To the Editor:
I write in response to Peter Johnston’s letter to the editor, “Response to snow-made swastikas should have ended at clearing of defamed trees” (2/27), which argued that administrators should not have publicized the swastikas that appeared on Old Campus during Friday’s snowstorm – and, rather, should have “just rub[bed] the snow off the trees.”
For Johnston to claim that the campuswide reports on the swastikas have resulted in nothing more than “anxiety” is itself a prejudiced, selfish and truly reprehensible statement. The swastika carries with it incontrovertible connotations of hatred and prejudice to an extent that few other acts of hate speech can claim. The swastikas may have been created in poor judgment, certainly, but taken with other recent incidents of hate speech towards women and African-Americans on campus, there are few beside Johnston who would be so contrarian as to argue that this campus would be better off turning a blind eye.
Rubbing the snow off the trees would not have “frustrate[d] the designs of would-be saboteurs” (disregard momentarily that Johnston is capable of referring to such bigots as mere “saboteurs”). Instead, public investigation — if not public humiliation — is the means of bringing this string of events, however infantile and however hyped, to an end.
I am aware that Johnston often positions himself as a misunderstood moral example on campus. I could also understand this letter if Johnston had put forth an alternative approach to dealing with the hate speech. But such an ignorant perspective instead reflects nothing more than his own self-importance in finding some News coverage and an e-mail from Dean Salovey to be so … bothersome.
The writer is a junior in Calhoun College.