I am writing in regards to your recent article about the 2009-2010 student survey commissioned by SSMU. The article states “Within the Equity and Diversity section of the report, Shortt also reported that, although only nine per cent of white students felt, ‘or have been made to feel, uncomfortable on campus due to [their] race or ethnicity’ – compared to 36 per cent of non-white students – it is important to focus on their feeling included on campus.” The article then notes that some white students might feel excluded from groups “focused on a specific ethnic group or gender.”
What I don’t understand about this section of the article is why the focus is on nine per cent of white students feeling uncomfortable and NOT on the fact that 36 per cent of non-white students feel or have been made to feel uncomfortable. This emphasis is disturbing for a number of reasons.
First, it blatantly privileges the comforts of white students over students of colour. What makes this even crazier is that the statistics of the two are vastly different (nine per cent versus 36 per cent), and yet the worry is still about the smaller minority of white students. I am not trying to say we should dismiss their concerns, but why the hell isn’t there a whole article about the fact that one third of students of colour have felt uncomfortable about their race or ethnicity at McGill?!
Thanks for hearing me out, Daily!
B.A. (Honours) 2010, International Development Studies
QPIRG McGill Board Member
Letter received January 21