Earlier this week, the story broke that a “Top 10 Ways to Get Away with Rape” flyer had been found at Miami University. This flyer was published and put around campus anonymously. It seemed like an isolated incident but it seems that copycat students at Mercer University thought it would be good to publish another offensive poster, “White History Month.”
The “White History Month” flyer stated that white students did not have their own cultural groups on campus, since others would think that such clubs would be racist. The flyer also demanded that whites get two history months, since there is so much white history to cover — that statement alone shows the inherent problem with the flyer. Clearly, the authors of the flyer knew that the history taught in US schools already has a Euro-centric/Western bias to it. Our government put these months like Black History Month, Women’s History Month and Hispanic American Heritage Month in place so that we could learn more about these minority groups. When students like these poke fun at attempts at multiculturalism, they belittle the efforts of inclusivity and diversity that most campuses set out to foster on campus.
We are all strengthened by learning things through a different viewpoint and historical lens. We have these other history months to strengthen our shared experiences as Americans by including other groups but its not at the expense of the majority group. In many universities in the US, whites are still in the majority, and the majority rarely has to fight to get their voice heard. College campuses have these cultural and gender-based groups, so that all minority students can make sure their voices are heard as well.
The bright side of the article was that 40 students got together to protest the insensitivity on their campus. Whoever these anonymous flyer makers were, I hope they get the message their classmates and the media were sending them. Their humor was grossly misplaced and no one found their prank funny. One good thing is their flyer did is spark conversation on cultural sensitivity. I hope this is the end of these type of flyers propping up on campuses.