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.