Why I Have a Love/Hate Relationship with my PWI

I’m sure everyone has a love-hate relationship with their university, but it might not be for the same reason as I do.

 

I currently attend a university that is considered a PWI. A PWI is a Predominately White Institution. Going to a PWI and being a minority in my particular major has caused me to see the world for what it really is. Other minority students and myself know exactly what I am talking about.

 

These small micro-aggressions that run rampant on our campus fuel the hate in our love-hate relationship with our university.

 

Now some people are oblivious to their behavior, but the people who are the victims of these behaviors notice. When we point out how we feel we are always the angry black girl, but that is not true.

 

The treatment we receive deserves an angry response. We are still being seen as less than. When we tell you how we feel and you ignore us or down play our feelings, you show your white privilege. So here is a quick lesson on how you can avoid making your minority classmates feel un-welcomed.

 

  • Do not ask us to move out of our seats so your friend can have it 

Why are you asking me to give my seat away? Why not the other white person next to you? It’s because you believe that you and your friends are entitled to my seat. That I won’t argue back, because your privilege usually allows you everything you want.

 

  • Do not ask to touch our hair

First we are not some exhibit at a museum to be poked and prodded at. If I came up and touched your hair out of nowhere you would think I was weird, right? So you asking me to touch my hair and me saying no should not offend you. You have no right to have an attitude. It’s my hair and I don’t want you touching it.

 

  • Don’t steal our ideas and put your name on it

When I suggest ideas in meetings and no one responds, do not repeat it again and take credit. If my idea wasn’t acknowledged when I brought it up, you should not be able to come behind me and take credit for my idea and receive the praise that comes along with it.

 

  • When I call you out for being offensive do not tell me you have a black friend

I mean great for you, but you were still in the wrong. Trying to use your black friend as a scapegoat for your racist and unacceptable behavior is not cool. Having black friends should actually make you more aware of your behavior. You are saying things that will hurt and offend them too, so think about that when you get ready to make your sly jokes.

 

These are only a few micro-aggressions that minorities face on a daily basis. We are constantly having to hide our true selves in order to not make white students uncomfortable. In doing this we are always uncomfortable.

 

Sly jokes and comments about race are not cute. Feeling as though you are entitled to everything we work for and more is not ok. Privilege is a real thing, and it usually leads to micro-aggressions. Be mindful of how your behavior affects others.