WELLESLEY, MA – Without a doubt, uncontrollable, inherent characteristics, such as race, gender, and sexuality, are taking more of a stronghold in political, economic, social, religious, artistic, and intellectual scenes.
Shows like “Dear White People” are being popularized as satire of white culture is spreading on social media platforms; and, especially with a president as controversial as Donald Trump, racism, sexism, and other -ism’s are being placed at the forefront of national and international forums.
Some educated, privileged, and self-aware people are already heading down the morally fortuitous path of being socially conscious and being mindful allies to minorities. The world--especially the current millennial generation--is promoting a relatively progressive path for the most part. After all, terms like microinvalidations are almost becoming vernacular, and social justice is becoming increasingly prominent on international agendas.
However, those who lack privileges must encounter transgressions as privileged and unaware people perpetuate racism, sexism, etc. African American people can face non-Black people of color (NBPOC) and white people appropriating African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and culture in general.
People who are not straight can hear their own sexualities used in a derogatory, colloquial manner. People who do not adhere by gender norms can come across assumptions and a lack of acceptance. Consequently, the existence of policies like affirmative action is the least that institutions can do to recognize the discrimination that minorities are forced to endure.
The justification behind policies like affirmative action holds true amongst all institutions--whether it be college campus Greek life, business administrations, or college campuses themselves. As bastions of authority, institutions need to acknowledge that discrimination limits minorities from reaching certain standards; and, institutions must recognize that many of these standards within themselves are created by majorities.
So, these standards are irrelevant in the first place. For example, the University of Mississippi--popularly known as “Ole Miss”--is commonly viewed as a Greek life-heavy institution--with 42% of Ole Miss students participating in Greek life. However, even the website, “Total Frat Move” cites Ole Miss as being the number one university for Greek life because of its “large plantation-style houses” and “belles.”
With a Greek culture reminiscent of the South’s dark history of slavery, it is no wonder that all of their top five sororities and fraternities--according to the website, Greek Rank--blatantly feature people with stereotypically white features on their social media (with the exception of a token someone with minority features).
Ole Miss’s standards of excellence in Greek life align with historically European, white standards. The white majority clearly dictates the standards of white supremacy in Ole Miss’s Greek life. This is pronounced in the fact that Ole Miss’s actual ethnic makeup is 76.2% white, 14.3% Black, and 9.5% other ethnicities--which is undoubtedly not the makeup of Greek organizations.
Not only should institutions like Greek life take on affirmative action for social justice-related motives, but they should do so to enhance the quality of the institution. Especially in classroom of workplace settings, diversity is crucial. Completely unrelated experiences mold distinct people, and this leads to unique perspectives.
Having disparate, but juxtaposed thoughts and actions could influence something as seemingly arbitrary as music. It could expose people to horizons that they never knew existed before. Especially in environments filled to the brim with privilege and a lack of awareness, minorities must carry the burden of indignant silence, acquiescence, or harsh, inadvertent confrontation.
As glorified pillars of power, institutions must at least take on the responsibility of ameliorating themselves and moving towards a progressive future. They must respect minorities and acknowledge institutionalized discrimination and prejudice. Affirmative action and like policies should not be questioned. They are unequivocally justified.