To the Editor:
There are three interesting and largely unaddressed points regarding racism on Yale’s campus. I hope each of these points are discussed in the coming days, if there is time between the flashy “rallies” and empty “protests.”
First, if racism exists at Yale, then it exists clandestinely, because the Yale community has no tolerance for bigotry. Such a situation cannot be rectified by preaching to the choir — if someone is racist, their hearts will be changed by long-term exposure to tolerance, not rallies and endless “discussions.”
The second point is an observation that recent acts of vandalism and “pranks” are meant to shock more than they are meant to convey any message of bigotry. On a campus such as Yale’s, intolerance may be the only avenue left for attention-seeking vandals. Indeed, even the Rumpus, a publication that routinely seeks to offend, treads carefully around accusations of racism. Bigotry grabs headlines. Vandals want to grab headlines. The logic is clear.
Third, the possibility exists that too many Yalies have been afflicted by liberal guilt. I say “liberal” guilt intentionally, because while discussions involving hate on campus have oft made mention of the NOGAYS e-mail, the defacing of an LGBTQ flag or recent graffitied slurs, I haven’t heard much about the burning of the American flag last year by three Yale students (two of whom were international students). I also haven’t heard much about the decision to bring Ludacris (who drops the words “nigger,” “faggot,” “bitch” and “ho” in his most well-known song) to campus. Or, perhaps, of the decision to allow the spokesman for the Taliban to study at Yale.
I think it is this third point which is the most important. If Yale values tolerance, then it must target all forms of hatred, not simply the types typically associated with political reactionaries. Too often, those seeking to be tolerant simply embrace hatred beneath the guise of cultural diversity.
Rajeshwar is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.