I’ve been thinking a lot lately in class about the tendency that white people have to overcompensate for the racist acts of other white people. For example, when a white person hears a story about another white person acting in a racist way or making a racist comment, they often react by making a dramatic claim in order to make it clear that in NO way do they associate with the racist belief system of another white person. In the fall of 2015, many individuals from underrepresented groups on college campuses came forward to speak out about the oppression that they’ve faced as students of color. At Muhlenberg College, a small and predominantly white liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, an outpour of outwardly racist comments towards black students on the social media platform YikYak led to a “town hall” meeting focused on race relations on campus. Despite the huge turnout, students of color were frustrated with the way that white students hogged the microphone; instead of simply allowing the voices of minority groups that are so often silenced to speak about their lived experience, many white students saw the meeting as an opportunity to apologize and voice their deepest sympathies for what was going on. I believe that this tendency that many white people have to speak out in ways that do not help to advance the discussion when they witness or hear about situations that display explicit white supremacy can help us understand the multitude of unnecessary comments made by white students at the Muhlenberg College town hall meeting. It seems to me that many white students were disturbed and perplexed by the racist actions of other white students in the community and saw the podium as a way to express their disapproval. However, although well meaning, their comments were selfishly driven and were only made to make the individual feel better about their role in racism as a system. Considering Beverly Tatum’s piece about racial dialogues entitled “Breaking the Silence”, people of color cannot afford the cost of silence, but white people can. Instead of taking over the microphone, white students should have allowed students of color at Muhlenberg to express their experiences as the people that do not benefit from this system known as racism. Does this “overcompensation” tendency perpetuate racism? If so, how?