APRIL FOOL’S: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fool’s edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious about its reporting.
Members of the unofficial White Student Union (WSU) held a demonstration on Tuesday morning in an attempt to gain official recognition from the University.
Demonstrators gathered on Keyser Quad, where they carried signs with slogans like “We Aren’t Racists!” “We are a Minority!” and “White Lives Matter!”
The demonstration began with a speech from WSU founder and president Cole O’Neal. Though not a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, O’Neal wore a “Make America Great Again” hat to show his support for free speech and diversity of thought.
“We are here today to give white students at Hopkins a voice,” O’Neal said. “They have been underrepresented for too long.”
He noted the demographics of the University, saying that white undergraduates make up less than half of the student population.
“The numbers say it all!” he said. “We too are a minority.”
In his speech, O’Neal reflected on the many milestones of white people at Hopkins. The first white students were accepted in 1876, and the University’s first white president was Daniel Coit Gilman. The University’s founder was also Johns Hopkins, a white American man.
“In those days, we white students didn’t even have Homewood campus,” O’Neal said. “We’ve come so far. But we still have a long way to go.”
He discussed the diversity of the white community, noting that the ancestors of white American students come from many parts of the globe, including but not limited to England, Ireland and Scotland. O’Neal also highlighted the impact of white culture on the University.
“You may not know it, but Hopkins is built on the backs of white people and our rich, vibrant culture,” O’Neal said. “I mean, our motto is in Latin, and we speak English. And those pillars, they’re Greco-Roman! But does anyone care? Does the average student know the names of the whites who designed these buildings? I think not.”
He criticized student groups at Hopkins for excluding white people and suppressing free speech.
“I went to a Black Student Union meeting with [a Make America Great Again] hat on, but they asked me to leave,” O’Neal said. “I rushed a black frat and I tried to join the Inter-Asian Council but they just laughed at me. That, my friends, is systemic racism.”
O’Neal lamented the difficulties students like him face in a campus environment that has become increasingly hostile to white people.
“Too often, people call us racist, but everyone is more or less white to me,” he said. “If you’re a person of color, rest assured: You’re one of us, my friend!”
One student demonstrator, who chose to remain anonymous because he is afraid of becoming a meme, echoed O’Neal’s sentiments.
“It’s hard being white on a college campus,” the student said. “I’m not used to feeling like a minority back home but when I came to Hopkins, reality struck.”
He affirmed that he does not hold white supremacist views and said he supported Hopkins alumnus and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
“People think I am a racist, but I’m not!” the student said. “I have friends from all kinds of countries: Africa, the Orient, Canada. Black, brown, red and yellow, I get along with them just fine.”
Fellow demonstrators Susan Black and Caroline Brown nodded in agreement. Black carried a sign reading “Whites Need a Safe Space!”
“We are the least racist people you’ll ever meet,” Black said.
Brown held a life-size cardboard poster of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. A self-proclaimed feminist, Brown said that the feminist agenda has lately become too exclusive.
“We are overlooking the important contributions of women like Ivanka, a white American woman and groundbreaking champion of working women and mothers,” she said.
Following several speeches, the students marched to Garland Hall, demanding to see University President Ronald J. Daniels, who made a rare appearance.
WSU presented Daniels with a list of demands. In addition to officially recognizing WSU and creating a Department for White People Studies, O’Neal hopes that Daniels will add more initiatives for white students to the University’s Roadmap for Diversity and Inclusion, a document that outlines plans to make Hopkins a more diverse campus.
One such initiative is for November to be recognized as White Heritage Month on campus.
“We must not forget the achievements of our mighty brethren and ancestors,” O’Neal said. “We must do a better job of celebrating our heritage and the diversity of this campus. If we prosper, so does everyone else. It’s not rocket science! It’s just trickle-down privilege.”
O’Neal hopes that in the near future, white oppression will become a thing of the past and that other students can one day learn to celebrate diversity of thought.
“We are in 21st century America, for crying out loud,” he said. “We are not afraid and we will continue fighting for our voices to be heard.”