Viral Facebook Post About a Sword Speaks to a Much Bigger Issue

May 15th 2017

Almie Rose

"THIS is what white privilege looks like," declared Colgate University student Jenny Lundt in a recent Facebook post.

What does white privilege look like? According to Lundt, it's a white woman holding a sword:

Colgate Facebook Post Image

But of course, there's a little more to it than that. As Lundt explains in the post:

"This is me, only one year ago on this very campus, running around the academic quad with a fucking sharp metal sword. People thought it was funny. People laughed- oh look at that harmless, ~ silly white girl ~ with a giant sword!!

Today, a black man carrying a fucking glue gun shut down my ~prestigious liberal arts college~ for 4 hours. The limited information that was released put all black men on this campus in danger and at risk of being killed. That is the reality of the institutionalized racism in the United States. If you think for even a second this wasn't profiling, ask yourself why this sword is still in my room and has not ONCE made anyone uncomfortable. No one has EVER called the police on me. Understand that there are larger forces at play than this one night, and this one instance of racism. This is engrained in our university and our larger society. White Colgate students, we need to do better. #blacklivesmatter"

Lundt's May 1 post went viral, with over 15,000 shares and 22 thousand reactions.

The widespread attention her post got prompted Lundt to add some edits to her post:

"This post is getting far more shares than I ever imagined. I just want to remind everyone viewing/ sharing this that this narrative is not about me and my feelings. This story and the event that happened last week is about are people of color that are oppressed each and every day by this institution and this country at large and I in no way meant to take the conversation away from them and their stories. [...]

My privilege allowed me to share my story. My privilege and my influential friends and thus their influential friends made this post go 'viral'. All of that is privilege at work."

She went on to add an addendum from a Facebook commenter named Sahil Gadhavi who asked (emphasis ours),

"Where is this response when you see black men being incarcerated everyday while white men walk free for the same crimes or more? Where is this overpouring [sic] of attention when black children are being shot by the police everyday, while your own white children are being raised in the ignorance afforded by their skin? Where is this praise when black activists march up and down the city squares all over the country screaming “Black lives matter” and all they hear back is All lives matter. Where is this immediate acceptance of the truth when I tell people that I have been consistently racially profiled every time I fly in from India, because of the melanin in my skin, my hair, my beard? Why do we face the suspicion while Jenny Lundt gets the praise?"

Lundt may have added this particular note as many of her comments pointed out that a huge part of white privilege isn't just carrying a weapon on campus without being questioned, but the ability to talk about this experience and have people actually listen to and share your words:

While others challenged the mere existence of white privilege:


As Danielle DeCourcey wrote for ATTN: in 2016 on the subject, "the word 'privilege' carries a lot of meaning on its own, but if you put the word 'white' in front of it, people freak out."

For example, here's a not-so-charitable definition from Urban Dictionary. 

Urban Dictionary

There are certain stark differences in how people of color are treated compared to whites. 

From traffic stops, to shopping, to banking, there are many documented reports of people of color facing forms of discrimination that their white contemporaries simply don't, which is what the idea of white privilege encapsulates. 

And Gadhavi's point on black incarcerated men stands, as ATTN: previously reported in 2015: "In fact, 1-in-3 black men will be incarcerated at some time in their lives, and the outlook improves only nominally if you are a Hispanic male (1-in-6 men)."

Incarceration rate by race and gender

Read Lundt's entire post below: