Target: Maravene Loeschke, President of Towson University
Goal: Educate the students of Maryland’s Towson University on the history of American racism and the absurdity of a white student union.
Matthew Heimbach, a student at Towson University in Baltimore, is trying to form a white pride group on campus to give white students at the university a place to discuss purported anti-white racism, and to ensure that white students are seen in a positive light. He considers the formation of his group a matter of equality, given the existence of other groups celebrating students’ ethnicities, religions, and sexual identities. Although he will be permitted to start the group as long as it does not violate any school rules, the students at this predominantly white school should be educated on the country’s history of racism and the real targets of discrimination in the United States.
The statements Heimbach has made in defense of the formation of a white pride group show his ignorance of American history. Unless they are educated on the country’s racist past, other white students at the university could find his claims convincing. Campus groups for ethnic minorities are formed as a way of addressing the problems of institutional discrimination, and to help the students overcome that discrimination. Since white students belong to the dominant group on campus and in the country, a white student union does not seem necessary. Having pride in one’s heritage or identity is usually in response to being treated as inferior, which does not apply to white people as a group.
Heimbach seems to be misinformed about how far separated the United States is from its history of segregation. He claims that white people should not be demonized or made to feel guilty about what happened centuries ago. While it probably is not helpful for whites to feel guilty for the country’s history, it is important to recognize that discrimination against ethnic minority groups was legally enforced as recently as the 1960s, and that those same groups of people still face institutional discrimination today.
As long as these students remain ignorant of the reality of past and present discrimination in the United States, they will see a white student union as valid and necessary. Once they are taught to understand the struggles of people who truly face racism, they will gain the ability to recognize their own privilege as white students. It is the duty of the university’s faculty to provide the students with the knowledge necessary to reject the formation of a white pride group.
Dear Dr. Loeschke,
One of the students at your school is working to form a white student union on campus in response to purported claims of anti-white racism. It is understandable that the group would be permitted to form so as not to deny the students their First Amendment rights. However, the formation of the group shows an ignorance of the issue of racism in the United States and its institutions, and of the shameful racist past that haunts our country.
Students at your school should be instructed on the purpose of groups such as a Black Student Union or an LGBT student group, and the difference between them and a white pride group. They must be informed that racism was legally allowed in the very recent past and that racism and discrimination persist, causing a significant negative impact in the lives of many people.
I am urging you to ensure that the students at your school are educated about racism and inequality in the United States so that they understand why forming a white student union is inappropriate and unnecessary.
[Your Name Here]
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