By Chelsea Carlson ’14Web Assistant
Growing up in a pocket of racial homogeneity, I experienced racial diversity as a child in a very distant context. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious about this lack of exposure to diverse racial and ethnic groups, striving to participate in the discussion fully in order to become more aware and educated on the topic.
The film shown at the Motley last Tuesday as part of SCORE’s Ally Week, Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, first sought to show the ways in which white people are often exposed to racism early on, many as young children, and how racism is often passed through generations this way. The focus of the film, however, was on the issue of whites acknowledging that race influences their lives too. As the film asked the difficult questions surrounding the issue of acknowledging the inherent privileges of whiteness, it became increasingly personal, pushing me to acknowledge at least a fraction of the things I take for granted being white. As one woman put it, “I wake up every morning and think ‘I’m a black person,’” and then posing the question to her white counterparts asking if they could say the same.
While not a comprehensive look at the issue of acknowledgement of whiteness in America, this film, combined with an excellent short discussion session, did serve its purpose by getting me and I’m sure other Ally Week participants to venture out of our comfort zones, asking us to question all the assumptions we have about equality, especially regarding opportunities for education and work.