Letter to the Editor: We must solve our own problems first

To the editor:

When the pressure drops in the cabin of an airplane, we are instructed to first put our own masks before reaching out to help those next to us. The lesson we are supposed to learn from this is simple: If we want to help others we must first ensure that we are in a safe space. The world is in turmoil. Currently today there are an estimated 20,900,000 people living in slavery[1], over 5,000,000 more than the amount of slaves that crossed the Atlantic Ocean[2]. 5% of the world’s cotton is picked by slaves in Uzbekistan[3], Nestlé uses child slaves to make its candy bars[4], and more likely than not all our cellphones contain metals that were mined by slaves in the DR Congo[5].

Before we can address any of those issues we must first put on our own mask, so that we can breathe easy in a safe space. We must create a school where all can go to class without worrying about other people making judgements about our character simply because of the way we look. We must allow our students to take classes that aren’t currently offered here, but that they want to take. We must remove all symbols of past slavery at our school, so that we once and for all can learn in a comfortable environment.

While it is true that fighting for slaves around the world and fighting for our own racial justice are not mutually exclusive, we are human beings with limited time and resources. Therefore, it is important for us to check our priorities and focus on the issues that affect us personally.

Just imagine what our campus will be like once we have solved these problems at our prestigious school. After we have burned all of our shirts with the old shield and leave the COOP with our newly purchased cotton products. Then we will be able to stop at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to pick up some free Nestlé candy. Finally, as we attend our Critical Race Theory class we will be able to pull out our cell phones and tweet, “Look how far we have come. #Freeatlast”[6].


Kurt Kreiger is a 3L.

[1] http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today

[2] http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/1_4.html

[3] https://www.icac.org/cotton_info/publications/samples/weekly_estimates/8february05.pdf

[4] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/nestle-is-being-sued-for-allegedly-using-child-slaves-on-cocoa-farms-a6806646.html

[5] http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/28/opinion/wright-congo/index.html?hpt=op_t1

[6] Visit this website to see how many slaves work for you every year. It might even be more than the Royall Family. http://slaveryfootprint.org/

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