Above and beyond ambivalence: Equating liberalism with apathy leaves too many in silence

Posted by Danny Pforte

Brian Connor, I understand your argument for the need to be apathetic. We live in an environment where the majority of students do not have an understanding of the world, of people who are discriminated against in our "liberal" and free country. Skidmore Unofficial makes it clear that some students are unafraid to go anonymous and state feelings of racism that are prevalent on campus. One student commented,

"I'm sick of these kind of attacks, if White people were doing this it would be all over the news. I love how the paper is at fault for publishing the race, which is relevant to the article because of the hate crime nature of this case. As if the behavior of the Blacks is excused because the paper published their race. How about Black people stop committing all the crime?"

Another student joked, "What do you call a black person in a three piece suit? The Defendant."

These comments are not reflective of a "liberal" environment that believes in seeking the truth before making judgments. Instead, they convey stereotypes and assumptions that we need to talk about to make this campus a more comfortable place for students of color.

So what about the vandalism of the "Food for Thought" posters? Did you attend the dialogue SGA sponsored to address campus climate? If you did, you would have heard the anguish and the struggle that students of color are experiencing due to the apathy, due to the lack of understanding and due to a conservative student body.

We also do not live and breathe multiculturalism, and, if we do, we must all have a great capacity for holding our breath. If you observed who participates in clubs and organizations under the OSDP (Office of Student Diversity Programs) umbrella, you would notice that the same students show up to sponsored events, participate in the clubs and promote the multiculturalism you seek. Where is the support from the rest of the student body? Our "liberal" environment is plagued by assumption, fear and discomfort around issues of race, class, sexuality, etc. that go unspoken about on campus. We cannot escape it and the "liberal" values that you speak of only work to avoid tackling these issues head on.

But you do make good points, such as the need to deconstruct Strock's hateful words. But I hope you understand that the media is powerful and it does bring out opinions that we would normally conceal. Skidmore Unofficial is a prime example, and I provide you and everyone who has not seen it with the link below. We must continue dialogue and search for this reality. Just like the larger society, our campus reflects issues of a declining nation drowning in inequality. It would serve well toward the notion of liberalism to address our discontents and set precedent for the change we need.

The link to Skidmore Unofficial: http://bit.ly/hxVCAp

Danny Pforte is a sophomore from Cambridge, Massachusetts who studies social work. He is inspired by Malcolm X, Jay-Z and Bernie Sanders.

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