Dev Gupta, a third year student commerce, amidst writing one of his final exams, was startled by a round of applause that rang through the exam writing room.
“I was shocked. I looked up from my exam and saw that a large number of students clapping. Not to make it a race thing, but I’m pretty sure only the white students were applauding” Gupta told his harrowing story to Golden Words, draped in a space blanket that the paramedics gave him.
“I’m so confused… why were they clapping? Is reverse-racism a thing? Why am I so cold.”
What Gupta experienced was one of many instances where white people clap to celebrate otherwise underwhelming events. Reports show that white people usually clap when a commercial airplane lands safely on the runway or when a mediocre movie finishes. But now, white people have arguably taken it too far yet again — this time clapping when they’re finished writing exams.
Golden Words put out an advertisement asking for students to contact us if they’ve ever witnessed an instance where white people applaud something expected and mundane. The response was overwhelming.
Sonia Kim, a first year science student, reached out to recall her distress when she broke a plate in Leonard cafeteria.
“When the plate broke, I was embarrassed and was hoping that not too many people noticed. But all the white people in the cafeteria started to clap. I was frozen with fear, standing around broken glass while I was being applauded like an animal. Why were they clapping? I immediately applied to transfer schools after the incident”
Local white Queen’s student, Ben Johnson, explained to Golden Words why he claps when a plane lands/ movie ends/ plate breaks/ finished writing his exam.
“In my opinion, clapping is just a harmless way to acknowledge a good job that doesn’t usually get acknowledged. Someone put a conscious effort to land that plane, or to direct that movie, or maybe they feel embarrassed that they dropped that plate — clapping can give people social assurance and approval.”
When asked how that explanation applies to exam writing, Johnson said that it’s a form of self care.
“When writing an exam, we work hard. We wake up early to attend the class at 2pm, we read the readings and spend a lot of time studying to prepare to write this exam. I think that’s worth an applause! Sometimes you need a little bit of a self-congratulations to feel just a little more sure about yourself.” Johnson said, beginning to clap for himself. Golden Words promptly asked him to stop clapping.