During my freshman proseminar, I sat back in my chair and swallowed my tongue as I listened to several white male classmates haughtily speak for my entire race as if I were not even in the room. We were discussing the experiences of racial minorities in the United States. My classmates then suggested race is merely a social construct. Clearly, these white men could not understand the struggles of black people in the United States.

My skin has always been erroneously used to measure my perceived intelligence, beauty and right to speak as an equal in rooms full of white men. But at Georgetown, the pain I endure from prejudice feels so much more apparent and debilitating: My college experience has been dominated by educated white men who have led their entire lives through racial ignorance.

My life as a woman of color navigating the echo chambers of white men has been marred by inconspicuous microaggressions. In high school, my classmates called me the N-word and a slave. Friends constantly ask if they can touch my hair as though it is a toy.

I am also used to hearing the comments: “How did she know the answer to that question? She is black,” and “You should really comb your hair or straighten it. If you do, more guys would like you.”

At Georgetown, I often feel as though to many white male students here, I am just the “black girl that sits over there.” Apparently, I am identifiable only by the color of my skin.

Here, many white male students not only see my skin color but also internalize it; their presumptions about me follow in turn. Here, many white male students treat me not as an individual but as a farcical black characterization conceived in blackface minstrel shows of the 1850s.

At Georgetown, I am the object of racial fetishization. Men have told me their dreams of losing their virginity to a black girl. I hear conversations among men who objectify black women, as though having sex with one is akin to colonizing or acculturating the lands of indigenous peoples.

I encounter privileged male students who assume I am incapable of holding leadership positions, telling me instead I should be relegated to merely taking roll call at our club meetings.

I meet students who speak on their struggles with “reverse racism,” as though this absurd proposition is equivalent to centuries of institutional racism designed to benefit white people; not a single individual in our bystander training has challenged their misguided perspectives.
I have always wondered what it is like to be a white man at Georgetown. I wonder what is it like to not feel pressure to smile in public settings, for fear of being labelled an “angry black woman,” or quiet your voice for the sake of not being called “ratchet” or “ghetto.”

I wonder what is it like to not have to brush your kinky, curly hair every morning before class, or worry that what you wear will be used to racially stereotype you — that you will be seen as the “poor, uneducated black girl” who cannot dress decently.

I wonder what is it like to not be a distraction — to not be bothered by the piercing stares and conspicuous whispers when you raise your hand in class to discuss issues of racism and microaggressions. I wonder what it is like to ignore the implicit bias entwined in your words and behaviors toward women of color. I wonder what is it like to freely speak about white guilt as if your race was the one enslaved.

Despite these pervasive aggressions, never once have I wished I were not black. Regardless of skin color, we all made it to Georgetown for a reason.

I understand that you may be surprised when you eventually — inevitably — find yourself falling off the high horse of white privilege that you have spent your entire lives riding. But you need not fear me: Contrary to your exclusive ideologies, the truly inclusive community that people like me are finally building has a place for everyone — including you. We welcome you to help create this community at Georgetown.

And, one day, black women like me will no longer exist like caged birds in the racist vacuum of white ignorance.

Jade Ferguson is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

31 Comments

  1. Dear Ms. Ferguson,

    Thank you for your viewpoint. Please allow me to share a different perspective with you.

    First of all, I can’t speak to your experience. I was a freshman a long time ago. I found Georgetown to be a welcoming, inclusive place. I’m not sure why you believe that dynamic to have changed. The admissions statistics for the University show something other than that which you have portrayed.

    When I attended Georgetown, I didn’t see color, I saw individuals from all types of backgrounds and socio-economic situations. While Georgetown has undoubtedly changed to a certain extent over the years, there is one thing that all who have attended would agree upon…the fact that everyone who attends Georgetown is privileged. A Georgetown Education does not exist to make you better than everyone else; it exists to make you better for everyone else.

    People come in all colors, shapes and sizes. “White Male” has nothing to do with someone behaving poorly towards someone else. Jerks come in all shapes, sizes and colors too.

    Try to view people for who they are, not necessarily who you might perceive them to be by virtue of the fact that they may be white, male and attending Georgetown. Your experiences before entering Georgetown sounds terrible, but you should know that I am a white male living in an integrated world where no such thoughts or actions occur.

    You should embrace who you are, where you have come from and be purposeful about where you are going. The respect that you seek does not come from race or affirmative action. The secret that I will share with you is that all people, including those white males that you challenge in your letter are just like any other human, regardless of race, creed, sex, religion, or orientation. They all feel a sense of insecurity and a need to be part of the larger group, and like you spend introspective time wondering how they find their place in this world.

    While we think that success is measured by wealth, position and power, in reality the only true measure of success is one’s mirror. Look in the mirror and ask yourself the question “Do I like the person that I see?” If your answer is no, then make the changes necessary in your life to answer that question in the affirmative. If you can answer that question in the affirmative, then be proud of who you are and work diligently to make those around you feel that sense in themselves.

    The mirror doesn’t see color, nor should you or anyone else. Strive to see the good in everyone. Look hard enough and you will find it.

    My Georgetown Experience was a gift, the significance of which I didn’t appreciate when I stood in your Freshman Shoes. Discover your gift and make the most of it. Dispense with your assumptions about your classmates and experience them for the people they are, rather than racial generalizations and stereotypes. While there are people of societal privilege at Georgetown, there are also people there who struggled to get there and struggle to remain. Don’t sell them short. These people may well turn out to be some of the best friends that you will ever have.

    Finally, know that there are “white males” like me that welcome you into the world outside of Georgetown, who would love to have you as a teammate, partner and friend.

    Sincerely,

    A Gtown Alum

    • A concerned freshman - This ain't it says:

      My guy, my buddy, my pal, this was incredibly tone deaf and a complete subversion of the experiences Jade details. I’m going to hit you with a nice little numbered list of what I believe you analyzed incorrectly.
      1) Having an increase in admission for students of color is not intrinsically tied to a more accepting, welcoming environment.
      2) As a current GU student, I regret to inform you that racism and prejudice is still, unfortunately, an issue on campus.
      3) Color blindness is not the goal you should have; ignoring differences is not nearly as progressive as valuing them equally. Jade explicitly states that her racial identity has cultural and personal significance. To deny her that, is to deny her an entire identity.
      4) Jerks do come in all colors and packages, but some of them are white and some of them are jerks to you solely because of your race.
      5) Your experiences with inclusion and diversity will not mirror that of a black woman. It just won’t. All those socio economic and background differences you talked about in the student body? They impact that kinda thing.
      6) Maybe ask other people if they feel like they’re living in the same integrated utopia where these issues no longer exist. I have a couple of uncle’s and aunts from Mississippi that might disagree.

      • Your response is interesting. The word “subversion” is defined as “the undermining of the power and authority of an established system or institution” which seems inapplicable when discussing my response.

        I didn’t indicate that any of Jade’s experiences didn’t exist. I represented that there are in fact good people out there that fall into the stereotype that she was perpetuating by her open letter. Why confront a group based upon assumptions and the color of their skin? To do so is the definition of racism and yet that is what was done in the open letter. There is an irony in the fact that a letter protesting racism does so using the very same logic that the letter is protesting.

        As for admissions, there is no question that Georgetown is one of the most diverse schools in the country from the standpoint of admissions. It would stand to reason that if the environment were more diverse than average and racism is rampant, then there must be something else occurring culturally within the student body since the school apparently encourages diversity by its actions.

        I made no denial of the fact that racism and prejudice exist in society, let alone Georgetown. Try as you might, it will always exist because humans form judgments. That doesn’t make it right, but it is a fact. If you don’t believe me, then read the open letter. The author indicts a portion of the school population based upon skin color. Regardless of color, such an attitude is wrong.

