To the Editor:
More than anything, I would like to thank Jenn Schaffer for writing her article on diversity two weeks ago. She completely reconfirmed my beliefs that we have an incredible amount of progress yet to make in the field of educating people about equality, civil justice and living in a racially pluralistic society. I was shocked and disappointed at her obvious naïvete about the state of the American general public in terms of racism, especially knowing that she herself is a young woman of multiracial heritage. Maybe on the playgrounds of Phillips Academy or in her hometown there is the multiracial utopia of which she speaks, but on my playground, there were racial slurs and jeers about my skin color—and I am far from considering that acceptable or “the past,” and I am not alone. The struggle for equality is being fought everywhere, and just because she is not burned by the hatred of racism herself, does not mean it has been extinguished. Yes, we here at PA are educated to see beyond skin color and religious affiliations, but that is widely not the case. Her flippant declaration that “the times are a changin’” blew my mind as recollections of being called [a racial epithet] or the looks of disgust directed at my white mother and me, her biracial brown baby, flashed across my memory. My recent memory. My memory of this so called “balanced” generation that she has outlined. Call mine a sob story if you would like, but I did cry. And I still do. Who is she to marginalize those experiences by labeling them “sob stories?” They are not hers to judge. They are given to her in hopes that she will benefit in some way—and it seems like those who have shared their stories and bared their hearts are failing her in that respect.
The reason that racism remains an issue is very much due to people like herself, the sheltered or oblivious of our community who for some reason feel they have any right to declare the end of battles they have never had to fight. She may have had struggles to overcome, but my struggle is not her struggle, and for her to pronounce my fight for equality and my desire to speak out about it a desire without validity is outrageous and insulting.
I spend hours preparing Abbot grants to get the money that she seems to think CAMD is handed on a silver platter, and I do that so that one day we can live in the paradise she has made our society out to be. Our future is nothing without the knowledge of our pasts, the pasts that aren’t that long gone, and that will, and are repeating themselves. Look at the recent activity on college campuses, look at the Jena 6, look around a little bit and it becomes apparent how misinformed her statements were. I, too, have a dream, and it is that one day people like Jenn Schaffer will realize that there is still so much yet to be done, and will join the effort to make it right.
Britney Achin ’08