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Published on Apr 17, 2017
“We found that there was no significant gender difference whatsoever,” Dr. Mehl said. On average, women speak 16,215 words per day and men speak 15,669 words per day. However, Dr. Mehl says that the mean is not the best descriptor of this distribution—the distribution for this study was huge. One person used an estimated 795 words on average per day (an abstract in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one at night, Dr. Mehl jokes), while another used almost 47,000 words (both the least and the most talkative participant were men). However, the distributions were normal for both sexes and averaged out to have no statistical difference.
A student has resigned from her college’s Student Assembly Thursday, citing white privilege and the “hostile environment” created by white men in the student government group.
Hamilton College student Katherine Barnes resigned from her position as class representative for Hamilton’s Class of 2020 this week and explained her decision in an article on Hamilton’s student newspaper The Spectator.
“During last week’s meeting, many student representatives countered my argument that ‘the vast majority of members are white, straight, cis, upper-class men,’ by stating that 11 out of the 30 members are white men,” said Barnes. “While my assumption that these white men are also straight, cis, and upper class may be wrong, many people on campus perceive that Student Assembly is controlled by white males.”
“This is because the majority of the conversation in Student Assembly meetings is dominated by those 11 people.”
A variety of studies have proven that white men dominate conversations; a simple Google search has pages and pages of articles and studies discussing this. Yes, Student Assembly has representative diversity when examining the ratio on campus as a whole, but in appearance only. When white men make up more than a third of all conversations, they override the voices of other representatives by infringing on their space to speak. This creates a hostile environment. Moreover, not only do white men fill conversational space with their predominant voices, but they also take up physical space in the way they sit and how they rudely shut others down. It creates a power dynamic that makes people who are not white and/or male feel uncomfortable and/or anxious about speaking up. The most important part of the matter is that people are being silenced. This issue goes beyond Student Assembly and should be considered a campus-wide problem.
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