        Your point about racism and prejudice being an issue on campus is valid, as proven by the open letter in multiple ways. If you want to evoke change however, then you need to do something different than the status quo. I suggested to the author that she look at the people around her beyond the color of their skin. I’m not sure why you find this concept tone deaf. It seems that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I’m suggesting that if you want to evoke change, try approaching the problem differently.

        Color and culture are not the same thing. You can’t base identity on skin color alone and hope to eradicate racism. My point is that if you want to overcome racism, then people need to look beyond color. This is something that I have always striven to do in my personal life. Colorblindness is a goal to have because it helps you to see people for who they are and not what color they might be. Still think that I am wrong…then examine the issue of racial profiling in America. If you saw a man walking down the street and didn’t see color, what generalizations would you be prone to form and how would they be different if you knew the color of the man’s skin?

        One can suffer discrimination based upon race, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation. To avoid discrimination, people need to look beyond these factors and look at people for who they are, rather than their race, ethnic background, sex, sexual orientation or even religion. Stereotypes lead to racism. If your identity is based on one of these factors, you deny to yourself and the world the dimensions that you have to offer. Don’t give in to stereotyping. While human beings are social animals who gravitate to joining groups, we are all individuals first. We are all unique. If you want to combat racism, then you need to find ways to experience the individuality that people have to offer.

        The problem with individuality is that we struggle to belong. When we are denied admittance/acceptance in a group, we feel a sense of alienation. Culture is a group dynamic. If admittance is based solely on skin color, then we as individuals have a problem that can never be solved.

        Finally, my experiences don’t need to “mirror that of a black woman.” Encouraging tolerance in others means that while your experiences don’t mirror another’s you can reach a level of understanding. That is the goal.

        Here’s the thing, you know nothing about my background other than that which I volunteered to you, yet you make assumptions about me which are incorrect. The worst part of your response is that you believe that because I am something other than a “black woman” I just couldn’t understand. If your premise is true, that I just couldn’t understand, then aren’t you arguing that doing away with racism is an impossibility?

        I understand that you are a student, embarking on your adult life. The University setting is an implicit safe zone. It is a place where you can go to learn, interact, experience and question. It is not the real world. The real world is a place of true diversity where people are privileged, while others struggle to survive.

        I wrote my response to Jade because I wanted to make the point to her that there are good, decent people out in the world who will treat her fairly when she leaves Georgetown. Some of those people fall within the group to whom she directed her letter. It’s clear from her open letter that she thinks that if racism is rampant at Georgetown, the world holds much worse for her. I respectfully disagreed. I hope that you do as well.

        • Wow. Another white male mansplaining to a woman, proud, strong, brave black woman no less. The fact is you can’t experiernce racism because your’e privledged, and reverse racism doesn’t exist, and white males are the number one cause of domestic racism (see the FBI) and racist acts. Pittsburgh? Charlottesville? Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown? Ever here of them? Clearly you are an individual who has not interrogated himself and examined your prejudices. Jade is sharing her truth and in the new world were building, which is vibrant, diverse, fairer, and beautiful, and in which everyone is welcome, regardless of race, religion, immigration status, gender, or sexual orientation, will have a place for you, but not the place of privileged position you’ve spent your whole life in and are accustomed to. You will have to learn to share and live with strong black woman like Jade and many others of all types who will change the world. I would recommend you take Harvard’s Implicit Bias test to understand your bias, and educate your self on the intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, and power and privileged. Learn to reject whiteness, it doesn’t exist! Race is a construct. Then you may become and ally in the great work work were are about to accomplish.

          As to Georgetown, this is a wonderful place, but many people of color suffer daily from microaggressions and are forced to question whether we are accepted here by both the dominant white culture and an administration that doesn’t not seem concerned about black and brown. Sexual assault is a serious problem as is discrimination against LGBTQIA (particularly transgender), and mental health issues are a are completely inadequate. There is much to love but also much to hate.

