Photo by Tyler Meuter

If your response to the title of my editorial is the title of my editorial, this one’s for you. Let’s clear some things up first, though.

I have been the target of actual racism a nonzero number of times. As evidenced by the “Opinions”  above, this is an opinion piece; it does not need your approval to be published. In fact, as Managing Editor, I can do whatever I want. The previous sentence is an example of sarcasm, a rhetorical device that I utilize. If it was not obvious that it was sarcasm, it’s because I was actually serious about that.

I did an informal survey after my previous editorial about racism on the front page. Every minority or person who knows me well thought it was hilarious and accurate. Seemingly everyone else took it incredibly seriously, with a hint otherwise. Small sample size aside, I call this a success as those who enjoyed it reflect my target audience: myself, a minority who knows me pretty well.

Narrowing the scope of my writing to a specific audience doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated by others. In fact, I feel that having targeted, focused writing is better appreciated than something that tries to appeal to everyone.  It’s also easier to write.

Perhaps without loss of generality, minorities understand my tone better since they’ve likely struggled through similar issues throughout their lives. Sorry, that was an argumentum ad populum, something from logical fallacies dot com that invalidates everything else I’m about to say. Anyway, back to calling out white people.

It’s cool that some of you won’t confront your privilege. According to author Daniel José Older, that’s step one in confronting your privilege: denial. What follows are awkwardness, overcompensation, self-awareness, and action and accountability. I’ve seen this process unfold before, and it is something you have to actively engage with. For the first time in your life, your opinion is not as important as you think it is. For the first time, some peasant’s drivel matters more than Your Royal Decree.

Some people cannot come to terms with this insolence and resort to inserting their opinions where they aren’t asked for. This has happened a countably infinite number of times on Black Twitter, a refuge from (White) Twitter. Someone calls out white privilege/the patriarchy/video games/Bernie Sanders; a murder of white men flock to the comment and lead off harassing responses with “Well, actually … ” They get blocked; they get mad; they do it again. Who has the free time to do this? Who has the patience to deal with this?

The opinions of minorities are regularly shut out, but God forbid someone ignore a white man’s point of view. Yes, it is within the realm of possibility that a white man can have an opinion and it not be complete trash. But the condescending tone, the attitude, the need to be heard by suppressing others’ voices: maybe that’s the problem.

If you think your uninformed opinion needs to be heard, maybe it doesn’t. If you’re citing the dictionary to disprove someone’s use of a word, maybe look up “connotation” while you’re at it. If you’re about to say an intentionally racist, sexist, anything-ist “joke,” maybe you’re not funny. If you’re drowning out the opinion of the only non-white-male around, maybe shut up.

As the group who benefits the most from affirmative action and diversity efforts, white women are not exempt from this editorial. I often see white women try to compare which minority has it worse, people of color or women. I have two issues with this: why must you compare everything?, and black women exist. The latter always comes as a delayed shock, a sonic boom of realization that Venn diagrams have a part in the middle where they intersect. If all you do is dump on people of color, it’s no wonder diversity efforts favor you.

White feminism proponents also claim they’re “colorblind” and accepting of all races. Being colorblind to race isn’t progressive; it’s racist. Each of us has a unique identity, and you want to cover them all with white-out. Is it actually difficult to be accepting of everyone without pretending they’re white on the inside? Sorry, being a minority makes me too privileged to see how hard it is to be a decent human being.

Since companies are treated as white men, let’s call them out too. No one wants to join your company when your job posting is white dudebros. Even fewer will want to be interviewed when they find out the one minority working for you feels excluded.

Diversity is step one. Inclusiveness and belonging are step two. Diversity is more of a quota, something you’re pressured into doing to save face. On the other hand, inclusiveness requires more active effort. It requires you to change your attitude, your culture, your incessant racist jokes. It’s also more important and begets diversity. I don’t think Pablo “Secret Weapon” Sanchez would have hit a home run every at-bat if his team hated that he was there.

So, please, face your privilege and be considerate of others. Someone will thank you one day for the effort you put into making their lives less miserable. I think it’s worth it to be a better person if it makes the lives of those around you a little better, although, of course, this opinion comes from a person who only stands to benefit from this course of action. You got me; my motives are entirely selfish. Maybe next time, we’ll have an editorial from the other perspective, a whiny tirade supporting white supremacy that I’m nearly positive will cite the dictionary despite my saying otherwise. Then again, as Managing Editor, I don’t have to publish it.

I wrote this because I’m forced to write several editorials per semester. However, I chose this topic because I was reminded that I’m in a unique position. At least one person reads the newspaper and my stories, and I can write about whatever I choose to in an editorial. Representation matters, and I can amplify the voice of the underrepresented on the front page, though at this point, we’re probably on page eight or something.

