The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: SGA’s BLM Solidarity Statement an example of overzealous elevation of identity


By Eli Shapiro

There’s an overlooked mechanism through which prejudice thrives at Grinnell College: The elevation of identity to such omni-importance that our shared humanity eludes us. Identity’s role in shaping social patterns undoubtedly deserves attention, but some students’ hyperfragmented worldview goes too far—so far as to actually perpetuate a subtle form of racism and anti-Semitism. In the SGA’s BLM Solidarity Statement, this zealotry reared its ugly head in one of the organization’s action items: “Push for intentional efforts to dismantle the culture of urgency, productivity, stress, and overbooked scheduling at Grinnell College – ideals directly linked to white supremacy.” Such an initiative not only seeks to undermine our college’s academic excellence, but it connotes that the factors contributing to that excellence are tainted by white supremacy through some sort of linkage. The culture of urgency, productivity, stress, and overbooked scheduling extends far beyond the reach of white supremacy, and (seemingly needless to write) BIPOC and Jewish students should have access to these character-enhancing privileges. Moreover, in my opinion, BIPOC and Jewish folks have way more association with this productive culture than white supremacists. Honestly, I’m still puzzled over the quoted SGA action item’s ideological underpinnings—but these underpinnings self-evidently embody an overly fragmented (and therefore faulted) social outlook.

View Comments (2)
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (2)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Eli ShapiroSep 27, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Hey, Elliot!

    Your argument that this issue isn’t as important as other current events is absolutely correct. It’s not. I wrote and published this piece before Michael Williams, a Grinnell community member, was murdered. Right now, mourning with and delivering justice for Michael Williams’ loved ones is of the utmost vitality in Grinnell, Iowa. However, the existence of more pressing issues doesn’t preclude me from discussing a phenomenon that I feel is troublesome.

    This piece didn’t intend to police the tone of The SGA. Instead, I believe/hope this letter conveyed the danger of departing from the political left’s most powerful and beautiful idea: That all humans are, first and foremost, humans.

    Though we probably can’t reconcile all of our differences, I’d love to discuss further. Feel free to email me at [shapiroe].

  • E

    Elliot KarlSep 21, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Have you considered redirecting the energy you’re spending policing the tone of SGA towards … idk … any one of the very real crises we’re facing right now? The very real *physical* danger some of your peers feel?

    I can sense your fragility. It’s not about you. Let’s get a grip, yes?

    – Elliot ‘12