My university has a school newspaper called The Hawk. I am not a fan of The Hawk because they have a habit of printing information that is wrong, misleading, and can’t seem to tell the difference between an opinion and a misunderstanding of solid facts.
Today I open up the newspaper to see an article called “Say What You Mean” with a subtitle of “Is the culture of political correctness on college campuses going too far?”
Already a red flag… Oh and the article is written by a white male. That’s totally fine. But this is where the concept of privilege comes in, and not being able to understand things that are offensive to people that don’t look like you. *Yes I understand and am fully aware of the fact that this is person does not represent all white men, but privilege has a lot to do with the content of the article*
So he starts by saying that he should watch what he says because of what happened to Yale University faculty member, Erika Christakis. If you are unfamiliar with her story, she sent an email to her students basically saying that it was okay for them to dress offensively on Halloween:
“I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious,” she wrote, “a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?”
To make matters worse, she sent the email only after the Intercultural Affairs Committee advised students to be mindful of their costumes and try to avoid culture appropriation, misrepresentation, stereotypes and so on.
This situation has nothing to do with being politically incorrect. It’s about the fact that she is supposed to be an educator, a mentor, and a resource to her students. If I were one of her students and she publicly proclaimed that she didn’t give a damn about me being offended and that she encourages it, well then I would want her to resign too.
The kid who wrote the article goes on to say, “How can we claim to be a nation that supports free speech?” and “our first amendment rights are dying.” Really? Because it seems that you only want to be able to say offensive shit whenever you want, but don’t want the ones that you offend to be able to defend themselves.
Then he continues with “It seems that negative free expression is only protected when it targets non-minority groups…Nobody gets outraged when a black person mocks a white person” Now explain to me how often you see minorities mocking white people. Perhaps there are examples that I am unaware of but in my personal experience (aside from the movie White Chicks” my answer is never. And you cannot tell me that if I decided to “be a white girl” for Halloween and wore a blonde wig and put baby powder on my face that it would be accepted. It shouldn’t be accepted because it’s wrong! There’s no other way around it. Wrong is wrong.
Next he says something about “fair and equal.”
You want to talk about fair and equal? Let’s talk about…. Slavery. Genocide. The pay difference between men and women. The number of people within the LGBTQIA community that have committed suicide or that been murdered just for being themselves. The fact that a presidential candidate is basically wants to create another Holocaust. The fact that we are still screaming #BlackLivesMatter at the top of our lungs and still no one is listening. This list could go on forever, so if you want to talk about fair and equal you might want to think about what that actually means. None of these things are equal or fair but you probably wouldn’t be willing to talk about those right?
Going back to the situation at Yale, the next paragraph reads, “It is ridiculous that Yale students protested against Erika Christakis because they didn’t like her opinion, simply because it differed from theirs.” This literally made me laugh out loud. You can’t say that people should be able to express their opinions when your entire article contradicts that. The students of Yale expressed their opinions too but you’re not defending them.
Lastly, the article ends with, “The goal of college is to expand minds, not limit them. Students must be able to hear ideas that they don’t agree with or particularly like. If someone isn’t mature enough to handle that, then perhaps they shouldn’t be in college to begin with.” Well then I don’t think you’re in the right place sir. You’re at a Jesuit university that has a large GSA and hundreds of allies. They are building the Office of Inclusion and Diversity to educate the people who don’t understand why blackface isn’t okay, why you shouldn’t believe in stereotypes, and why inclusion is not only important on campus but in the real world.
At the end of the day, The Hawk needs to hire a new editor because the fact that this even made it to print is beyond me. Then again I guess it really does give an accurate representation of the inequality on campus and throughout society. For anyone who thinks that this article is okay and that speaking up for yourself, defending yourself, and fighting for what you believe in is wrong…too bad because this fight isn’t over.
Earlier today I tweeted “When the school newspaper (notorious for posting wrong/misleading information) prints an “opinion” article that has an undertone of racism” and now I just got a response that says “Letters to the editor can be submitted if you care to explain!”
How about… I shouldn’t have to explain or write a letter to the editor. The damn article should not have been printed. Someone behind the scenes should have been able to say this isn’t right. I should not have to explain over and over again why things like this are not okay
Moral of the story: If you can’t see why something is offensive to a minority group, then you are a part of the problem.