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Letter: Columnist can’t know what it’s like to be a young person of color

In Response to Ron Martz and William Black’s racist comments: Merriam-Webster defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race; a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles, political or social system founded on racism; racial prejudice or discrimination.

Black’s comment that immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border should be shot for not knowing answers to accounting questions could certainly be counted as racist. I would expect a journalist, as Martz is described in the local paper, to be a bit more familiar with the dictionary. I suppose he would blame his lack of understanding simple definitions on the coddling of his university experience.

As a student at the University of North Georgia, I have yet to receive any communication from Black and/or the administration that what he said was abhorrently racist, or even so much as a simple apology. The community only knows of his racist comment because of student action. Again, no action from Black suggesting any remorse was given to the students of UNG.

I don’t expect an elderly white man like Ron to understand the plights of students of color on a daily basis. However, I do expect him to at least try, as I would of any person that considers themselves decent. Admittedly, I am a white student and can never fully understand the struggle of immigrant students/students of color, but I make efforts to listen, understand and empathize. 

I understand that it is terrifying to be a young adult of color in the midst of the Trump administration, because this administration has repeatedly blown racist dog whistles and threatened their livelihoods. I struggle to remember any time in U.S. history in which white men were legitimately being attacked by any administration.

The irony of Ron’s letter is the melodrama with which he writes in order to make fun of young adults speaking out. He repeatedly talks about students not being prepared for the “real world” without seeming to realize that his skin tone has prevented him from living in the reality of any person of color his entire life. 

Furthermore, to have the audacity to act like talking about nonwhite people in history is a form of racism is laughable.

Universities are institutions created for students; they are not made for professors to use as a platform to display racist and violent viewpoints. I appreciate every professor I have had during my college experience because they understand that we are not children to be told to “shut up and go away” (as Ron would have it, thank God he no longer teaches), but rather adults that can have adult conversations with one another, even when we disagree. 

What is childish is telling people you perceive to be lesser than you to “shut up and go away,” or making racist comments about immigrants being shot.

Elizabeth Casper


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