To the fascist, sexist bigot in the classroom

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 5:12pm

I spent time listening to you.

I heard you multiple times.

I joined Young Americans for Freedom as a freshman, and attended meetings despite the adverse effect it took on my mental health.

I even watched the 2016 presidential election with you, as you screamed insult after insult at the first woman to be a party’s presidential nominee.

However, I have since withdrawn myself from your sorry excuse for “discourse.”

Your hypothetical University environment saturated with conservative ideology elucidates that your issue does not lie in the “lack of an open and considerate dialogue.”

Your issue is that you feel alone.

Cloaked in alleged offensive statements from your classmates, it is clear your issue is that you want your arguments to go unchecked in the classroom, that you want to feel safe spewing your opinions, thoughts and ideas that contribute to the oppression of millions of people — the poor, powerless and those who do not have the skin color many claim is desirable to business interests.

You are fearful and scared of being the sole, the “only,” sycophant that believes in ideas that keep millions marginalized, poor and starving.

What a shame that you cannot walk into a classroom with a Canada Goose jacket on (which costs the equivalent of two months of my rent) and openly disregard the trials and tribulations of the poor and people of color in the classroom.

This is not the time, nor the place, for you to have a safe space where you feel comfortable with your biases. Maybe if we went back to examine the good ole’ days, we would find an environment that you find more hospitable.

You are “fearful” of expressing your views because you have been called racist. But I advocate for you to go ahead and say them. As a white woman, you do not get to decide what is and isn’t racist or offensive anyway, because you are not the target of such rhetoric. And luckily, unless you decide to have Black kids, your experiences being called a racist will be the closest you will ever get to actual racism.

I wonder: If you truly are invested in a thoughtful exchange, why do you spend so much time defending your actions instead of trying to understand how your actions, complicit or otherwise, perpetuate and uphold white supremacy?

What this sounds like, is that when you applied to the Ford School of Public Policy, you thought there would exist a safe haven for you and like-minded individuals to unearth and plant bigoted ideology, veiled by proclamation of “diversity of thought.”

But you were in for a nasty surprise.

I am glad that you do not feel comfortable in class spouting sexism, Islamophobia, bigotry or fascist opinions.

Open-mindedness and respect are critical to thoughtful and intellectually stimulating debate.

But contrary to popular belief, there is not a problem with free speech on this campus, or on any college campus. Free speech is alive and well. It is imperative to note that there are differences between a place and a platform to voice your thoughts.

You have a place to say your thoughts. You live in America. You are at a public university. That place is the classroom, the Diag or any other place you see fit in the University of Michigan here. You can say whatever you want at the Public Policy School. The issue of free speech is not, and never has been, a new debate. Very few (probably no one actually, because no one cares enough) will stop you from saying what you want.

Yet, you feel uncomfortable with the fact that there is not a platform or structured group in a classroom for you to feel comfortable enough to espouse your thoughts and feelings.

Have you ever thought that maybe you do not deserve a platform to articulate your thoughts because you perpetuate harmful stereotypes, actively work to maintain the status quo and keep millions disenfranchised? To give a platform or construct a faction within the Public Policy School would mean consolidating a group more dedicated to order and civility over giving voices to the marginalized and breaking the chains of the oppressed.

But the notion that anyone in the classroom should have to change the environment to endure your oppressive thoughts to foster a “thoughtful discussion” is categorically false.

As those who do not benefit from your white privilege, what choice do we have when your rhetoric actively endangers our livelihood?

We must say you are wrong, because you are.

You are wrong because you remain silent on acts of violence that kill people every day. You are wrong because your lines of reasoning are devoid of empathy for anyone who does not look like you.

I encourage you to join Young Republicans or Young Americans for Freedom. I think they meet on Wednesdays.