Leave it or Fight: Bigotry in Today’s Society

By Ji Kim

Elm Staff Writer

If you’re like me, you read the Public Safety report in The Elm sometimes for some amusement at the latest public urination incident or as a lookout for places where you shouldn’t lock your bike. And, if you’re like me, you may have completely missed some things in the last issue’s report until someone pointed it out to you.

The Elm on Sept. 8, 2011 reads: “Bias-related comment written on a map in Chester in dry-erase marker.”

Belatedly, my head turns back to this small blurb.

From my experiences and knowledge, I’m more than happy to say that Washington College is honestly a safe place where it is not too dangerous to walk back to your dorm at two in the morning.  Sweet, quaint Chestertown is a far cry from a treacherous city with dark alleyways and dubious characters roaming about.  As a liberal arts school, WC is a community filled with quite open and friendly people; this is a place where you can almost always wave to someone you know as you walk to and from classes.

Yet, before I get carried away with all the aspects I adore about this college, let me emphasize that WC (and any community) is not an angelic place.  Hate crimes have occurred here.  Serious injustices, though less frequent, have also occurred.  They will continue occurring.

But at the end of the day, as a WC student, I can say that this school is one where I am comfortable.  At the end of the day, what matters is how people treat those occurrences.

Do you remember the blurb still?

Jerry Roderick, Director of Public Safety, helps shed a little more light on the matter, which is still under open investigation.  He states, “The incident actually occurred earlier that week and it was the R.A. on the floor who reported it.  A formal investigation took place and the incident was deemed a hate crime.  Essentially, what was implied was that a certain group of students on campus should live somewhere else.”

I am still hesitant about reporting on that last bit of information.  Naturally curious, I cannot help but wonder what the details are and what exactly happened behind it.  As a person who is active in E.R.O.S Alliance (Encouraging Respect of Sexuality) and human equality rights, my heavy bias and heart goes out towards raising awareness; sometimes, we forget how there are still ongoing struggles for civil rights, be it local or global.

At the same time, the pragmatic, matter-of-fact side of me is rolling her eyes and is simply scowling in annoyance over any kind of uproar.  Why draw unnecessary attention  to this?  Why not let this matter quietly pass so that people do not dwell on it?  Leave it.  Ignore it, and let it die.

Do you remember it still?

In the end, I will mention it.  Mention it calmly and recognize the event for what it may or may not be—especially since Director Roderick is encouraging anyone (anonymous or not) to step forward with information that can help the investigation.

Until there exists a day where the only people who care about bigotry are the same people who share it, I will mention it.


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