Scholarship News

Should White Boys Be Heard?


February 19, 2019 4:28 PM
by Susan Dutca
A Dickinson College senior did not foresee her essay in the student paper titled Should White Boys Still Be Allowed to Talk? going viral online or appearing national organizations' websites. In her guest editorial, Leda Fisher argues that white, male students are taking over discussions of feminism, LGBTQ and race that she “feels are better voiced by women and minority students.

A Dickinson College senior did not foresee her essay in the student paper titled "Should White Boys Still Be Allowed to Talk?" going viral online or appearing national organizations' websites. In her guest editorial, Leda Fisher argues that white, male students are taking over discussions of feminism, LGBTQ and race that she “feels are better voiced by women and minority students."

The essay begins with the question: "When you ask a question at a lecture, is it secretly just your opinion ending with the phrase 'do you agree?'" If you answered yes, your name must be "something like Jake, or Chad, or Alex, and you were taught that your voice is the most important in every room.” According to Fisher, there is an "endless line of white boys waiting to share their opinions on the state of feminism in America, whether the LGBTQ+ population finally has enough rights, the merits of capitalism, etc." without proper personal knowledge or experience.

The piece closes with: "so, should white boys still be allowed to share their 'opinions'? Should we be forced to listen? In honor of Black History Month, I'm gonna go with a hell no. Go find someone whose perspective has been buried or ignored and listen to them, raise up their voice. To all the Chrises, Ryans, Olivers and Seans out there, I encourage you to critically examine where your viewpoints come from, read a text that challenges you without looking for reasons to dismiss it and maybe try listening from now on."

Many news outlets criticized the piece and hundreds signed a petition calling for the college to expel her and accused her of having “spewed censorship, bigotry, racism and hatred."

Hundreds of comments to The Dickinsonian claimed Fisher was "trying to silence white men from speaking in class, and that view was racist." Others said her use of "stereotypical white names was demeaning." Some Dickinson students, on the other hand, have followed Fisher's piece with essays of their own, "defending her and saying that she was never truly trying to prevent white male students from talking in class, only to use satire and rhetoric to get them to think." Do you personally agree with the essay? Why or why not?

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