For the next month, white students at Elizabethtown will wear white puzzle piece pins to raise awareness of their own white privilege.
The campaign was launched over the weekend by the Elizabethtown College Democrats, who say it aims to make students at the small and private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania more introspective about issues of race, especially in their predominantly white region of Lancaster County.
“Discussions about race are often perceived as being only open to people of color, but I think it is just as important for white people to partake in conversations about race,” Aileen Ida, president of the College Democrats, told The College Fix via email.
Ida said white people are continually allowing for a societal system of oppression to occur unless they work against it. The white puzzle piece pin represents racial struggles of all sorts.
“No matter how accepting someone is, that doesn’t stop them from being part of a system based on centuries of inequality,” she said, adding the campaign transcends politics.
Asked if all white students are privileged, Ida responded “yes,” but clarified that she doesn’t think all whites are socioeconomically privileged. Ida declined to cite specific examples of white privilege.
She also clarified that it’s not just white students who can wear the pins, that students of all races should take part to start a campuswide discussion that crosses racial divides.
Next month they should come by the tractor barn so they can wear something from the tool room…
Red Square commented, “This reminds me of another time when some students were told to wear puzzle pieces on their chests as a sign of alleged privilege, except then the color was yellow.”
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.