At first, I wanted to write about something uncontroversial, like why I don’t appreciate it when people hate on me for disliking guacamole. But Aeolus gave me a second wind, a mighty zephyr of minorities’ exasperated sighs. This westerly gust billowed my sails as I embarked on — never mind, I’m starting to hate this metaphor now. The end. Thanks for reading.

  • When you say Budweiser…!

    I understand that the author’s pretty upset, and I don’t doubt any of his experiences. I hope they improve.

    I am troubled with his response, which isn’t too blame those people as individuals, but is to blame them and everyone who looks like them. He tries to argue that this is really okay for him to do. It’s okay to generalize about a race if you’re the right one and they’re the wrong one. In fact, to not do this, to not stereotype people based on their appearance (i.e., colorblindness) is actually the same as differentiating among people based on their appearance (i.e., racism).

    This mentality is not leading us towards a good world. The truth is, race is one of the least interesting things about any of us. I’d much rather know about someone’s ideas, their experiences, their hopes, their spiritual beliefs, their friendships and relationships, and what it’s like slogging through the drudgery of Tech than to reduce them to a racial category. We all have so much worth, why would we chose to see people as anything other than unique and fascinating individuals?

    So next time someone proposes that the we see our friends, colleagues, and sometimes boyfriends / girlfriends not as individuals but rather as representatives of a race, let’s remember that in the end stereotypes are just stereotypes. You go out and do awesome things, and you make friends with awesome people! Their appearance couldn’t be farther from the point.

  • Nicholas Johnson

    I agree with this article on various levels! Race is extremely important and vital to our understanding of the world. And I’ve also said that the idea of “Oh, I don’t see race. I don’t see the world in color” (i.e. color blindness), is racist in itself. We all are members of races, comprised of multiple ethnicities and come from different cultures. It’s IMPORTANT to identify and celebrate our differences, as this helps us appreciate where we all come from and what we all have in common. However, race and ethnicities are NOT something that should be discriminated against. And choosing to ignore race is choosing to ignore a vital component of what makes a person who they are!

    I love how the author made the sarcasm extremely apparent for individuals who do not identify with the oppressed group, so that they’re able to digest the information appropriately. This should be taken as information, not as an aggressive shot to your pride and self-esteem. This article is based on academic merit and real life experiences.

    The part about White feminism and how White Women benefit the most from Affirmative Action was outstanding and necessary. I might make that quote a poster to be honest. The “feminism” movement is so non-inclusive of race, it’s not even funny and I believe a lot of people stand to learn a lot by reading the aforementioned bit about “color blindness”.

    Overall, this article was well written and I totally agree. Minorities will enjoy this article because they’re able to identify with almost everything being said. Whereas everyone else…will probably say “Ugh, another editorial about racism on the front page”. Embrace race, enjoy it, and celebrate. Don’t avoid the subject and don’t discriminate.

    • When you say Budweiser…!

      Hey man. I’m just curious; why do you post under the same name as the author of this paper?

      Also, how should we “celebrate” race? What is it about having a similar skin color as a stranger that gives me more in common with them than some other stranger who looks difference? How should Americans of European descent celebrate their race since, as you say, race is an important component of who we all are?

      • Nicholas Johnson

        Because my actual name is Nicholas Johnson. I’m not posting under the same name as him for fun, it’s my name too lol. There are three Nicholas Johnson’s that go to Tech.

  • therealBurdell

    If you replace the word”White” in any given Nick Johnson editorial piece with “Jew,” you’d think you were in 1930s Germany.

  • IsThisShitReal

    #retweet If you replace the word”White” in any given Nick Johnson editorial piece with “Jew,” you’d think you were in 1930s Germany.

  • Nick Johnson’s biggest “fan”

    The writer fails to understand that he is perpetuating the same cycle of racism and discrimination that he claims so ardently to despise. If he hates editorials so much, perhaps he should simply not write them and stick to enjoying cowboy bebop alone in his dank and desolate bedchamber

  • Cut it OUT

    Racial group-think is truly making america worse. I have honestly tried to check my privilege several times and I still conclude that I am not any more privileged than the lowest minority. I have worked hard to get where I am, and no one is really in a position to debate that, so what does it matter. Stop referring to people as “groups”, we are all individuals. Dr. King said a person should not be judge by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I would like to point out that affirmative action is actual ‘legal’ systemic discrimination against white males. This is not a new topic, Thomas Sowell and others have been debunking this since the 80’s, and yet the topic is gaining ground, and I personally believe it is because of people just like Nick Johnson, the managing editor of Technique. The white privilege argument is impossible to debate, “step one is recognizing your privileged as a white person, and anything else is denial”. I don’t know about anyone else but this seems rather dubious -and dangerous I might add. Individual choices are what matters in this world, and anyone who says otherwise is a coward and playing a victim. Nick Johnson has chosen to use his privileged as managing editor to spout disgusting daft racial banter on the front page of our school paper. He should step down or be put out, but he wont, because no one will say anything, and because he is black. We are better than this, cut out the bad behavior.

