Social Justice Reflection Paper

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Senior Year: Social Justice Seminar

My senior year at Loyola, I attended my first social justice training seminar as part of the Peer Advisor’s new initiative to include social justice into their curriculum. The seminar’s main focus was the discussion of race. The mention of this topic initially made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed; race was seen as a taboo topic within my family and school life. However, the seminar was far from uncomfortable; we unpacked the benefits inherent in Whiteness, the social construction of race, and what it meant to have privilege. As I learned new concepts with my peers, I began to understand my identity as a White individual on a deeper level. I always identified with my ethnic heritage as Italian;
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This seminar’s discussion opened my eyes to my own identity as a White individual. Small instances, such as walking by police officers without hesitation, and not being followed in stores, are privileges I did not notice existed in my life on a daily basis. As a Peer Advisor, I realized that I had to take my race into consideration when speaking in class discussions, and on college in general. My personal college experiences may not be the same as others due to my inherent privileges as a White individual.
Whiteness
Before the social justice seminar, I never gave much thought as to my identity as a White person. As Tatum (2017) explored, however, this commonality of silence in White communities has had negative impacts, for “Whites tend to think of racial identity as something that other people have, not something that is salient for them”
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