          Jade, thank you for your passion and your strenght. I am proud your a Hoya. You are loved.

          • Another Alum says:

            The use of “mansplaining” and “microaggressions” largely delegitimizes your comments. As a form of constructive criticism, I would severely limit your usage of those words, since it does not reflect well on the user. Most adults don’t accept those terms.
            Gtown Alum makes some very compelling cogent points.

        • Another Alum says:

          As another alum, I thank you for your thoughtful reply. The name-calling and anger expressed by some students in the comment section here is not a particularly mature form of response.

      • Another Alum says:

        I found Gtown Alum’s post to be insightful.

        Your tone comes off as being a bit belligerent.

        I would also disagree–color blindness is the ultimate goal, since race is merely a construct, biologically-speaking.

    • Rosalinda Sandoval Keeler says:

      Sir,
      Your opening statement only further proves her viewpoint. Your statement that ” you do not see color” is part of the issue. I respectfully ask that you consider spending time at The Hilltop with students of color & listen…really listen to their experiences. I think it may expand your current perspective. While I appreciate what you are trying to share…I believe, perhaps with no I’ll intent, that you are saying: I didn’t experience that, therefore it does not exist.
      R. Sandoval Keeler

      • Another Alum says:

        Colorblindness is the ideal that we strive to attain. No ideaI is ever attainable, by definition. think you are using the term in a different way than how it is conventionally used by the majority of the population. It seems like you are trying to create controversy where it does not exist.

    • Jade Ferguson says:

      Please see my response to your comment below entitled “Dear Gtown Alum”

    • Another Alum says:

      I couldn’t have said it any better, Gtown Alum. A very thoughtful post.

  2. Wonderful! Thank you for writing this op-ed. We need more like this.

  3. Rosalinda Sandoval Keeler says:

    Ms. Ferguson,
    Thank you for your powerful and important piece. This is your voice as a freshman! I will be honored to read more from you. You will be a world changer.
    With gratitude,
    R. Sandoval Keeler

    • Another Alum says:

      I was very disappointed in the article. I feel sorry that she has so much anger and hope that she finds constructive ways to channel it.

  4. I had no idea the white men of Georgetown were so racist. I’ll think twice about sending my sons there.

    • Hoya Student says:

      Dear Hoyalum,

      Yes, Georgetown has a problem with racism and lack of inclusion, but know that there is a community of students standing up and speaking out against this. It is extremely valuable that parents like yourself read articles like this, discussing issues that plague our campus, but before you keep your children from attending this prestigious university, understand that Jade writing this article to tackle this issue on our campus is a step towards mending its wounds.

      This article may fail to thuroughly address how much women on campus are breaking the barriers of suppression and racism, especially by not allowing white men to treat us so poorly, but before you deprive your children of a great education know that there are women of color here willing to put up the good fight. mmlm

      Sincerely,

      A frustrated, but hopeful, Georgetown Student

  5. Jade Ferguson says:

    Besides the experiences with racism that I have endured on campus, Georgetown nonetheless has offered me amazing academic and interpersonal opportunities that I will cherish for a lifetime. The object of my article is not to discourage students from applying but to encourage students to join the Georgetown community and help us make it a more inclusive environment! 🙂

    • Another Alum says:

      A notable goal, but I would agree with some that your effort was poorly executed. Your piece seemed to be more of a rant instead of an effort to start a constructive discourse. I’m sure that is not what you intended, but it came across that way nonetheless.

  6. Illuminated Alum says:

    “I understand that you may be surprised with you eventually – inevitably – find yourself falling off the high horse of white privilege”? This is the least contructive and immature opinion piece I have ever read and shows zero interest toward the goals of society regarding diversity & inclusion (which the majority of white males champion (believe it or not). Are all jocks dumb? Are all white males racist? Are all African Americans “thugs”? Are all Asians good at math? Are all Muslims terrorists? Of course not.

