Campus Reform | Student paper opinion editor: ‘spring break reminded me I can’t trust white people’

Student paper opinion editor: ‘spring break reminded me I can’t trust white people’

The opinion editor of the University of Washington’s student newspaper wrote that “spring break reminded me I can’t trust white people.”

After his classmates visited Mexico and Hawaii despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote that “even the white people you consider your ‘friends’ in this space, even those who are majoring in the ‘progressive’ departments, are still not to be trusted.”

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After several of his classmates traveled for spring break, the opinion editor of the University of Washington’s student newspaper wrote that “spring break reminded me I can’t trust white people.”

“It wasn’t enough for the whites of Greek Row to throw summer super-spreader parties that endangered the community as protests for Black lives amid the death of George Floyd occurred mere blocks from them,” wrote Andre Lawes Menchavez of The Daily in an op-ed. “Spring break came, and in typical fashion, my white peers at this university continued to disappoint me with their performative activism and how they followed in the footsteps of their violent white supremacist ancestors — they travelled to Hawaii and Mexico, endangering the lives of local communities for the sake of their own aesthetic pleasure.”

“They’re not ashamed to post about their colonial pursuits on their feed, either,” he added. “A (now former) friend of mine posted an Instagram story of her with a group of white UW Greek life folks taking shots at a restaurant in Mexico, maskless, as a masked server frantically tried to clear off their table.”

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Based on this experience, Menchavez learned that “Even the white people you consider your ‘friends’ in this space, even those who are majoring in the ‘progressive’ departments, are still not to be trusted.”

“You say you love and respect my voice as an abolitionist and decolonial queer activist of color, but your actions prove you to be cut from the same raggedy cloth as the nasty colonizers I despise for murdering and assimilating my ancestors,” he wrote.

Menchavez recounted that white women in his race relations seminar “actively led our discussions on topics like opting for community care, implementing restorative justice, and condemning white supremacy.” Weeks later, however, they “hopped on flights to Mexico and Hawaii.”

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Noting that “locals of Hawaii are even calling their acts of tourism a form of terrorism that is endangering their communities,” Menchavez said that “whites will continue to do what whites have always done in our history — create carnage at the expense of minority communities in order to obtain their own selfish desires.”

“I’m tired of being gaslit about my distrust in the white folks around me, and although I disapprove of my colonizer peers for their spring break plans, at least I now have a reminder of who and what I must fight against to achieve anti-racism in my communities,” he concluded. “Just like my ancestors, I will take note of colonial white supremacist forces pushing against the collective healing and liberation of me and my community, and I am not afraid to stoke the fires that I’ll ignite on my own to burn white supremacy to the ground.”

Campus Reform reached out to Menchavez and the University of Washington for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft