Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior David Hogg recently announced that he will postpone his first year of college to continue promoting activism on political issues.
Hogg has been one of the most easily recognizable advocates for gun control after 17 people were fatally shot at his high school. His strong consistent message has been aired on TV and placed him, along with some of his fellow classmates and activists, on the cover of Time Magazine.
Ahead of the March for Our Lives rally, Hogg said one of the media’s biggest mistakes was “not giving black students a voice.” Through their fight against gun violence, Hogg and other white victims of the Florida shooting are effectively using their white privilege to give a voice to black Americans and other minority communities who are affected by gun violence daily.
It is reassuring that this generation of changers realizes white privilege and news coverage disparities exist. It is no secret that American society reacts differently to tragedy in communities of color.
“We recognize that Parkland received more attention because of its affluence,” Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the Parkland shooting said at the March for Our Lives rally. “But we share this stage today and forever with those communities who have always stared down the barrel of a gun.”
Before the Florida school shooting, there was no national attention for the gun crime in Chicago unless it was broadcasting the fake concept of “black-on-black crime,” which was created by white people to diminish the activism of black Americans.
The Peace Warriors, a group of primarily black high school students from Chicago, have been fighting gun violence for 10 years with little to no national coverage. The students from Parkland, Florida gained national prominence in a matter of days.
“I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence who are simply statistics instead of vibrant beautiful girls,” elementary school student Naomi Wadler of Virginia said at the march.
A number of white people only want black Americans affected by gun violence to be statistics instead of activists. White privilege is promoted even in tragedy. Instead of equal coverage and advocacy, communities of color are demonized by gun violence, which is brushed off as intersectional chaos instead of a national epidemic.
Hogg deciding to postpone going to college to be an activist for gun regulation is another act of commitment to change. Hogg and his peers using their privilege to help communities of black and brown people who don’t have privilege proves that this is much more than merely a moment in history, it is a movement of progress and acceptance.
Frankly speaking, generations of the past and present refuse to acknowledge that white privilege exists, but that is okay. The new generation of changers refuse to turn a blind eye to racism in America. They are checking their privilege, and using it to help someone who doesn’t have it.
Justin Franklin is a 19-year-old political communication freshman from Memphis, Tennessee.