Olivia Wu, Claremont Independent, April 25, 2016
Over the summer of 2015, two Scripps College students spent approximately 500 hours creating the “Unofficial Scripps Survival Guide.” The 217-page guide, intended to help new students acclimate to the college, features lengthy discussions of topics ranging from food and money management to gender identity, race, and privilege.
The Scripps Survival Guide defines “White Privilege” as “the set of unearned benefits white people gain as a result of systematic racism and discrimination” that “benefits even those white people who are disadvantaged by other forms of institutionalized oppression like ableism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia.” The authors add that “asking people of color to educate us about racism,” “asking people of color to absolve us of our guilt,” and “identifying the ways that we are engaging in the perpetuation of white supremacy” are all things that “we need to stop doing right now.” In a section titled “Dear white students,” the authors explain that “[r]everse racism cannot exist because white people maintain power over people of color” and “because there are no institutions that were founded with the intention of discriminating against white people on the basis of their skin [color].”
Since the guide’s publication, several student movements across the 5Cs, including a “Hurting and Healing” event held by The 5C Students of Color Alliance, have advocated for racially segregated spaces (called “Safe Spaces”) which are off-limits to white students. The Motley, a student run café on Scripps’ campus, has already held events exclusively for people of color. The guide justifies this segregation by speaking to the “political” and “harm[ful]” nature of the “space” for people of color, as well as by arguing that creating segregated spaces is simply “the least we can do” for non-white students. Throughout the sections regarding racism, the authors of the guide agree that “a general distaste or hatred of white people” is a legitimate response to “oppression.”
Though the Survival Guide is unofficial, administrators at Scripps College have expressed support for it. “This student-conceived and student-authored publication is an excellent example of how serious Scripps students are about supporting the newest members of the Scripps community,” stated Charlotte Johnson, Scripps’ Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, who recently described the phrase “#Trump2016” as “racism” and “intimidation.”