Social justice advocate discusses cross-cultural communication on campus

Sam White, a speaker and advocate for the advancement of social justice, visited Bradley’s campus Monday in an event hosted by Sigma Lambda Gamma colony and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. The discussions covered topics including allyship and cross-cultural communication.

Allyship is defined by the Anti-Oppression Network as “an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person of privilege seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group of people.”

An alumnus of Villanova University and member of Kappa Alpha Psi, White said his experience was one that ran the “spectrum from very unpleasant to amazing.”

White spoke about how the surface of Villanova was a campus that prided itself in community but said “all progression stopped at what was comfortable and established.”

Many in attendance said they believe having White come and speak at Bradley was crucial.

“It gives people a different perspective, as far as a white male … in a predominately black organization,” Malik Chappell, a senior accounting major, said. “He’s able to provide insights into [a] lack of understanding for white students”

The discussion of privilege was an engaging topic, according to audience members.

“Privilege doesn’t necessarily mean economic privilege, and the amount of money a person has,” Chappell said. “When we say privilege … [it’s] the privilege to drive down the street and not having to worry about cops stopping you … certain things that should be with ease in everyday life that [aren’t].”

Part of White’s discussion included cross-cultural communication, which senior psychology major Lupe Flores said Bradley lacks. Despite that, Flores said it’s something that can be changed.

“As long as everyone has good intentions, respect and a desire to genuinely get to know each other, I don’t see why we can’t increase the cross-cultural communication,” Flores said.

Flores also shared insight with his peers on how to intermingle different cultures on campus.

“My advice for Bradley students would be to remain open-minded and optimistic,” Flores said. “In class, sit with people you normally wouldn’t, and introduce yourself.”

Chappell also offered his advice to students who might be apprehensive to change.

“Students [shouldn’t have to] worry about feeling uncomfortable,” Chappell said. “They have to want to feel uncomfortable … it’s good for change. There’s never been a situation where someone has improved without feeling uncomfortable and having that desire to change and improve.”

White ended his three-hour long discussion calling students to take action.

“I am challenged to be a better person today than I was yesterday,” White said.