    A bit of advice to: don’t generalize and don’t ever, ever cheer for the demise of an entire people. You – and society – will be better off as a result.

    How can we ever expect progress otherwise?

    • Jade Ferguson says:

      Dear Illuminated Alum:

      Thank you so much for your comments on my recent opinion article.

      From the tone of your comments, it appears that you completely missed the point of my article. Among other things, I never said (or even implied) that “all white males [are] racist.”

      In my humble opinion, dismantling remnants of America’s racist past, which includes addressing instances of remaining white male privilege, represents the first steps on the road that leads toward true diversity and inclusion.

      Lastly, I find it extremely interesting (and telling) that you believe if/when white males fall “off the high horse of white privilege” that this would represent “the demise of an entire people.” Wow!!! You seem so mentally segregated and afraid. I actually feel sorry for you. These “unilluminated” words make you sound like a racial dinosaur, i.e., a racist of the distant past, who was exceedingly afraid of an African-American uprising due to the way they were being treated. I do not wish for your “demise.” I do not wish for uprising. As my article stated: you don’t need to be afraid because “the truly inclusive community that people like me are…[peacefully] building has a place for everyone – including you.” I hope one day you will wake up and help me build this community.

    • Another Alum says:

      I agree with Illuminated Alum. The author of the piece appeared very confrontational and full of simmering anger. It was not a well executed effort if it was intended to be a constructive piece for further dialogue.

  7. Dear Jade,

    You raise some valid points, at times nuanced, but essential to talk about in order for our society to progress. Privilege is a thing, we all come from different backgrounds and it’s important to recognize that some of us have more experience in some subject matter than others, we may have had more resources as a child and therefore got better education, or didn’t have to worry about things that say a child who was helping mom or dad pay the bills had to worry about. I accept this and recognize when I am more fortunate than others.

    Racism also exists and is highly prevalent in our country and around the world. It is true that black people have a long history of oppression in our country and I also recognize this, as it is still applicable in many situations such as police brutality, voter fraud, incarceration, etc…I also recognize my “privilege” as a white male not having to go through the societal lense of a POC that would have to endure these stressors.

    I however respectfully disagree with the remainder of your material. Privilege cannot be grouped into this “white” vs black. By doing this you associate groups with victimhood and take away the recognition of actual victims of oppression from our society. In my case I was born to a family where 3/4 of our family tree fled from persecution, left stateless and had to find a new country. Sorry if this kills your idea of historical white privilege but they all happened to be white. When they got to america one of my great-grandparents found a job as a hat maker and the other a butcher at a local deli, the epitome of privilege, yes? They had zero money when they arrived by the way, and were refused into many societal organizations, public gatherings, all due to their ethnicity and immigrants status.

    My point here is that you cannot categorize “white” privilege or white men as homogenous, we, just like you come from diverse background and you never know what is behind our white skin. I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that everything in this article regarding the idiots that called you the n-word, fetishization, etc did happen. I’ll stand by you and say that’s messed up, and maybe we need to educate people more on being less culturally insensitive. But by grouping such a diverse group of people into this narrow category and saying we are all more privileged that whatever group is extremely false.

    I am very priveledged in many aspects of life and I recognize this, but I don’t let history define who I am. The notion of “Dear white men of Georgetown” is something I was highly offended by though. Thank you for the generalization.

    • Jade Ferguson says:

      Dear Anonymous:

      Thank you so much for your comments on my recent opinion article.

      I’m happy to hear that you agreed with some of my points but sad to hear that you were “highly offended” by the title: “Dear White Men of Georgetown.” Please realize that my article originally stated that my words were mostly directed toward white male republicans and conservatives, but this distinction was edited out due to space constraints.

