Dear Alex McKenzie,
As a white person, I applaud you for your most recent article on white privilege (“Of race and privilege,” Commentary, February 14, page 7). It was personal, respectful, well-written, and, unlike some of the other articles published on that topic over the past few months, didn’t make me feel like I was guilty of some sort of hate crime because I happened to be born white. If your goal was to provide a firm starting point for a discussion on ridding our school of racism, I would say mission accomplished.
Unfortunately, a starting point is all it is. You repeat the oft-heard refrain that whiteness and racialization need to be “deconstructed,” as if all white people are supposed to know exactly what that means and how to accomplish it. I’ll let you in on a secret: we don’t. The average white person would probably guess that it involves moving toward a “post-racial” or “colour-blind” society, but you make it abundantly clear that that is not what you want. If Christiana Collison is to be believed, even the “safe space” policy is oppressive (“Complicating Space,” Commentary, February 4, page 7).
Clearly, white people don’t know what people of colour want. As such, you’re going to have to tell us. I know that sounds patronizing, but if you really want white McGillians to start challenging privilege, you have to at least point us in the right direction. I’d love to ally myself with you in this struggle, but I honestly don’t know how.
U2 Chemical Engineering