Reader urges columnist, ‘U,’ to respect fellow


To the Daily:

After following the campaigns, reading about our justice system
(Supreme Court to decide on juvenile death penalty, 10/22/04), and
now Dan Adams’s column about Greeks (Thanks but no thanks,
10/25/04), I have come to the sad conclusion that nobody wants to
understand each other anymore, nobody’s listening. Words like
“liberal” and “conservative” and
“evil terrorist” and “frat boy” don’t
reflect listening and understanding. They arrogantly deny the
humanity of other people; they close eyes and ears, the opposite of
learning. Where in history did words like “brother” and
“sister” disappear to?

Many of us have recently tried to balance the roles of student
and citizen. Do I spend an hour at the phone bank or studying for
my midterm? Education seems to conflict with the rest of our lives.
Often we learn in order to live — “putting in your
time,” as I’ve heard so many business and law students
say. But why can’t we live in order to learn, as Henry David
Thoreau suggested and learn to live together?

What about the millions of incarcerated men and women
“putting in time” in this country, more than any other
nation in the world? What about the juveniles who cannot vote or
drink a beer, but can be executed? Does anyone really want to know
why hazing is so unacceptably rampant? I sure don’t have the
answers, but I’m ready to listen. Part of the problem is that
we’re hiding our moral responsibility behind words like
“evil-doer” and “frat boy.” This kind of
marginalization is contagious; it’s fatal. I would never want
to see my fraternity brothers abused or smudged from the human
roster any more than the victims at Abu Ghraib prison.

But I am not perfect, either. It takes time to listen and
understand, and even more to act. It’s easier to turn off my
will to learn like a switch after class, only worry about ethics in
philosophy discussion. But after taking Buzz Alexander’s
Prison and Art class and speaking with ex-prisoners, genuinely
positive people, I have been finding it harder to turn off that
switch. Maybe I’m done learning for the day, but when I go
hang out with friends, millions of our brothers and sisters are
still behind bars. Sisters and brothers are dying in Iraq. Children
are starving around the world. Human lives don’t turn on and
off with the flip of a switch — unless you’re a
juvenile in America

Adams sees a genuine problem, the degradation of pledges in some
Greek houses, and what does he do? He degrades the Greek community!
I challenge Adams as I’d challenge our presidential
candidates: Stop marginalizing human beings with your language.
It’s a slippery slope, and not only are you sliding, but
you’re pulling others with you.

Jeff Cravens

LSA junior

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