Tolerance paradox still runs deep at Occidental

Comments (2)
  1. Nettie Stein-Miller says:

    I am honestly so sickened and offended by your anti-semitic comments in this article. To label this heinous act of drawing a swastika on a student’s whiteboard as anything BUT intolerant, you are preaching that it is somehow okay to persecute an individual for their religious beliefs or ethnic background. Hate crimes such as these (which by the way, completely violate the school’s code of conduct) should not be tolerated on any grounds. Moreover, if you had followed any of the news surrounding the swastika incident you would have been aware that this was not an isolated incident, and was actually a hate crime that occurred more than once. The Jewish community at Occidental has struggled to be heard on many occasions, and by writing this article and defending whoever drew the swastika in the first place, you yourself are contributing to the “intolerant” community that you speak out against. Would you defend someone writing a racial slur on another student’s whiteboard? How about causing bodily harm to them because of their beliefs? Not only are these both illegal, but anyone who “tolerates” these acts does not deserve to be a student at an accepting, diverse and intellectual community such as Oxy. Dean Avery speaks truthfully and correctly on the topic, “efforts to intimidate anyone on campus” should NEVER be tolerated. Because you clearly do not comprehend what it feels like to be personally victimized by a hate crime regarding your religion, ethnicity, skin color, etc., I suggest you stop voicing your opinion on the topic. It is you, voicing your anti-semitic and hateful opinion, that is “damaging” our “precious reputation.”

  2. OxyStudent says:

    There is something to be said for meeting people where they are, not chastising ignorance but rather promoting mutual understanding and ACCEPTANCE (NOT tolerance). I think many students are frustrated by the culture at Oxy of clinging to political correctness at the expense of bringing new voices into the conversation. If that is what this writer meant, I really wish she had said that and not a word more.

    Unfortunately this article is poorly written and poorly thought out. First I’d like to address the unsubstantiated observations throughout the piece about how Oxy students act and think.

    As to to Nettie’s point, she is right that hate crimes should never be tolerated. We do not need to tolerate them–if you want to chock that up to yet more intolerance, you are missing the point. Perhaps Nettie misses the point that the perpetrator was unaware of the significance of his/her act and an opportunity for meaningful education was missed. But, still, Dean Avery is not wrong to assert that “crimes of intolerance” are not to be tolerated. EVER. We must not allow acts like this–or any other injustices–to play out on our campus unaddressed. We can and must do a better job of talking to one another, listening to one another, and we must continue our proud tradition of agitation and protest to improve our community.

    We don’t need to make white males feel like their opinions are less valid, but we all need to self-evaluate our positions of privilege and open our minds to perspectives of others. To her credit, I think the writer hints at this idea, but fails miserably in its delivery, starting with her assumption that all Oxy students think they know what all other Oxy students are going to say based on certain characteristics. No one can argue that doesn’t happen some times, but to charge the whole community with that is unfounded and wrong. I think we deserve more credit.

    We might not at first be able to see and understand injustices that people in other positions cannot avoid seeing. The reality is white males are born into a privileged position where they don’t have to grapple with injustices that persons in other positions are forced to grapple with. This does not mean they are bad people, and it certainly does not render their opinions invalid. It is incumbent on white males, as it is incumbent on all of us, to hear others first so that we might understand the struggles of others. We can expect this of white males like we expect this everyone else. This might make us uncomfortable sometimes, but we need to step beyond our comfort zones to grow. We all have more to learn than we know, and think most of us are aware that we are currently, and will ever continue to be, learning from others.

    Finally, we should be grateful to students taking legal actions to address injustices having to do with sexual misconduct and we should be proud of students organizing marches to raise awareness about issues they are concerned about. These acts are done out of compassion and concern for our community and its future. They are not about silencing anyone, they are about bringing all voices into the conversation. You are mistaken in thinking that they are intended to in any way silence anyone.

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