Honors 2020 Alabama Civil Rights Trip: Carissa Stump Writes A Letter to “Coastal Elitists”

Honors 2020 Alabama Civil Rights Trip: Carissa Stump Writes A Letter to “Coastal Elitists”

Honors 2020 Alabama Civil Rights Trip: Carissa Stump Writes A Letter to “Coastal Elitists”

During the Honors 2020 Alabama Civil Rights Trip, President Mason said, “One of the things I hope our students hear and learn is that people tend to demonize the South, but the South doesn’t own all the troubles.” It was a sentiment that Carissa Stump ’20, a Forensic Psychology major from Long Island, New York, completely agreed with and wanted to write about. “I feel like any time you hear about racism in New York, there’s this feeling of shock, and they say it happens even in New York,’” said Stump. “But we’re experiencing the same things that they’re experiencing in the South, and we have to ask ourselves, what are we going to do to change things?” To process her thoughts—and to hold people from every region accountable for stamping out racism—Stump wrote this letter.

Stump sharing a moment with President Mason
Stump sharing a moment with President Mason

An Open Letter to Myself, a Coastal Elitist

Dear Coastal Elitist,

As you flaunt your colorblind neighborhood, you ignore the systemic inequities put in place to guarantee people of color will never attain generational wealth.

While you enjoy your ride to work on your public transit, you forget the black teen who was just tased for hopping the turnstile.

When you walk into the doctor’s office and use your subsidized healthcare, you do not even consider the thousands of Americans who have been kicked off of Obamacare.

As you enjoy access to reproductive healthcare, you ignore the women in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia whose bodily autonomies are being challenged every day.

While you boast about your progressive workplace that prevents discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity, you turn a blind eye to the LGBTQ+ youth that constitute an overwhelming amount of the homeless population.

As you brag about the values of your sanctuary city, you forget the children being taken from their parents to be locked in cages at our borders.

When you walk past the homeless man at your feet, you are ignoring the housing crisis in the major cities of America.

While you say, “Not here, that only happens in the south,” you forget the police brutality and mass incarceration of the black and brown people in your city, your state, and your country.

While you are villainizing the South, you are not fighting.

—Carissa Stump