[OPINION] I’m Not A Racist by Emily Kokot

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RMC student working on computer Photo courtesy of Oliver Walker

RMC student working on computer
Photo courtesy of Oliver Walker

On Feb 24, the Diversity and Inclusivity Task Force coordinated a Zoom call event titled “The Good Troublemaker” with speaker Eran Thompson to discuss the topic of “privilege and the struggle for social justice,” according to chaplain Kim Woeste.

Woeste explained that Thompson was chosen as a speaker because “February is Black History Month” and he is one of her “professional colleagues” who has “been involved in organizing work in the Billings community for over 20 years.”

Thompson was introduced to students on the call as a “troublemaker” and “community radical.”

He began his presentation by addressing the Black Lives Matter protest that took place in Billings last summer and stated, “My biggest fear was that there would be a summer of protests and then nothing would happen, and that’s still my biggest fear.”

Thompson then continued to explain his background and his belief that everyone has a “right to fairness and equality, to living wages, to decent sanitary living conditions, to not being judged by
the color of their skin, to equal application of the law” and then stated, “I grew up with that sort of white privilege instilled in me even though I had brown skin.”

George Floyd was also referenced during his presentation and he gave his own definition of racism as a term that involves “prejudice and power. It was also noted that “reverse racism does not exist.”

Shortly after, Thompson concluded that “race isn’t a real thing; it’s a political construct.” Race was ultimately created “by white people, for white people, specifically to oppress people of
color.”

Thompson then argued that “to be an anti-racist, white ally, the first thing you have to be willing to admit is you are a racist.”

Although other statements were made in response to student questions following his presentation, I will leave it at this: Ultimately, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I want to briefly provide a different perspective on the issue at hand. I am a white female, but I disagree with the claim that because I am white, I am a racist. My skin color does not determine my sense of morality, but my strong Christian faith does, and I therefore cannot falsely agree that I am a racist.

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