and savage. It is not okay to be racist, overtly or latently. I, and many of my peers will not hesitate to hold you accountable for your racism. If you are reading this and you are offended, I am not sorry. I will not stand by and allow the world around me to be an unsafe and toxic environment for minorities. It’s not a world I want for myself, my partner, my brothers, or my future children. Everyone is able to contribute to racist intolerance on this campus and in this world. If anyone has experienced microaggressions that they’ve witnessed or been a target of, don’t let the aggressors silence you. The racists will not continue to tarnish this haven. 

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Ellie Shaw

Agnes Scott '25

Hello, my name is Ellie Shaw. I am a mother of four cats. My hobbies and joys include reading, writing, performing, and anything artsy. I am a first year and my intended major is biology related, but I am still undecided. If you see me on campus, I will probably be speed walking to my next class, club, or fried chicken Wednesday.
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