“Do better.” These are the words Ms. Creagh repeated in an announcement at lunch recently, referring to the influx of racial slurs and prejudiced remarks that have been repeated by some students across campus in past weeks. Out of faculty members’ earshot, some students made intolerant and hateful comments, explicitly targeting other students on the basis of their race, ethnicity, or culture.
We, the Scroll editorial board, stand strongly behind Ms. Creagh’s assertion that there is no place for hatred, disrespect, or intentional insensitivity on this campus. It is worth noting that, as a newspaper, we hold the freedom of expression in the highest regard. We believe that the freedom of expression was conceived to give everyone a voice, and through candid and thoughtful discussion, to ensure that we bring the truth to light. However, to target others is to silence them, and to succumb to ignorant stereotypes is to impede thoughtful discussion. Thus, we see making hateful comments about members of our, or any, community as fundamental abuses of the freedom of expression and antithetical to its goals of equality and truth.
We recognize that sometimes, we may unknowingly say something offensive, and in those cases, we only need to politely educate or remind each other about what is offensive and what is not.
However, in cases where comments are made with clearly hateful intention, it is our responsibility to speak up. While letting one intolerant comment slip past may not seem like a big deal, by choosing not to act, we send the message that such comments are permissible in our community, and over time, they may even become normalized. By choosing not to act, we undermine the very foundations of our community. We, the student body, must hold each other accountable and act against hatred and intolerance whenever we see it.
There is good news, though: we who believe in compassion and community outnumber those who stand for hatred and division. And if we all work together to create an inclusive culture where hate is simply not tolerated, the freedom of expression will truly ring.