Michelle Loyd-Page speaks about racial privilege

Photo Courtesy calvin.edu

Photo Courtesy calvin.edu

Unlearn week offers plenty of opportunities to sit in and listen to a variety of speakers.  Last Tuesday, about 90 students came to the Chapel Undercroft to attend Michelle Loyd-Page’s event titled “Being a Better Ally.”  

Loyd-Page—the Dean of Multi-Cultural Affairs and a Calvin alumna herself— explicitly displayed her passion to unite people and develop an anti-racist community at Calvin and beyond.

Loyd-Page began her speech with something most people are familiar with—the golden rule of treating others the way you would want to be treated.  However, she proceeded to say that “the platinum rule” is far more important. In contrast to the golden rule, the platinum rule emphasizes a key-yet-subtle distinction: that one should treat others the way they want to be treated.  

“This guy came up to me once with a big, old turkey in his hands and I just took it like ‘Aw, thanks,’ but what if I’m a vegan—which I am,” said Loyd-Page.  “Not all black people are poor,” she continued, “a person doesn’t speak for all the experiences of their ‘people.’”  

She then proceeded to explain that everyone has both privileges and disadvantages that make up their identity, like the color of their skin, their sexual orientation or their class.

Time and time again, the privileges we possess are taken for granted.

“Conversation with self is hard, but it’s the first step to becoming a better all,” said Loyd-Page.  

“You have to hear both sides of the track,” Loyd-Page said.  “You need to leave your judgments at the door and share your vulnerabilities to walk aside someone.”

Though our society has come a long way with racial issues, there is still a long way to go.  If you’re willing to stand up and make a difference, it may be awkward.  As Loyd-Page would say, “If you’re serious about being a better ally, you’ve got to fight through the awkward stage.”