Students protest 'centrality of whiteness' at Macalester

A Macalester College student organization referring to itself as “Stop White Noise” recently held a moment of silence to protest “the centrality of whiteness and Eurocentrism on campus.”

“The intent of this action is to raise awareness of the space whiteness takes up in our classrooms and curriculum,” a website created for the organization explains, even revealing that protesters would be “entering various classrooms” with “the permission of professors.”

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According to the protest group’s website, members hoped to create an element of “discomfort” in order to “encourage reflection on the overwhelming presence of white dominated spaces on campus,” noting that its purpose was to “emphasize the importance of silence over dialogue” because dialogue tends to be “co-opted” by whites.

“White centrality presents itself in numerous ways in academic spaces, a troubling one being the over-representation of white voices in discussion and content,” the organization’s website explains, adding that the moment of silence would recreate the “experience of discomfort felt when constantly being silenced” since “dialogue about white supremacy” is “often co-opted by white voices and institutions anyway.”

Initially, the protesters had intended to require only “white students and professors” to be silent, but ultimately decided that approach because it would “put undue pressure on students of color” who “may be the only PoC [person of color]” in class.

While organizers concede that the final version of the event was still “targeted more towards white students” they also speculate that it presented “an opportunity for the entire Macalester community to reflect on how Eurocentrism and by extension whiteness has dominated the academics.”

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The demonstration didn’t sit well with everyone, however, and several Macalester students took to an anonymous platform known as “College Confessions” to scoff at the effort.

One such post, purportedly left by a minority student, ridiculed the moment of silence as “nothing more than idiotic virtue signaling,” while another anonymous writer praised an individual who apparently “played the National Anthem during the #StopWhiteNoise protest,” calling the person a “fucking legend.”

Nonetheless, organizers of the protest have indicated that they intend to hold the moment of silence annually, explaining that their ultimate goal is to achieve a “campus-wide curricula/syllabi review” that would entirely “dismantle whiteness and Eurocentrism in the classroom.”

Campus Reform reached out to Stop White Noise for additional comment on the matter, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski