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Addressing White Privilege @ SDSU: a Timeline

White People Problems: Natalia Andres, Lauren Bossi, Lauren Magdaleno, MPH

SDSU Spring 2019, PH 662: Racist Latinx Public Health Presentation & Reactions

During the Spring 2019 Semester at San Diego State University, the Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences cohort took PH 662: Motivating Health Behavior with Professor Jessa Engelberg.

On Monday, March 4, 2019, our class had the displeasure of listening to Natalia Andres, Lauren Bossi, and Lauren Magdaleno (née Lauren Roberts) and their xenophobic presentation on Latinx health. In a graduate level public health program, three of our white classmates perpetuated cultural stereotypes about the population their group project was meant to serve.

Creating "personas" was a requirement of every PH 662 proposed intervention. Their target population was Latinx females; so it made sense to be culturally accurate with personas named Maria, etc. Did you know only Latinx females are named Maria? It's like creating a project to benefit Asian American communities and naming a persona, Mulan. 🙄

To their benefit, Andres, Bossi, and Magdaleno did acknowledge some limitations to their public health intervention. They realized that their proposal would be difficult to implement, as study participants have a "high rate of loss to follow up" because they often are "deported back to Mexico." What research is that based on? Peer-reviewed racism?

Natalia Andres, Lauren Bossi, and Lauren Magdaleno's lack of cultural humility caused much audience grief as the presentation went on. The group seemed to notice our unease, and the embarrassment showed on their flushed faces. However, their fragile feelings quickly dissipated into nonexistence as the awkward racially insensitive moment was after all, just that—just a moment to these three white people.

After multiple students reported the presentation for racial insensitivity, not one member of this group ever apologized to any classmate of color for the remainder of SDSU's 2-year Master's of Public Health program.

Did Natalia Andres, Lauren Bossi, or Lauren Magdaleno ever learn or grow from this experience? One could argue yes. In fact, Lauren Bossi attempted to grow her social media following based on her moment of racial reckoning in PH 662. It was truly sickening to read her June 9th post about racial injustice & calls for equality & personal growth—all while having experienced her blatant ignorance in class. This moment was when I decided to call out all their performative behavior.

I'm tired of these privileged white students from the San Diego State School of Public Health. I'm tired of BIPOC group contribution & work ethic carrying their grades. I'm tired of paying graduate level tuition only to listen to ignorant people. And I'm done thinking they're better than they are.

Calls to Action: Lauren Bossi should use her website revenue as reparations to her classmates. Lauren Magdaleno should stop being a racist Karen with a fragile ego. And Natalia Andres should stop being a performative ally to the Black community on Instagram.



Lauren Magdaleno (née Roberts), “when did I call him racist? What drama is calling out racism and its associated BS? You initiated that in class with the way you spoke to your graduate school cohort. Can your anti-racism education not also enlighten his own world view too? We all have our own biases and prejudices to work out. For example, the rage and defensiveness in your messages is clear and abundant. I would say that amount of feeling is comparable to my feeling of confusion upon seeing the partners of my former classmates stalking my accounts in February 2020—even though I wasn’t even in your presence.

What were you saying about me that was so interesting? Why is he actively looking at my things when we’ve never met? He’s clearly heard of me though. That’s what I was calling both of you out for, because I saw it again last night. Why do you marginalize and stalk your classmates online but don’t speak to any to their face? I know you’re trying to read up on your anti-racism edu, but your response bleeds white fragility.

You hear me but you’re not doing better. Not like I thought last week”

Are you upset I already had screenshots, dates, and timestamps of your social media stalking of me? 🤷🏻‍♀️

It’s okay to be caught creepin’ around on classmates you unconsciously (purposefully) marginalize. 🙅🏻‍♀️ However, blocking me is such Karen energy—especially for a self-proclaimed (performative) BIPOC ally, Lauren.

At least now the Magdaleno couple won’t be spending late nights creepin’ on me anymore. 🥰 Tho I do wish someone told me at the 2018 SDSU School of Public Health orientation that exposing a lil white fragility was all I needed for some privacy! 🤷🏻‍♀️


Anti-Racism Public Health Resources

Racist public health graduate students go on to work in public health sectors. They continue to carry their prejudices and stereotypes into these positions—especially if they never learn to be better or want to be better white people. The privilege, power, and access granted to white people by birthright & skin color in the United States puts BIPOC at increased risk for mistreatment. These are the same people who try to bring new public health initiatives into marginalized communities without understanding the people they're trying to serve. So when you see problematic behavior from your white classmates and peers, say something & stop their racist behavior.

"Remember that white supremacists exist in HR departments, in schools, in hospitals, in boardrooms, on police forces, in banks. If there was ever a time for an organization to denounce white supremacy, it's now." – Sinead Bovell

Author

Nancy Hoàng (she/her)

writer & photographer