Letter to the Editor: Race Monologue Presenters

The opening remarks of Race Monologues inform the audience that the monologues spoken are not performances. They are real and vulnerable lived experiences that deserve full attention and respect from the audience. No phones, no electronic devices. 

And yet, you white students continue to disregard the wishes of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community. 

We have seen you with your laptops out, writing your Moodle posts about us during our spoken monologues. We have seen you on social media while we ask of you to listen. We have  written this to tell you how incredibly disrespectful you have been. You have insulted us. You have insulted our experiences. You have insulted our space and every BIPOC who seeks comfort in that space. 

Your audacity truly knows no limits. You entered a vulnerable space and decided to exploit the stories of pain and anger and joy for your own selfish gain. You colonizers will never change, will you? How dare you be so mannerless, so careless, so ignorant as to occupy that space and ignore the students on the only platform we are allowed on campus. You have acted disgracefully. 

To the white students who attended Race Monologues, and any other event of the Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnicity, solely for the purpose of getting extra credit from a professor: We do not want you here. You are taking up space. Please, never return to these events. If you are not willing to engage with the presenters, no, if you are not even willing to respect the presenters by giving them your full attention, then you are not welcome in these spaces anymore. 

The students are not there to make you feel like you have done your daily dose of social justice work. In fact, listening to marginalized voices is the bare minimum you can do, but you can not  even manage that. The presenters are not there for your extra credit points, to fill in the gaps of the work you should have done in the first place. The presenters are not  there for you white students. We stand on the stage for our communities, for our families and for ourselves. 

White students, you are being awarded the privilege of sitting in the audience and listening to the vulnerability of BIPOC students. You should feel honored to be in the presence of such valiant and eloquent students. If you are not, let someone who will feel that way take your seat instead. We do not need you

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