Author and professor Jennine Capó Crucet intended to discuss her new book My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education to students at Georgia Southern University students to discuss white privilege. However, some of the white students did not agree with her point of view and retaliated by burning her book.
so after our FYE book’s author came to my school to talk about it… these people decide to burn her book because “it’s bad and that race is bad to talk about”. white people need to realize that they are the problem and that their privilege is toxic. author is a woman of color. pic.twitter.com/HiX4lGT7Ci
— elaina💌 (@elainaaan) October 10, 2019
Capó Crucet, New York Times contributor and professor at the University of Nebraska, was the guest speaker at Georgia Southern University on Wednesday as part of the year’s First-Year Experience (FYE) lecture.
Her 2016 book, Make Your Home Among Strangers, is required reading for FYE students, the college paper reported, so her content should have been of no surprise to the students. The event turned spiteful during the Q&A portion when some of the white students questioned her and her book in regards to white privilege.
“I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged,” one student told her during the event, according to The George-Anne. “What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”
After the event, students decided to burn her book outside their dorms.
In response to this appalling incident, the school responded by saying, “While it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas.”
What DOES align with this disgusting matter is that these students that decided to burn a book written by a distinguished Latina author are proving her point about white privilege.
“I came here because I was invited, and I talked about white privilege because it’s a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question,” Crucet told the students during the Q&A.
“What’s so heartbreaking for me and what is so difficult at this moment right now is to literally have read and talked about this exact moment happening, and it’s happening again. That is why a different experience, the white experience, is centered in this talk,” she added.
Georgia Southern students burning Jennine Capó Crucet books bc she discussed white privilege is horrifying. I read MY TIME AMONG THE WHITES and it was critical for me to understand a first gen college student Cuban-American experience. Going to buy her novel ASAP.
— Allison Punch-Turner (@ajpunch) October 10, 2019
The racism and privilege that is ingrained in this area is palpable.
I moved to Savannah just a year ago to attend Savannah College of Art and Design, which is not too far from Georgia Southern University, and I felt unwelcomed instantly. This is not an exaggeration or a figment of my imagination. I’m not a stranger to Southern tradition. I lived in North Carolina for two years, and my experience there was nothing like it has been in Savannah — even while reporting about the KKK.
Just last month, we reported on another racist incent in Savannah that was shared on Twitter in which an admittedly racist white man told a Latina to stop speaking Spanish.
When I told my white husband about the incident against Capó Crucet, he said, “I’m sorry, Araceli. What can we do to counteract this kind of response?”
Honestly, I don’t have a response. How can we rectify white privilege when the people benefiting from it don’t even recognize it in themselves?