      You wrote, “privilege cannot be grouped into…white vs. black.” I humbly disagree. In American society, nearly everything is classified into compartments. There are many different types of privileges, including class privileges and racial privileges. And unfortunately, many of the racial privileges that continue to exist in America can be grouped into the category of “white on black.” You mentioned that “3/4 of [your] family…fled from persecution…and had to find a new country.” I’m so sorry that your family endured these hardships, but these occurrences do not (as you wrote) kill my “idea of historical white privilege.” These occurrences exist alongside/in addition to “historical [and modern-day] white privilege.”

      Why is it so difficult for some white males to admit that white privilege continues to exist in America? I suppose, if more white males could grasp these concepts, we would not still be contending with these race-related problems. Nonetheless, undoubtedly in America, there are class segregation signs everywhere. Poor people simply can’t go to certain places. In America, class segregation is accepted by nearly everyone. Similarly, in America, racial privileges for white males are also ubiquitous. White male employment networks ensure that white males continue to hold a disproportionate number of high-wage managerial jobs. America’s justice system still harbors too many racial discrepancies, such as mostly-white “affluenza-related” acquittals vs. mostly-black wrongful arrests/convictions. Well-documented racial disparities in America’s school systems, healthcare, air quality, emergency response, pain treatment…on and on continue to exist. There are still too many black-is-bad English words, such as “blackballed,” “blackmail”…and accepted anti-black definitions of the words “black” and “white.” Various surveys indicate a huge portion of white-America childishly believes a black man should never play the roles of Superman, Captain America, Santa Clause and so forth. I could go on and on and on…
      Some white males (mostly democrats and liberals) choose not to blatantly take advantage of (or perpetuate) these privileges. That is, some white males don’t actively partake of the fruits of privilege, but the fruits still exist, and they need to be addressed.

  8. Thank you for writing this and for your bravery and willingness to speak about your experience and undoubtedly, the experience of other minorities at Georgetown. I work at the university and hope this piece can be used to engage in a dialogue about anti-racism and inclusivity across campus.

  9. Jade Ferguson says:

    Dear Gtown Alum:

    Thank you so much for your comments on my recent opinion article. My intention was to spark a conversation and I’m happy that you are brave enough to join this conversation. Following are my responses to some of the points you brought up.

    First-of-all, from the few words that you shared, you seem like an outstanding citizen. I feel confident in saying: if you were here now, you would not be the type of guy that would display the behaviors that I’m currently contending with at Georgetown.

    I’m so very happy to hear that, while you attended Georgetown, you “didn’t see color.” I understand what you are trying to say, and I wish more people were like you in this regard. But even better, while everyone with functioning eyes (including you) sees color, I would hope that all the different colors/races could one day be appreciated equally because they all contribute to the wonderful diversity that exists within the world.

    I also somewhat agree with you that many “who attend Georgetown are [economically] privileged” compared to many other people throughout the world. However, my article was attempting to shed light on my personal experiences at Georgetown amongst all the economically privileged students, including me. And, much of the Georgetown student body is somewhat economically “privileged,” many of the white males — mostly republicans and conservatives — also enjoy/exploit many other privileges (so-called “white privileges”) that too often repress, harass and tyrannize me.

    Many of the statements within your comment sound great; really great; like, “pie-in-the-sky” great. However, with all due respect, many of your statements don’t apply to most people’s experiences in the real world. More to the point, many of your statements do not remotely address the issues brought forward within my article. Following are a few examples. While current “admission statistics” provide data regarding who attends Georgetown, I do not believe “admission statistics” shed any light whatsoever on the nuanced experiences that are endured by individual students at Georgetown, including me. You wrote, “People come in all colors… [even though you supposedly don’t see color.] White male has nothing to do with someone behaving poorly towards someone else. Jerks come in all…colors too.” Again, I agree with this, but the jerk-like behaviors that I cited in my article are behaviors that are conducted mostly by white (republican and conservative) males. To get to the root of any problem, surely you would agree that one must first identify the source of the problem. And most glaringly, you wrote that you are a “white male living in an integrated world where no such thoughts or actions occur.” In my humble opinion, this statement profoundly speaks to the compartmentalized privileges that you maintain. You apparently live in a bubble where you see no racial evil; you hear no sexist evil…while too many others — like me — are facing a lot of PAIN.

