My high school in the mid-70s had a diverse student body. It was majority white with significant numbers of Hispanic, African-American, Asian and Filipino students, plus a smaller number of Americans from other heritages.
The school had a lot of clubs to join, including the Black Student Union. I was one of the ignorant fools who wondered why there was no White Student Union. I look back on it now and understand.
The support and sense of belonging that club members enjoyed by being part of the Black Student Union was the same support and sense of belonging that I enjoyed just by being a student at that high school. Seen in that light, the whole school was a white student union as far as I was concerned. And where students of color needed to create clubs (like the BSU), I was automatically a member of a club ready made for people who look like me: the high school itself.
This isn’t to say my years in high school were a cake walk. My mom died a few months before my freshman year started. I got bullied and beaten up (always at the hands of white students). I spent three years watching others have a string of boyfriends or girlfriends, but it wasn’t until I was a senior that a girl at my high school said she’d consent to be my girlfriend. I also had some wonderful times in high school, almost all of which revolved around being in band and having friends among the band geeks.
Yet I never felt my skin color required I find a special place where I would be welcomed, where I would belong. Because I am white I belonged automatically at that school. My classmates who are people of color did not have that same privilege so they formed clubs like the Black Student Union.
I wish I’d understood that at the time.