April 8, 2022 | LIFE | By Mahnoor Rehman | Illustration by Iris Guo
As a student body, Colorado College students take pride in calling ourselves an institution that is working towards anti-racism and an environment welcoming for people from all backgrounds. The current era, especially driven by the digital age, has seen a rise in political awareness originating in almost all social spaces.
The questions and discussions about privilege, race, class, and gender are increasing in all institutions. People have begun to describe their wokeness through these conversations, especially at liberal arts colleges. This wokeness comes with social responsibility, and also a sense of superiority because it includes the assumption that we know better than the people around us.
As we dive into certain issues regarding political correctness, there is an exceptional amount of emphasis on awareness and knowledge. However, much less attention is given to the procedures of solution-making and justice provision. Although awareness is an absolute necessity, without actions and solutions the same awareness might just turn into a recurring culture of critique without any actual impact.
While words like inclusivity, diversity and equity are being used in multiple spaces, their actual implications for our community are minimal. At times, these words can even be harmful, as people identifying with certain minority groups are constantly being tokenized in the name of diversity, just to become part of purely rich and white spaces.
Classroom conversations on campus frequently consist of heated discussions about issues of representation and rights. The professors and the students find it politically correct to argue about the rights of other people who are not even represented in the class groups.
While there is constant critique of white supremacy, racism, ableism, and classism in classes and club discussions, these conversations rarely end up moving outside of the classroom but again are dispersed in the same systems that we are trying to fight.
Students are chatting about abolishing the systems in the library with their laptops sitting in front of them that have stickers saying, “justice for all” and “boycott ________”. However, when asked to join rallies and show up for protests, less than a quarter of the student population shows up.
Often the students from minority groups are expected to be political and educate people and represent the institution as antiracist and more inclusive. This leaves students feeling responsible, guilty, isolated and even burnt out by all the unpaid labor they must take on. And even after putting in all that effort, the most they get is some words of support rather than concrete policies and steps for improvement. This has been a common trend in many colleges and finally the student body and groups who are speaking about this unfair treatment.
If all of it or any of the above-mentioned ideas of wokeness sound familiar to you, remember that it is time to do better. Pay reparations and act towards justice rather than speak about it in the same classes with the same people in the same institution that might be standing on the same system you are trying to abolish.