Letter to the Editor: UnLearn week does not need to address prejudices against white people

Kelsey Powers is right in saying that UnLearn Week isn’t about whitepeople. However, I disagree that this means UnLearn Week shouldn’ttalk about white people or the stereotypes directed at them.

First of all, this statement implies that to “increase our knowledge of different cultures” we need only to increase our knowledge of non-white cultures. Such a statement forgets that, for a number of Calvin students, white culture is a different culture.

Furthermore, the notion that “deep-seated prejudices and stereotypes” do not exist toward white people is silly, naive, and, dare I say, a little prejudiced. Being surprised to find that a white friend can salsa is not, at its essence, very different from being surprised to find that a black friend sings opera and both are evidence of harmful assumptions. Although white people have not suffered discrimination at a systemic level, they are by no means exempt from personal prejudice. All people are susceptible to stereotyping and biases.

UnLearn Week encourages open and honest dialogue between members of different cultures. Ignoring the experiences of one culture can only harm such a dialogue. To fight all kinds of ignorance and break down all kinds of racial barriers, UnLearn Week is right to oppose all kinds of stereotypes, including those directed at white people.