Jennine Capó Crucet’s Book Burned After Collegiate Discussion On White Privilege
With deep ties to music and the arts, Lo Boutillette is constantly inspired by her Latin Americana roots and the spontaneity of New York City. When she isn’t planning and perfecting her productions you’ll find her tending to her rose garden with her dog Bella.
Students from Georgia Southern University chose to burn author Jennine Capó Crucet’s 2015 novel Make Your Home Among Strangers after leaving a school-wide discussion on race and white privilege. The discussion was held by GSU as part of the First-Year Experience program where they invited Capó Crucet to speak with students about her novel and the experiences leading her to write it. During the question section of the talk, Capó Crucet was accused by several students of “bullying white people”.
One student, in particular, asked the author, “I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged. What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”
Crucet responded, “I came here because I was invited and I talked about White privilege because it’s a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question. What’s so heartbreaking for me and what is so difficult in this moment right now is to literally have read a talk about this exact moment happening (a similar experience is written about in her novel) and it’s happening again. That is why a different experience, the white experience, is centered in this talk.”
The matter further escalated when those students were caught on video burning the author’s book in a trash can on campus.
Book burning is symbiotic with censorship and oppression of free speech. Many GSU students who personally connected with Make Your Home Among Strangers agreed that conversations on white privilege need to be held. However, they now feel the tension of the book burning permeating their school experience.
The question remains: How can we have these necessary discussions in an empowering way? How do we see ourselves showing acceptance and love for all people while supporting those who have been historically marginalized? What do you think?