I counted them. There were about five men total in McCoy’s class of about thirty students. I found out later I had miscounted. It wasn’t really a problem. I grew up with three bossy sisters and I make friendships easily with females. However, I still felt slightly out of place, as if I had picked the wrong class. I then realized that there were even less people in the class with African heritage. In a class about Toni Morrison, a black author who writes about minority struggles and inequality, this class still had an overwhelming majority of white students.
As a white male, to say that I felt a connection with centuries of oppression would be insulting at best. I grew up surrounded by white people and watching films with “smurfettes” and token black best friends. I accepted these films as if they displayed accurate representations of our world’s demographic. Currently, I am studying to be a educator and I will be responsible to train the minds that will become the voices of our world’s discourse. It will be my job to help make the world better for each individual, starting with my own future classroom. But how can we do more than just say people in the minority belong? How can I mute my inner voice of privilege that would dare consider myself underrepresented? I am hoping to explore practical questions of oppression and representation more and more as I try to become more aware of those around me and less focused on myself.