I love my university. I cherish the memories I have made and the friends I have met, but all good things have a blemish.
I was told college is the time for maturing and growing to become who I am meant to be. Growing up, I was told college is an accepting place where I would hear new ideas and be exposed to different opinions. I assumed being a conservative in college would not be easy, but I never pictured having to deal with the events in the summer of 2020.
I had just finished my sophomore year. I manage social media posts for an organization at my university.
After George Floyd died, I did not post on the organization’s accounts or my personal, not because I was determined to not take a stand, but because I genuinely did not even consider having to post. Even though I managed the social media accounts, my first thought was not, “I need to post about this right now.”
Overnight, I received messages from people asking why I hated black people, why I was not posting, and if I am a racist. My whole life, I have never treated anyone differently based on skin color, yet because I did not post a black square, I was deemed a racist.
Who knew posting a black square cured racism? I did not.
While many called for my removal and said I was not making colored people in the organization comfortable, no one asked me why I did not post. They just assumed it was because of racism.
No one saw the donations I made to the organizations that help black communities. No one listened to the thoughts in my head. No one saw my life offline.
My mom always said, “If you wouldn’t say it in person, then you shouldn’t put it online.” Without body queues, it is easy to misread what someone wrote.
While I support equality among all races, so many people before me had ruined the sincerity of the message and people would have said I just posted it to look good.
I did not want that, especially when I take the expression of respect seriously. The social media trend felt disrespectful because people smeared the original intent of honoring black lives.
In June, I was in a constant state of panic waiting for the next bad thing to happen.
In July, my organization’s executive board allowed the general body members to “air their grievances” in a virtual call. The main rule included no personal attacks toward a member of the executive board (Spoiler alert: There were personal attacks).
One member implied I was racist and homophobic and that I needed to answer for my mistakes.
This happened because I did not post a black square on Instagram.
I was made to feel terrible because I did not post a trend on a social media platform. Most people have since deleted their black square posts.
I have never and I will never treat anyone differently based on their skin color. However, it seemed that because of quarantine, people forgot my personality and assumed lies about me.
Members of my organization required executive members to attend diversity and inclusion trainings, which is essentially critical race theory but in a different name.
I attended a virtual event where I had to learn how white people inherently have privilege and we need to denounce it. We had to take courses learning how to become an ally.
I never felt so worthless as to have someone tell me I am inherently an oppressor because I happen to be white. My parents worked hard to become successful and provide my sister and me with a good life. My family, like most, has gone through financial hardships.
I regret letting fear impede my ability to stand up for myself. I feared receiving more hateful social media posts. I feared that university leaders would publicize my faults.
I wish I had the courage to stand up for myself.
At peak turmoil, a member asked me how I could even think about becoming a communications professional if I could not handle a simple response to a sensitive social justice movement.
I would say to this person now, “How am I supposed to automatically know how to handle a situation if I have never experienced it before?” I cannot know until having the experience.
As time passes, I feel thankful for the experience because I know how to handle this kind of situation. In the future, I will stay sincere and true to my moral values. Ignoring the issue and hoping it magically disappears does not work.
I could not care less about random people’s opinions. I know my own thoughts and the people closest to me know who I am. That is all that matters.
America has come so far since the 1960s, since Jim Crow laws and Martin Luther King. It is scary to see history repeating itself with this hypersensitivity regarding skin color.
Human beings are more than what is on the outside.
I cannot help but be reminded of Hitler’s obsessing with making the Aryan race superior in comparison with the push of critical race theory and socialism in our schools.
History can and will repeat itself unless people recognize how damaging it is to rush to judgment.
Americans must unite to see each other not for what we look like, but for what is on the inside. Americans cannot achieve equality at the expense of degrading others.
Why is it so hard to look at each other and not judge on skin tone? I do not care what people look like. I will take the first step to be the change I wish to see in the United States. I love my country and I am ready to fight for unity and respect for all. Are you?
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