With Black history celebrated by many in the month of February, students at Mercer University in Georgia were looking to even out the score. A flier posted in residence halls and around the school’s campus is causing controversy for promoting two months dedicated solely to “white history.”
Roughly 40 students rallied outside of the hall in protest of the flier Tuesday (Oct. 16), which takes issues with the fact that although there is so much history on the books, not time has been dedicated specifically to whites. “Since there is too much white history to squeeze into one month, we will settle for two,” reads the flier.
Those behind the unofficial declaration, also took issue with the lack of organizations for whites:
There are African-American societies, black student organizations, and Indian heritage associations; however, there is not one white society of engineers, white student organization, or Caucasian heritage association. Why? Because if there are, various individuals will say this is racism.
In an email, Mercer president Bill Underwood labeled the advertisements as demeaning “efforts to promote education about people of diverse races and cultures and their contributions to our society.” Similarly, the school’s vice president, Larry Brumley, noted that while the institution encourages students to shed light on “relevant issues” he thinks the flier “wasn’t the right way to do it.”
Mercer student, Fredrick Woods, sees the controversy as proof of racism. “I think it just shows how real racism is in our community and even though we say that we have moved passed it and that we are in a state of enlightenment that racism is still real,” he said.
On the contrary, Melissa Plyler, a senior at the school explained the motivation behind the flier was not malicious. “We decided we wanted to put this together so we could be proud to go to a campus that had a positive and immediate reaction to something like this, instead of ashamed to go to a campus that just rolled over and watched something like this happen.”
Other students see the flier (which can be viewed below) as being nothing more than an attempt at satire.
Is it unfair that white students don’t have a specific month, or groups dedicated to their culture? Give your opinion in the comments section below.
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