Luther students do not know how to whisper

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“My physical appearance and social interactions are as normal as the next person. My skin color, outfit, hairstyle, accent or way of expression is not a sight to behold just because it’s different from what you’re used to seeing.””

— Ursula Damtse ('22)

It is not whispering if I can hear you from three tables away. Luther students also do not know that staring is rude. Why are you staring at me? No, it’s not all in my head. My friends notice it too. I should be able to walk into the CAF or any public space without noticing all these things, being the carefree person that I am. But I do notice them. That speaks to how extreme the situation is. I feel the judgement of people through their stares.  

Anytime a group of minority students get together in the cafeteria or any public space for that matter, this is what they experience. Stares and snarky comments that are supposed to be whispered. I doubt that these acts have positive intentions behind them. Being a minority in a school like Luther already comes with its daily challenges. From dealing with group partners and co-workers who think you overestimate your capabilities, to making your voice clear enough for people to hear you through your ‘thick’ accent. Every single day is a constant battle for respect from your peers. 

Being in a liberal arts college, I was expecting the students to be more open to accepting people who are different in regards to race, culture, and gender identity. Unfortunately, my experience has been the complete opposite. Apart from going through the daily struggle of being a minority, I also have to deal with people who don’t know how to whisper and stare. My physical appearance and social interactions are as normal as the next person. My skin color, outfit, hairstyle, accent or way of expression is not a sight to behold just because it’s different from what you’re used to seeing.

To Luther community members, by humble ask is two fold. First, your stares make me feel uncomfortable and out of place. Secondly, stop whispering about my outfits and hair to your friends. Your unwarranted comments are a hindrance to my freedom of expression. As a human being I should be allowed the privilege to be in a public space without worrying about what someone is ‘whispering’ about me. Your stares will not stop me from laughing and having a good time with my friends. Your whispers will not disintegrate my dignity. The more persistent the whispers and stares become, the more I feel displaced in a space that is supposed to be home.

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations with which the author(s) are associated

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