To My Classmate That Said "But Send The White Girl"
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To My Classmate That Said "But Send The White Girl"

I'm not sure which was more uncomfortable, you saying "but send the white girl and it gets done" or my professor saying "but sometimes you have to send the white girl".

To My Classmate That Said "But Send The White Girl"

Spring quarter 2019. My last quarter of senior year in college. We share one class, and our final is to give a public reading of our work. Sure, I struggle with public speaking, but what I was really stressing about was we didn't have a venue for the reading.

Our class's job was advertise and find a venue. I helped with most of the advertising. You helped with finding a venue.

You tried the campus coffee shop who hosts readings and open mics all year long. You said they turned us down. Another option we had was to perform in a small theater room on campus. Nobody wanted that. You tried another location; a restaurant that had multiple venues and one was perfect for our reading performance.

You emailed, called, they said they'd pass the information along. You didn't hear back. You kept trying.

But nobody was responding to you.

Our professor told us they're going through management changes, so the message could have gotten lost or something else. You kept trying. Nothing was working.

Our professor pulled me aside after class. "Hey, could you do me a huge favor? Could you run up to the venue and see if you can talk to someone about the event since we can't get through?" Our professor said because I live on campus that I'd have the easiest time getting there since it's only a block or two from the student housing. I told them yes, but I don't know if they told you I was going.

I didn't think I did anything special.


I walked into the business and found someone behind the counter.

"Hi, I'm here representing my class at the university down the street. We're hoping to host an event here next week. One of the students said they'd been calling and emailing, but hasn't been getting a response back."

They took our professors information, said they'd get back as soon as possible and apologized, saying they were going through management changes. I thanked them and left.

A couple days go by. We're in class again. Our professor announces that we got the venue. I was thrilled that we weren't going to have our reading on campus. Class ends and I start packing up. You walk to the front and began talking to the professor.

"How'd we get the venue? They haven't responded to me at all." you said.

Our professor gestures over to me. "I asked her if she could go to the venue."

"What?! I've been emailing and calling for the past week and they never got back to me!" You were clearly frustrated, which I understood. It's hard when you have a deadline to meet and you're having to wait on someone to get back to you. "But you send the white girl up there and it gets done like that."

I froze in my seat. I wanted to believe that I didn't hear that right, but I knew I had.

"I know, but sometimes you have to send the white girl to..." my professor started, but I began to tune out.

I didn't think our races had anything to do with why the venue didn't get back to us. I figured it was what our professor and the venue said, they're going through management changes. I sat there questioning myself.

Did my professor send me up there because I'm white, thinking the venue would respond to me? How could the venue know if you were African American by email or phone? Why do you think my skin color had an effect on a business getting back to us on hosting an event with them?

I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't pack my bag any faster and darted out of the classroom.


One thought I had was, "what if the situation was flipped?" What if I'd been trying to reach out and not getting a response, and you go to the venue? What if our professor told me and I said "but send the black girl" or "but send the African American girl"? Would my professor be upset with me? Would you be upset with me? Would everyone who heard be upset with me me?

Discrimination is, sadly, a very real thing for many people, from race and ethnicity to gender and sexuality. While I understand I don't face the same discrimination as others do I believe that rude, hateful and disrespectful comments towards any race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, is unacceptable, even if it is towards someone who is white.

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