    Regarding the so-called “secret” that you shared with me, you wrote, all people, “including…white males…are just like any other human, regardless of race… They all feel a sense of insecurity…” Once again, I agree with you. This is no secret. But what I’m trying to impress upon you is this: while everyone is dealing with problems, issues and insecurities, I (and too many others like me) are also dealing with added hardships. In other words, it’s hard enough just being human in this modern so-called “dog-eat-dog” world. But it’s even harder being an African-American woman from my perspective, too often due to the privilege-exploiting actions of white males. This additional hardship is unnecessary and it needs to be addressed if we ever want to exist in a truly “integrated world.”

    • Dear Jade,

      I sincerely appreciate your reply and your willingness to encourage a dialog. I think that a central purpose of university life should be to engage in exchanges of ideas and perspectives, and I don’t like when either conservatives or liberals impede such discussions. Dred Scott was overturned because of such dialog. I think that humans only make social progress through communication.

      While there is much that still can be said on the issues that we have discussed, in the space that we have, I offer you these thoughts:

      First, your letter was directed to “white men of Georgetown” and not just the jerks that treated you poorly. If we are ever going to combat racism, or any other type of prejudice then we need to avoid stereotyping people.

      My point was not to take away from your experiences, but rather highlight that there is a better way to address the situation than generalize about a portion of the population. Not all white males are racist, nor are all conservatives. Wealth and social status has less to do with the situation as well. Put simply, jerks are jerks regardless of classification and should be called out as such, but not at the expense of those who have done nothing wrong.

      Secondly, I wrote because in light of your negative experiences, I wanted to offer you something positive. Life is hard for everyone and the struggle to see the good in people can be overshadowed by the evil that we see on a daily basis. I was trying to encourage you to see the good in others because that is where progress is made. While making this point, I am quite surprised at the amount of vitriol directed toward my post.

      Racism occurs out of fear and a lack of understanding. While there is nothing wrong with being strong and confident, militancy solves very little in the racial divide.

      Some of the responses to these posts have been quite amusing. The authors assume many things that are incorrect about me and my world. I didn’t grow up wealthy…far from it. Single parent home with just enough to get by. Georgetown was a blessing that changed my life, not just because of the education that I received, but because of the people that I got to meet and the experiences that I shared.

      One more thing about that single parent…her job was to teach reading in some of the worst schools in the inner city in the major city that we lived in. She could have had better assignments in nicer places, but she thought that it was important to help young, underprivileged children learn an essential life skill that they were lacking. She taught us that people and not color matter.

      Does color exist….sure. Does it matter to me…not at all. I was raised to view the individual, not the color of their skin. I’m not sure why anyone thinks that I would be threatened by a strong female, regardless of color. On the contrary, I was raised by one.

      I never liked when someone in class did something wrong and the entire class was punished for it. Your original letter takes an entire class of people to task for something(s) that a select few perpetrated. I don’t think that is any more fair than discriminating against someone based upon their sex or the color of their skin.

      If someone does something wrong, they should be called out for it and held accountable. A group shouldn’t have to pay the price for the errors of an individual. That’s how we find ourselves in the position that we are in. For true change to occur, the thought process must change, not repeat.

      Don’t let the bad experiences that you have had cloud your judgment about all of those around you. There are a lot of people around you that are good people. Some make life look easy when it isn’t easy for them. I promise you this, many of your Georgetown classmates are struggling with personal issues that they don’t share or make public. Your struggle is unique to you, but struggling is not unique. Don’t let your struggle cloud your judgment of others. Life is too short. To have a fulfilling life, we need to see the good in others.

      Again, I wish you good fortune and hope that you will enjoy your time at Georgetown.

