When it comes to campus discussion, particularly on topics such as racism and classism, the question always comes up, what is the most effective way to go about facilitating it? Issues such as these do exist (whether covertly or in your face) and it is important for the student body to not only talk about them but work actively to dismantle their presence here.
Unfortunately, I often think the actual issues are overshadowed by sensationalist tactics that can potentially stunt the conversation rather than expand it. I get why shock is often the mechanism of choice but I can’t say I don’t worry about its long-term effect. Shock at the audacity of what’s being written comes and goes not necessarily ensuring the initial conversations it created will continue to develop into viable solutions to the matters being addressed.That being said, I’ve always been one for discussion rather than debate, learning rather than arguing.
I am in no means declaring the use of sensationalist tactics as wrong, I just question if they effectively facilitate the dialogue they are intended to.
So you’re probably thinking, well then what should be done?
I’m always first to say I might not have the answer to the question but I’m pretty good at finding people who do. Along those lines, I think public forums are a great starting point to address concerns amongst the student body and faculty. Yes, the initial start will be slow, not many people may attend (Claiming Williams is a prime example) but if you have a dedicated group committed to working out the flaws in the system, I do think progress can be made (maybe I’m idealistic but that isn’t the worst flaw in my opinion!). That requires active listening, realistic (immediate) expectations, and being aware that what you initially thought may be wrong. I think we’re capable of doing this, after all people are pretty intelligent, in a variety of ways, on this campus. And I know people are passionate about issues that they feel a strong connection to. The goal is to make issues such as racism and classism issues that everyone feels affected by but not attacked for. Attacking makes people defensive and who wants to deal with angry people (as if the whacked out weather here wasn’t enough). We want people to work together for something better (check out that alliteration). Jokes aside, I believe in the students here to create lasting establishments that work towards creating a more inclusive, aware, and caring environment, because at the end of the day that’s what we all need.