New Instagram Page @deargettysburg Highlights Gettysburg BIPOC Experience

Campus Photo (Photo Allyson Frantz/The Gettysburgian)

Campus Photo (Photo Allyson Frantz/The Gettysburgian)

By Jane Fitzpatrick ‘21

New to Instagram, @deargettysburg has been posting stories submitted by members of the Gettysburg College community, including current students and alumni, highlighting the unjust treatment of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) on campus.  These accounts of harassment and racism are submitted to the managers of the Instagram account through a Google form located in the account’s bio.

The managers of @deargettysburg described their project,

“Our goals are to connect with and amplify the voices of the many BIPOC groups on campus; as well as, alumni that have a desire to see Gettysburg flourish, in order to figure out the areas in which they want to see Gettysburg change and then to help hold Gettysburg accountable.”

In a recent post, an alumna reported her experience with a student who chose to wear blackface to an event with her sorority.  The management of the @deargettysburg account was quick to respond because the sorority was named in the report.  They noted in the following post that discomfort is expected and not always discouraged in this space:  

“We ARE NOT here to condemn or shame.  We ARE here to make The entire Gettysburg Community (from Admin to the students) aware of BIPOC experiences and the role knowingly or unknowingly each person plays in that… It is meant to be uncomfortable and act as a much-needed catalyst for change.”

The managers went on to highlight their educational goals and the presence of microaggressions on campus:

“There is a need for the white community on campus to recognize and come to terms with what is happening or has happened with so many of their BIPOC peers.  It is not to provoke guilt or shame; instead, it is to help white people understand how seemingly innocent behavior or language can cause harm to BIPOC members.”

This account gained nearly 700 followers within three days of its creation, climbing to over 1,000 two weeks later.  The Gettysburg community is not the only college community with an Instagram account telling similar stories of hateful crimes against BIPOC in a campus setting.  Similar accounts include: 

@black_at_pennstate

@blackatdickinson

@blackatbrynmawr

@blackathaverford

@bsu_mcdaniel

These story-telling platforms have been created as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.  @deargettysburg managers explained, “In light of what’s going on in the world we thought it was our duty to make sure ALL of our Gettysburg community was taking part in such an important conversation.”

 

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Author: Jane Fitzpatrick

Jane Fitzpatrick '21 serves as Features Editor of The Gettysburgian. She is a Religious Studies major and Middle East & Islamic Studies minor.

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3 Comments

  1. Having graduated from Gettysburg College over a half century ago, I cannot begin to express my appreciation for the students who write these articles for keeping me informed on the lexicon of current students.

    A few issues ago, I learned what a “Karen” was. In this article, I learned what BIPOC stood for as well as a new word “microaggression,” which I looked up in my Funk & Wagnild’s. Regarding BIPOC, it reminds me of the box of Crayolas I was given in third grade. I am still not sure about indigenous folk are other than people born in countries I never heard of. Regarding microaggression, it seems to mean an unintentional slip of tongue that used to either be ignored or resolved by oneself in a school yard and was quickly forgotten.

    I was relieved that an alumna sorority member came forward with her black face distant memory. Such bravery. As you may be aware, there was a black face controversy concerning a male member of the Gettysburg Board of Trustees recently, so it appears that black-facing is gender neutral Phew.

    Reporting microaggressions reminds me, for some reason, of the Gestapo. Macroaggressions, like hate speech, are still protected in this great country.We even allow the burning of the American flag.

    Thank God the only penalty for being reported for microaggressions, according to the author, is to be condemned and shamed. I am retired, so condemnation cannot result in my loss of a job. Also, as I review my life, there are things I have done that are much more shameful than an unintentional microaggression, of which there have probably been plenty. So, big whoops (is that current?) to both of the penalties.

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  2. I don’t believe that people of color are treated unfairly/differently at Gettysburg College or in the area around the school. I think if discrimination is perceived it is exaggerated or created in the mind of the “victim”. When people take responsibility for themselves and their actions, situations, and place in life then true growth can occur. Until this victimization mentality ends people will not progress. I am not saying that there is no racism at all and that bias doesn’t exist. All I am saying is this it is not a large enough factor to directly negatively impact someones opportunity for success and advancement in this day and age.

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    • This is exactly why this Instagram account was created: to give BIPOC students a space to speak up about their experiences. If you are white, you will never have to experience this type of discrimination yourself. That is privilege. I hope that you read these stories and talk to any BIPOC friends that you may have to get a fuller perspective of how race and racism impacts daily life for BIPOC. Racism and bias are still very real at Gettysburg regardless if you “believe in it”

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