  10. Exactly, well said.

    To the author, and the person who criticized the very first comment, which happened to be polite and professional: you cannot put yourself out there with an *opinion* piece and then not expect any pushback on your thoughts. There is a reason it is opinion and not fact, although you are just as entitled to your opinion as is anyone else to theirs. The whole idea for doing this on an open forum is to encourage discussion.

    We all need to respond to reasoned ideas with reasoned ideas, and not ad hominem. We must also do our best to respond to ad hominem, when leveled at us, with reasoned ideas. Most of all, we must not assume the worst in each other, thinking that our classmates are walking around campus hating us for what we are because of simply who we are.

  11. Trans Advocate says:

    This editorial had potential but in the end blurred into the same privilege the author seeks to dismantle.

    The author could have relayed her experience to talk about how it is literally hundreds of times harder for trans women of color, of whom 1 out of 12 are murdered every year. Instead or making space for the marginalized groups who need it, the author opted to continue to see the world through a profoundly cisgendered and heteronormative lens and without regard for the intersectional identities of gender identity, immigration status, or disability. Many of these groups face systemic barriers from getting into institutions such as this one, and we need to be more careful and inclusive when talking about privilege.

  12. Gerald Scott says:

    My elder son served with the Marines in Iraq. His father served in Viet Nam twice. His Grandfather was in the Second World War and his Great Grand Father in the First. And more as we go back into American History. You will therefore perhaps excuse me if I am not much disturbed by a life (at this early and not particularly well-instructed point) marred by “inconspicuous microaggressions.” Be grateful, exceedingly grateful, if “microagressions” are all one faces.

    • Jade Ferguson says:

      Dear Gerald Scott:

      Thank you so much for your comments on my recent opinion article. I would also like to thank your son and your predecessors for their service to this country.

      Please know that my father also served in the U.S. Navy in the 1990s during the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Somalia wars. But unfortunately for him, the racism that he endured from his U.S. Navy superiors was ever-present; it haunted him throughout his naval career and stunted his advancement. My grandfather served in the U.S. Army during World War II. According to him, his U.S. Army superiors often treated him worse than they treated certain German prisoners of war. According to various genealogical sources, my great-great grandfather “served” as a slave on a plantation in North Carolina. So, although your predecessors and mine all served this country — with slavery being an ultimate form of service — my predecessors had far, far different experiences due to white-American racism and privilege.

      Now, I will address the crux of your comment. I hope you realize your words glaringly prove my opinions to be valid. Your words correctly assume that many African-Americans, including me, continue to endure race-related “microaggressions.” In fact, you telling me that I’m “not particularly well-instructed” represents you personally exhibiting “microaggression” towards me.
      Moreover, your somewhat threatening words take it even further. You ludicrously believe I should be “exceedingly grateful” that many African-Americans, including me, continue to endure race-related “microaggressions.” Your words incorrectly imply that “microaggressions” are the only race-related aggressions that African-Americans continue to endure, as if police profiling, police brutality, American Neo-Nazis, the KKK…on and on don’t continue to exist. Your words overlook studies such as “Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” which found that “job applicants with white-sounding names are 50-percent more-likely to get called for an interview than applicants with African-American-sounding names.” It’s hard enough finding a job and making a living in America without contending with all this additional, unnecessary racial madness! This continuing racism stunts African-American employment, income, progress, lifestyles, attitudes, hopes, dreams… Unfortunately, “microaggressions” are just the tip of a continuing iceberg of resistance to the advancement of African-Americans.
      How long will so many African-Americans continue to endure different experiences in America due to white-American racism and privilege? I sense you want me to just sit down and shut up, but I could never be “grateful” for these circumstances. I hope one day you realize that telling me to be “grateful” for these circumstances ultimately perpetuates them.

  13. Another Alum says:

    Gtown Alum’s comments were extremely thoughtful. I am disappointed by the student comments here. Clearly, there is an intellectual between the students and alumni….I guess that is why the students are at school!

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