Should we talk about racism in class?

By Karly Dunn

(Daily Collegian/Devin Colon)
(Daily Collegian/Devin Colon)

I was recently asked if I think discussions about racism should be held in class.

I’ve considered myself a liberal for years. My views are usually more on the liberal side of the political spectrum and it’s been an issue for many members of my family. I’ve pushed buttons and tested limits on issues like welfare, race and political correctness day in and day out.

Knowing that, I think I’ve made it clear to many that I am very critical of institutions and a strong believer of change. I don’t like the way some of my conservative counterparts have referred to black people as “animals” and “thugs,” and I don’t like living down the street from people who wave three Confederate flags outside their home.

I can’t say I understand their thought processes, but I can understand why they don’t know too much about racism and racial inequality.

I think it is important to have discussions about racism in class. I can understand that people go through trauma and trigger warnings can be important in some cases, but people who don’t experience what it is like to be discriminated against or live in fear of being unlawfully shot and killed, need to have some sort of compassion for those who do. If we have an education system that doesn’t teach us the issues impacting our classmates, who are we comforting more?

Minorities face some of the biggest challenges that most white people will never have to, and they still aren’t given the platform to talk about it. White people are generally uncomfortable talking about race, so they leave it alone, and students can’t grapple with racism until they step into real life – arguably, when it’s too late.

I guess my huge concern about race is that white people are typically coddled more than any other race in America, even when it comes to an issue that isn’t negatively affecting them. They’re controlling talks of racism without experiencing what racism is.

I think my liberal views about racism in America contribute to my desire to teach more about racism in classrooms. White people are not comfortable facing discussions of racism, and are arguably a lot more uncomfortable than those who are most susceptible to discrimination in daily life.

Just because someone is uncomfortable with something doesn’t mean the thing they are uncomfortable with will just disappear. I am a firm believer in broadcasting information that is integral to domestic and foreign affairs and I think an open forum with the public is one of the most important principles of journalism. I understand information can be gruesome and information can be explicit. But the issues connected with this information is essential if we are to create reform and change.

Karly Dunn is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]