Emma’s Dilemma: Whites don’t have all the power

The+words+%22WHITE+POWER%22+are+acratched+onto+a+desk+chair+in+an+engineering+classroom.+It+shows+the+lack+of+racial+tolerance+that+exists+in+the+Zone.

Photo by Emma Coleman

The words "WHITE POWER" are acratched onto a desk chair in an engineering classroom. It shows the lack of racial tolerance that exists in the Zone.

Emma Coleman, Editor-in-Chief

Last year, in the spring of my junior year, I walked into my engineering classroom and saw this: a chair with the words “WHITE POWER” scratched hastily on the seat with black marker.

Is it me, or is that a little racist?

Yes, we live in Hereford, which is predominately and undeniably white. According to staff writer Sam Turnbaugh’s article on Black History published in our Diversity Issue earlier this year, “enrollment records indicate that the school is roughly 89% white.”

There’s no denying that fact. However, there is no need to magnify that fact with vandalism. And there is no need to suggest that whites hold more power in the Hereford environment. Have you ever been to a home track meet? We are consistently annihilated in the sprints. Just saying.

I think it is safe to say that in any environment “white power” is only self-proclaimed. It’s easy to put each other into a hierarchy when we are split up by school, zone, or region, which is why high schools each have their own ethnic stereotypes and reputations. Once we get out of high school, however, we all are exposed to greater diversity.

At University of Maryland – College Park, only 52.1% of undergrads are white, with Asians constituting another 15.9%, according to collegefactual.com. The undergraduates at Towson University are 63.2% white and 16.1% black. Even colleges and universities not twenty minutes down the road display greater ethnic diversity than there is here in the Zone.

So, what?

When we head off to college, some of us in a couple of months, others in a couple of years, we will be exposed to people and cultures that we have not yet experienced. That is a good thing.

It seems that we sometimes become too comfortable with how similar we are to each other. We all fit in the same category, the same niche, the same little bubble. Yes, it’s a binding force for the community – it pays to be so closely knit. But it’s harder to let others into that community, and into our circle of acquaintances and colleagues, when the idea of “white power” has begun to solidify in our brains.

I blame no one. Hereford is what it is. But don’t be surprised when you suddenly realize that the real world is different. Whites don’t have all the power.

Soon after I took the picture of that chair, it disappeared from the engineering classroom. I guess someone decided it was wrong.