The issue of racism and freedom of speech has become more than prominent in today’s society particularly on college campuses. The consistent outcry and desperation for reforms on campus have become far too much. Our society has become too worried about someones halloween costume for example as opposed to what actually matters. Instead of worrying about what someones wearing or what some ignorant individual says about your particular race or religion, we should worry about the development and enhancement of the human being. In Lee Mcyintre’s article “Willful Ignorance on Campus” he describes a situation where students screamed and cried at Nicholas Christakis, the master of Sillican college at Yale, for his wife’s suggestion that people “look away” from a costume if it offends them. I couldn’t disagree more with the students because if they were to just look away and ignore the offensive costume then it wouldn’t bother them. By ignoring and not letting ignorant racism offend you is the only way it can stop. Racist individuals feed off the reaction of their targeted groups therefore if the reaction of the group is to ignore them and not be offended that is the way racism will stop. Do you think constant protest and demand for change is the means to ending racism on campuses nationwide? Would you agree these protests are a waste of time and leading to minimal change? Do you disagree with the master of Yale’s wife that looking away from offensive behavior is the best way to create change? How, if not by simply ignoring racist individuals, would you go about ending racism on your campus?
While I agree with Nicholas Christakis’s wife that simple ignorance of racist individuals is the best way to eliminate racism eventually I am not blind to the fact that sometimes ignoring racism isn’t enough. I believe that if you are not directly harmed or endangered by an racist individuals actions then they shouldn’t concern you, but in the case of Steven Salaita, the professor fired for simply being Israeli during wartime, there was total injustice presented. Salaita, who gave up a tenured job at the prestigious university Virgina Tech, was fired before he even had an opportunity to teach at Illinois University. This extreme flaw in American society was an incredible mistake we must learn to avoid in the future. Clearly Salaita was unrelated to the radical Israelis that bombed Gaza but was still fired for his ethnicity. I believe the firing of this man before he even had the opportunity to teach a class has more of a meaning than just racism. The board of education at Illinois did not just fire him because he was Israeli but because we live in a society filled with fear and mistaken assumptions. These assumptions are derived through the mass attention we place on ethnicity and protests of such minimal events. By moving past these small events and focusing on a society not based on ethnicity we can eventually unite as one. All the attention in the news and on the internet of racist individuals and groups only allows racism to continue. Only when we are able to forget about the background of our peers will our diverse nation be able to thrive to its fullest. Do you believe our society is too focused on ethnicity and individuals backgrounds? How as a nation do you think we can move past this? Do you think we lived in a society filled with fear caused by racist assumptions? What is the best way to move past these assumptions and live in a united nation?
fragility- easily broken, damaged, shattered
aggregate-formed by the conjunction or collection of particulars into a whole mass or sum; total; combined
angsty- a feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish.