Culture

Students Wearing White Pins as a Reminder of the ‘Oppression’ of White Privilege

(Photo: Andrey Popov/Dreamstime)
A group of College Democrats thinks the pins will help spark conversations about race.

Students at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania are wearing white, puzzle-piece-shaped pins for a month to remind themselves of white privilege.

The project is being sponsored by the school’s chapter of College Democrats, which will continue to distribute the pins until the end of the semester and hopes to have at least 100 students committed to wearing them by February 17, according to an article in Lancaster Online.

“This project will encourage people to have conversations about race and how their inherent white privilege has a part in the systematic oppression of minorities — whether or not they purposefully participate in the system,” Aileen Ida, president of the Elizabethtown College Democrats, told Lancaster Online

In an interview with the College Fix, Ida made sure to clarify that these pins are not just for white people, that students of other racial backgrounds are welcome to wear them as well. 

First of all, let me say that wearing a damn pin is about as lazy a form of “activism” as I can possibly think of. It’s even worse than hashtag activism, because at least hashtag activism requires you to move your fingers around to type.

Second of all, I highly doubt that any of this is going to accomplish anything. After all, the kind of person who would wear a pin is the kind of person who is probably spending all day thinking about white privilege anyway — and I’d estimate that, throughout the course of the campaign, approximately zero non-pin-wearing people are going to walk up to the pin-wearing people students and say, “Hey, I see that pin there, please tell me more about systemic oppression.” Why? Because by wearing the pins, the pin-wearing people will have revealed themselves as being the kind of people who are the most annoying to talk to, the kind of people you want to avoid unless you want to risk your Taco Tuesday party being reported to the administration for cultural insensitivity. 

The truth is, wearing a pin like this seems like less of a way to enact real change, and more of a way to look like someone who cares about enacting real change — “Look at me! I’m wearing a pin! I’m so sensitive and culturally aware!” — without actually having to do anything at all.

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