Caucasian Student “Gets How Racism Feels Now” After Experience as Minority in ECON1000412 March 2019
As excited as he was to embark on his Microeconomics breadth, Connor White, 18, has not found it easy to fit in.
“When I walked into the lecture theatre and saw this sea of black hair, to be honest with you, I was intimidated. Me and my mates never hung out with Asians or anything like that back in school,” he recalls.
“I just couldn’t do it. I had to get out and get a Grape Escape from Boost to calm down.”
Despite the rough start, White worked up the courage to attend his tutorial later that week. He has since maintained a steady attendance for the sakes of both his 10% Participation grade and his hunk of a tutor.
However, he continues to feel alienated in class. “Sometimes the internationals speak their own languages to each other and I’m like, hey? Don’t you realise how hurtful it is when I can’t eavesdrop on your private conversation?”
“They do use English with me but I don’t engage because they’re pretty hard to understand,” he adds. “They’re as un-occa as you can get.”
White has also been unable to connect with his Asian-Australian tute mates. Eyes brimming, he describes feeling ostracised when they talk about bubble tea and strict parents, as he has never had either.
Nevertheless, there is a silver lining. White’s painful experience, he believes, has opened his eyes to social injustice.
“I never understood what the big deal was about racism—I mean it’s not like it’s 1920, right? But now I get it one hundred percent. No one should have to feel marginalised because of their race the way I have.”
When asked what he would change to make the University more racially inclusive, White’s suggestion was stunning in its simplicity: “Affirmative action for my culture, for once, would be a start.”