On recent protests and listening

By Jacob Flicker, an electrical engineering student

Yes, my fellow students, you are right! A building has never called anyone a racial slur. Congratulations! You’ve just brilliantly defeated these gosh-darned protesters. I can already hear you attempting to call out my logical fallacies while somehow managing to miss the point time and time again.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, my anger is not with the responses of conservatives to these protests. My anger largely lies with the people who are best described as “moderate democrats”. These are the people who think that changing the names of a few buildings on campus would be acceptable, but only if everyone obeys the rules while attempting to make these changes. 

When even a toe steps out of line they say: 

“I’m not racist, but…” 

“They’re not helping their cause by being disruptive!”

“Couldn’t they have chosen a different week? It’s midterms!” 

I am an ignorant white guy. I did not march with these protesters, and until a couple days ago, I was unaware that members of our community were upset by the names of several buildings here on campus. Instead of being as short-sighted and reactionary as a Neo-Nazi (“Fallacy! Fallacy!”), I have chosen to listen before I pass judgement.

 All the while you moderates rant about how you “would’ve been fine with it if they hadn’t broken the ‘Time, Manner, and Place Rules for Speech Activities’!” Apparently these protests are more of an inconvenience to you, than a sign that something is wrong.

I am writing this not because I think the protesters have done an inadequate job of explaining this. I am writing this because you moderates won’t listen to real dissent. You might, however, listen to a white guy’s letter to the editor. 

Change the names!

Who Thomas Hart Benton really was

By Angela Carlson, a senior instructor of music

Benton Hall was favored with a noisy walk-through demonstration against racism on Wednesday which left numerous small leaflets littering the halls.  I was very interested to read that Thomas Hart Benton gave a speech in Congress in 1984 even though he died in 1858.  

The writers of the leaflet might add to Mr. Benton’s sins the fact that he was expelled from law school for stealing money and later killed a man in a duel.  In his favor, the previously slave-owning Benton declared himself opposed to slavery in 1849. 

Oh, yes, we’ll have to change the name of Benton County.

We are larger than ourselves

By Marcus Trinidad, a junior in political science and economics

der and justice, it is far too easy to be complacent with the familiarity of order than to challenge ourselves to seek out a path of justice. No matter where we come from -- the urban cities, rural heartlands, the comforts of suburbia, or from different corners of the world -- all of our paths, the paths of the tens of thousands of students at OSU, has converged at this very crossroad.

The Solidarity March has disrupted our daily routine of study, party, sleep, and repeat. It shows that college is not another bubble where our experience is the only experience. The march may disrupt classes and exams and raise concerns of the constitutionality of the protest (See Supreme Court Case Tinker v Des Moines), but legality does not necessarily equal morality.

The chanting and the marching is the voice and soul of those pushed to the margins asking to be let into a community that they thought would be their home. It’s chilling how willing and able we are to defend rhetoric and hate speech with a “free speech wall” than defend the lives and dignity of the most vulnerable among us. 

When people air their grievances and offer their hearts, anything short of listening and an open heart is a form of complacency to oppression, violence, and order instead of justice, healing, and acceptance.

Our time together at OSU is short as we keep our sights aimed towards our own personal aspirations hoping to graduate on time. Yet what we do and don’t do, what we value and don’t value, impacts those around us whether we like it or not.

Please note that the opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of The Baro Staff, Orange Media Network, or Oregon State University.

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