Pennsylvania college group wants pins to start conversation on 'white privilege'

A political group at a Pennsylvania liberal arts college launched a project Saturday to raise awareness about what it means to live with “white privilege.”

Elizabethtown College Democrats are asking students to wear a white puzzle piece pin every day to encourage people to give further thought about how racial identity affects their lives, Lancaster Online reported.

Aileen Ida, president of the College Democrats, told Local 21 News that she noticed a Wisconsin pastor wearing the pin and wanted to help spread the message.

She said the conversation on white privilege is necessary in central Pennsylvania because of the demographics.  According to the latest census, Lancaster County is 83 percent white, 10 percent Hispanic, 4 percent black and 2 percent Asian.

Ida said she’s excited to see how the project could spark a discussion about racial identity.

“This project will encourage people to have conversations about race and how their inherent white privilege has a part in the systematic oppression of minorities — whether or not they purposefully participate in the system,” she told Lancaster Online.

Sawa Alabsi, a student at the school, told local media that she is concerned her classmates would join the campaign to simply fit in.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t necessarily know or do any research into certain issues,” she said. “And they’re kind of like, ‘Oh, my friends have this side, so I’m going to pick that side.’”

Ida hopes prospective participants can commit to wearing the pin for at least one month.

Her fellow students supported the idea in conversations with Local 21 News. One student told the station that he would wear a pin if it was given to him.

"Elizabethtown is a majority white campus, so I think white Privilege is a great place to start,” he said.

Ida said the idea wasn’t meant to call out white people, but remind students that racial identity is an important conversation to have. She hopes to have 100 people wearing the pin by Friday.

Click for more from Lancaster Online.