    • Nicholas Johnson

      You are confused. Being the managing editor of the Technique is something he worked for. In this context, privilege, is something you’re born with. Being white is something you’re born with, not being a manager for the Technique.

      And yes, I agree, we are all individuals. But we are individuals that belong to groups. While you may not think that you are more privileged than the “lowest minority” (that term is still puzzling), it is a fact that White people in general are more privileged than minorities in the USA.

    • M’kay

      Lol “and because he is black” Pretty sure the student newspaper wouldn’t care if he were orange. He at least stirred up some interest with this piece. I have to admit I (mostly-white, female) was a little offended at times , but I think the article was meant to be more lighthearted than replies make it out to be. Most of the reasoning was backwards and juvenile, but I read it more as satire like articles for “The Onion.” I take much more offense to your blurb at the end of your post, because it comes after such an otherwise serious and valuable addition to the discussion of racism.

      Completely unrelated to the “cut it OUT” response, I also just wanted to say I thought this little part of the article was golden-
      “If you think your uninformed opinion needs to be heard, maybe it doesn’t. If you’re citing the dictionary to disprove someone’s use of a word, maybe look up “connotation” while you’re at it. If you’re about to say an intentionally racist, sexist, anything-ist “joke,” maybe you’re not funny. If you’re drowning out the opinion of the only non-white-male around, maybe shut up.” lol

  • informedDissent

    Let’s play around with the idea of switching “white” for “Jewish” in this article.

    1) “Yes, it is within the realm of possibility that a Jewish man can have an opinion and it not be complete trash.”

    I have a simple rule of thumb when it comes to racial/religious discrimination arguments: If I can replace the modifiers white, black, gay, straight, female, male, hispanic, muslim, christian, etc in my argument with “Jewish” and it sounds like Mein Kampf, I probably shouldn’t say it.

    “But reverse racism isn’t real,” you cry, desperately trying to check my privilege.
    “Racism equals prejudice plus power. Blacks and other minority groups can be prejudiced towards whites, but never racist, since they lack institutional and political power over white people. Minorities can be prejudiced, but NEVER racist,” you insist, proudly parroting whatever doctrine a third-rate sociology professor imparts to you and learned from a totally legit, super-cool Buzzfeed News video.

    Well, now let’s reexamine the new-and-improved-John-Oliver-“It’s 2016”-approved definition of the term ‘racism.’ It now is an essentially meaningless term; the only separation between a hated RACIST and a merely prejudiced minority victim of alleged systemic oppression is whether their preferred political group is in power. Alluded to in this definition is that racism is truly evil, but “prejudice” amongst members of the out-group is merely inconvenient, or even justified due to perceived wrongs. The logical consequence of your assertion that racism doesn’t exist without power is that the Nazis, despite their horrendous claims, weren’t racist until Hitler was voted in, but merely “prejudiced.” The Japanese military wasn’t racist until it could project its power to its victims in China. The Hutus in Rwanda, despite their threats to carry out genocide, weren’t actually racist until they got into power. All these terms were originally only prejudiced by the new definition of racism. Call it racism, call it prejudice, it doesn’t matter: discrimination still killed their victims.

    My point is that your distinction between “racism” and “prejudice” is completely arbitrary and utterly worthless to real analysis of historic events. The term merely becomes a means to an end to further your own political goals (by absolving minority groups of ever being racist), and loses necessary explanatory power.

    Lastly, no one doubts that racism on an individual basis exists today; tribalism and fear of people that don’t look like us will always be a part of the human condition. But when you make the extraordinary claim that racism is the driving force behind societal inequities, you must present extraordinary evidence (well, apparently not at OSI). When you fail to provide said evidence, or the evidence you produce may be lacking and others question it, and your response is to call your intellectual challenger “privileged,” you are attacking the person due to their background, not their argument. That’s another fallacy (argumentum ad hominem) and as you sarcastically pointed out in your piece, it does hurt your own argument.

    I’ll “check my privilege” when you check your arrogant, baseless assumptions about people who look and think differently than you do.

    So, when you stop acting so condescending towards people who genuinely want to engage in the so-called “conversation” about race relations and how to improve them, maybe they’ll participate. But then again, I don’t think you want an informed conversation; having a “conversation” is now code for “shut up and accept my viewpoint or you’re a racist.”